Updated on August 8th, 2022
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 but that your studying isn’t paying off.
Here at Gradehacker, we help college students with assignments, essays, and exams. From our years of experience assisting students, a problem we frequently hear from our clients is that they don’t have difficulties determining what to study but instead 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 visual presentations or draws diagrams than by them simply 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 student or someone who learns best through sight.
In this article, we’ll list the best ways to study as a visual learner, so you can finally incorporate study habits that fit into your visual learning style.
Best Ways to Study for a Visual Learner:
Table of Contents
1) Find a Quiet Environment to Study in
You shouldn’t take your study environment for granted, as it is just as important as your study methods!
If you want a visual learning environment, you need to find a quiet spot. Your strength lies in understanding visual information so that 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 or other college students might sound more fun, it will not be an ideal study environment for your learning preferences.
2) Color Code Your Notes
As a visual learner, your brain remembers visual images, such as colors. This is why you shouldn’t forget about your colored highlighters when studying.
A scientific study with Alzheimer’s 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 visual technique 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 can visually identify these different categories. 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!
3) Use Concept Maps to Study Connections
Concept maps are a great way to visualize the connections present in your exam topic.
A concept map begins with writing down the 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 create a mental picture and remember them for the test.
To test your own 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.
4) Study Visuals
Study any visuals that are available for the topic of your exam. The visual material can 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, 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.
5) 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 learning experience more successful as your brain will remember the visuals included and the information that accompanied it.
6) Watch Videos and Read Books
What should you do if you come up with a difficult concept or find 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 techniques, 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.
7) Use Flashcards to Review Information
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 create 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.
If you want to learn more study tips to create better flashcards, check out our blog and see how you can make a difference!
8) 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 study habit of repeatedly writing down and seeing the same information will make the information easier to remember on your exam day.
9) Practice Describing Visuals
After studying visuals for your exam, it is essential to practice describing them and explaining the information they present.
Studying visuals won’t be useful 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.
10) 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 will you study?
- Which days can you do it?
- How much time will you spend studying?
When you can see your study plan, you will be more aware of how you need to study, and your study technique 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 what type of learner you are. Make use of your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses!
Don’t waste your limited time studying by ignoring visual study methods. Implement visually stimulating methods, as this will make a huge difference in the quality of your studying.
We understand your frustration when you fail an exam all because of unsuccessful studying and not due to laziness. We hope these tips will improve your learning experience as a visual learner and that you will finally be able to retain information efficiently for your exam!
If you want to see what other types of learners you can be or what other study tips you can start implementing, check out our related articles: