Have you ever stared at your notes for hours the night before an exam, only to feel frustrated as you didn’t process any of the information? This can leave you feeling hopeless because it’s not that you don’t study; instead, your studying isn’t paying off.
Although it may feel like it, you are not alone in questioning why your study methods don’t seem to work. This is a problem that we frequently hear at Gradehacker. The students we assist don’t have difficulties determining what to study but instead in how to study.
Are you in a similar position? It might just be because you aren’t studying according to your learning style! There are three main learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile.
Do you understand a topic better when your professor uses presentations or draws diagrams than by merely talking? Is it easier for you to find your way around town with a map rather than by verbal directions? If you answered yes, you are probably a visual learner or someone who learns best through sight.
In this article, we will be listing the best ways to study as a visual learner, so that you can finally say goodbye to your days of ineffective studying!
Best Ways to Study for a Visual Learner:
You shouldn’t take your study environment for granted, as it is just as important as the study methods you use!
As a visual learner, you will study best in a quiet environment. Your strength lies in understanding visual information, so any noise will distract your focus.
Find a quiet spot in your house, or if there aren’t any, head to your local library!
Keep in mind that although studying with friends might sound more fun, it will not be an ideal study environment for your learning type.
As a visual learner, your brain remembers visual aspects, such as color, really well! This is why you shouldn’t forget about your colored highlighters when studying.
A scientific study with Alzheimer patients found that color cues are great for memory. These patients remembered images in color easier than black and white images.
Take advantage of this in your notes by assigning a color to different categories present in your notes!
You might be asking yourself, what does this look like? Well, let’s say you have a history exam on the causes of the Great Depression. You can highlight the social causes in blue, economic causes in green and political causes in yellow.
By doing so, you will be able to identify these different categories visually. You can also include a key that lists out what each color represents.
Color coding will cause you to associate information with a color, which means you will be more likely to remember it on the test!
Concept maps are a great way to visualize the connections present in your exam topic.
A concept map begins with writing down our central topic and then drawing lines that attach subtopics to our central topic. These subtopics will also have topics that branch out from them.
Say, for example, you were making a concept map, and the central topic was ‘the universe.’ The universe is made up of planets and galaxies, so these could be topics that branch out from our main one. Then, within the subtopic planets, we could branch out further and include different planets’ names.
Being able to see the connections present in your study topic will allow you to remember them for the test.
To test your knowledge, try making a concept map without checking your notes! After you are done, you can compare the concept map you made to your notes. Those connections that you did not include are what you will need to study further.
Study any visuals that are available for the topic of your exam. The visual may be a graph or a diagram. Either way, it will be beneficial as you have an excellent visual memory.
Check your textbooks, handouts, or your professor’s presentations for visuals. If there aren’t many visuals, or they are not that helpful, turn to Google and find some yourself!
Studying visual information will be a lot easier for you to understand. Suppose you have an exam on the cardiovascular system. In that case, your brain will be more likely to remember the parts that compose it by studying a graphic rather than by reading a list.
Include Visuals in Your Notes
Make sure that your notes aren’t just a block of text! Use visuals to accompany the information; this will be helpful for your memory.
Well, what if you can’t find helpful visuals in your textbook? Don’t let this stop you from including visuals in your notes; draw your own ones!
You don’t have to show off your artistic skills. A simplified drawing is enough!
Search for visuals on google and draw them in your notes, or simply drag the image onto your notes if you take notes on your computer.
This will make your studying more successful as your brain will remember the visuals included and the information that accompanied it.
Watch Videos and Read Books
What should you do if you’re finding your textbook hard to understand? Don’t give up because the resource given to you isn’t helpful; find additional resources!
You can try searching for books on your exam topic using google books. You can also go to youtube and find videos on the topic. Reading and watching videos are both visual study methods, so you won’t struggle in processing the information.
Go the extra mile and find additional study resources! It will make a massive difference in the quality of your studying.
As a visual learner, flashcards will become your best friend when studying! This is because they involve visual information in a condensed form.
You can make your own flashcards with paper, or you can even make them online using Quizlet. Don’t forget to include images and color so that they are visually stimulating.
This is an excellent study method to use after reading through all your notes, as it offers a quick review of all the information.
Rewrite Your Notes
Don’t just read through your notes. Try rewriting them once or even up to three times on a separate paper!
The act of repeatedly writing down and seeing the same information will make the information easier to remember on your exam day.
Practice Describing Visuals
After studying visuals for your exam, it is essential to practice describing them and explaining the information they present.
It won’t be useful to study visuals if you don’t practice explaining the information they present. Because then, the image you studied might pop into your head during the exam, but it won’t help you since you won’t be able to elaborate on it.
Write Down a Study Schedule
Planning out how and when you will study beforehand is crucial!
Make a study schedule where you list out: what subjects you will study, on which days, and how much time you will spend studying.
When you can visually see your study plan, you will be more aware of how you need to study, and your studying will become more effective. By doing so, you will follow a good study pace and avoid dedicating too much or too little time to one area.
You can also use note pads or to-do lists as daily reminders of what you have to study and when.
How Do I Study Better as a Visual Learner?
The most important takeaway is that you shouldn’t study randomly. You should plan out your studying schedule and study according to your learning type. Make use of your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses!
Don’t waste your limited study time by ignoring visual study methods. Implement visually stimulating methods, as this will make a huge difference in the quality of your studying.
It is easy to feel defeated when you fail your exams all because of unsuccessful studying. We understand your frustrations and would be happy to assist you with your upcoming exam to finally get that A you dream of!