Reading and Studying Help
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.
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 appendix.
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.
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.
Make an Outline
After collecting all the materials you need to review or prepare for the test, the first step for studying any subject is to reduce a large body of information into smaller, more manageable units. One approach to studying this way is to make an outline of text information, handout material, and class notes.
The important information in print material is often surrounded by lots of extra words and ideas. If you can highlight just the important information, or at least the information you need to know for your test, you can help yourself narrow your focus so that you can study more effectively. There are several ways to make an outline of print material. They include annotating, outlining, and mapping. The point of all three of these strategies is that they allow you to pull out just the important information that you need to prepare for the test.
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