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Note Taking Skills: Writing Skills Success Study Guide

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

A practice exercise for this concept can be found at Note Taking Skills: Writing Skills Success Practice Exercise.

How successful you are at studying has less to do with how much time you put into it than with how you do it. That's because some ways of studying are much more effective than others, and some environments are much more conducive to studying than others. Another reason is that not everyone retains information in the same way. Discover how to adapt your studying strategies to the ways you learn best. You will probably pick up some new techniques for studying, and will also gain insight on how to prepare for standardized tests.

Learning Styles

Think for a minute about what you know about how you learn. For example, if you need directions to a new restaurant, would you

  • ask to see a map showing how to get there.
  • ask someone to tell you how to get there.
  • copy someone's written directions.

Most people learn in a variety of ways: seeing, touching, hearing, and experiencing the world around them. Many people find, however, that they are more likely to absorb information better from one learning source than from others. The source that works best for you is called your dominant learning method.

There are three basic learning methods: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (also known as tactile).

  • Visual learners understand and retain information best when they can see the map, the picture, the text, the word, or the math example.
  • Auditory learners learn best when they can hear the directions, the poem, the math theorem, or the spelling of a word.
  • Kinesthetic learners need to do—they must write the directions, draw the diagram, or copy down the phone number.

Visual Learners

If you are a visual learner, you learn best by seeing. Pay special attention to illustrations and graphic material when you study. If you color code your notes with colorful inks or highlighters, you may find that you absorb information better. Visual learners can learn to map or diagram information later in this study guide.

Auditory Learners

If you are an auditory learner, you learn best by listening. Read material aloud to yourself, or talk about what you are learning with a study partner or a study group. Hearing the information will help you to remember it. Some people like to tape-record notes and play them back on the tape player. If you commute to work or school by car or listen to a personal tape player, you can gain extra preparation time by playing the notes to yourself on tape.

Kinesthetic Learners

If you are a kinesthetic learner, you learn best by doing. Interact a lot with your print material by underlining and making margin notes in your textbooks and handouts. Rewrite your notes onto index cards. Recopying material helps you remember it.

How to Study Most Effectively

If studying efficiently is second nature to you, you're very lucky. Most people have to work at it. Try some of these helpful study methods to make studying easier and more effective for you.

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