With the end of the semester heading our way, we thought it would be a good time to post about ways you can learn how you learn best so you can finish the end of the year strong. Take a look below to see how your current CAS Peer Advisors learned how they learn best.
Figuring out a studying strategy is
always the hardest part about finals/midterms for me. Once I figure it
out, I find it easy to follow the plan and relearn all the material from
Depending on the classes, I allocate
my times differently. If I was not very good at keeping up with readings,
I focus most of my time in skimming through the readings and taking notes.
If the professor did not focus much on readings, I rewrite my notes and
make study cards (I find that writing things down is what makes them stick
in my mind). Then, if it is a math/exercise-y kind of class, I redo as
many problems as I can.
Aside from this plan, I also make study
groups. I find it helpful to review the material with others, ask them
things I am confused about, and explain things to others who might need
help. This combination helps me realize how prepared I actually am and
relax a bit.
Also, remember to take breaks, sleep,
exercise, and drink water.
Learning styles are a really interesting part of college. I study how people learn and the best practice for teaching,
but talking about how students prefer to learn is a different
perspective on the content. I know that I am an auditory learner. I enjoy
being given directions and listening to how people explain something to
understand how to do it. It has been really important for me to attend
class in college. I also know that interactive notes (or writing notes)
helps me solidify the information after I hear it. I have found that
powerpoint presentations with lists of words are not the most helpful. In
those situations where professors give information directly off slides, I
find that it is helpful for me to take notes on what they say.
Some of this intormation is redundant from the slides, but I can also
keep track in my notes where the class was going-- I can hear the parts
of the class as I review while looking at the slides and talking through
I think its also really helpful to teach other peeple this
information. If I don't think I am proficent in a certain aspect, I will
ask someone else (even if it's my mom!) if I can explain something, just
to make sure that I have a strong handle on the subject. If I need
someone else to explain it differently, Kahn academy (a website) has tons
of subject areas and lessons that are so helpful. Check it out! http://www.khanacademy.org/
The common phrase, “one size fits all” does not apply to how people learn. In actuality, every
individual has their own learning style that makes learning easier. For some, they are able to
quickly identify what learning style works for them, while others struggle with figuring out
what learning style is the best fit. Let’s just say, I was one of the many that had a difficult time identifying what learning style was best for me.
At first, I thought I was one who could listen to everything and remember it. After taking a few exams and quizzes, I soon realized that that learning style was not for me. Then, I thought I was one who liked to learn in groups so I would form study groups in which my peers and I would discuss assignments and class material. I then realized that talking about or teaching others class material didn’t help me learn better either. While I was studying by myself for an exam one day, it finally hit me: I realized that I learned best when material was either drawn out for me or put into words. That explained why I had a combination of lecture notes and pictures spread out on my desk while studying. I also realized that I learned and worked best alone with no distractions. Having said all that, I believe the best approach to figuring out your own learning style, is to try different things out and see which learning style is the most effective for you!
Learning how you learn was in some ways one of my biggest challenges throughout my college career. For me, it wasn't something I had figured out by the time I had gotten to college and also varied depending on the type of class and course material. At the beginning of each semester I often felt like I had to re-learn how to learn essentially and personalize my style for each new course I took.
Overall, I am definitely a visual learner. I learn well from visuals like pictures, models, and tables versus hearing a lecture or even reading a powerpoint (which many people think is visual learning but really sometimes isn't!) I always felt like by the end of the semester and at the time the last test came around, I had finally figured out a good study habit to do well in the class - too little too late eh? But it was actually helpful to learn what didn't work well for me too. It's never black and white and I find myself taking aspects of various learning styles to succeed in college. Talking out your notes, whether to someone else or even just to yourself, is a great way to know if you have a good handle on the information the same way that doing practice problems in a math course tests your knowledge of those skills. My biggest advice is to have patience and not be overwhelmed by the trial and error process that is a very common aspect of one's college career. Have fun with it as much as possible!