Are you learning the right way?
Have you ever noticed in class, there seems to always be someone writing notes throughout the class and there’s someone who’s listening closely to the teacher instead? Who do you think is learning the right way? Turns out, it’s not that simple.
No two people are exactly the same. We all like different foods, different films, and different places. It’s what makes the world such a fun and interesting place! This applies to learning too, as everybody has their own learning style. This is one of the biggest challenges schools must face, as teachers cannot fit their lessons around all the students in their classes. That's why private tuition has become more and more important to succeed in your studies.
Understanding your own learning style is important to helping you best prepare and organise your studies, so that you can get the best grades. There are four widely recognised categories of learning styles represented in the acronym VARK - visual, auditory read/write and kinesthetic. Below are 10 questions that are designed to help find out which study technique works for you!
1. What do you find most difficult about learning online?
a) Sometimes it's harder to hear and understand exactly what people are saying, bad internet and audio quality is the worst!
b) The worst thing is when nobody turns their camera on online, it’s much harder to communicate and learn when looking at a blank screen.
c) You miss physically being in a classroom. You find it harder to motivate myself when you are just at home.
d) Studying online is better! It gives you time to study and read your work carefully and there are many resources on the internet that you can read which explain what you are trying to learn.
2) What kind of assessment best suits you?
a) The best would be to analyse a piece of media, perhaps a movie or a song. You think you’re very good at taking in information and thinking about it in your head.
b) You love multiple choice questions, especially ones where you have to analyse a diagram or a graph, you can understand the information much better this way than in a written question.
c) Something practical please! Perhaps your own art and design project or maybe a chemistry experiment in the lab.
d) Written exams are your strength; you can analyse any text and write great essays under pressure.
3) Which activity helps you relax the most?
a) You normally give your best friend a call and you can talk on the phone for hours.
b) Catching up on your favourite TV show
c) Cooking dinner, you love experimenting in the kitchen!
d) Curling up on the sofa to a good book
4) When you need directions, do you prefer to?
a) Ask someone for help
b) Follow a map
c) Trust your own instinct
d) Look up a written guide on where to go
5) What is most distracting to you when trying to concentrate?
a) People having a loud conversation nearby, it's impossible to focus on what you're doing at the time.
b) Sitting by a window with a view onto a busy street.
c) There is nothing worse than working on an uncomfortable chair with little legroom!
d) Being in a room and finding lots of different posters on the wall to read.
6) How do you take notes in class?
a) You don’t like taking notes, it distracts you from concentrating on the lesson.
b) Using highlighters to colour coordinate helps you keep your work organised.
c) Note taking is your weakness. You try to take them, but they are not very organised.
d) You love taking notes, reading them back helps you to stay focused and memorise the information.
7) What do you prefer to read?
a) Listening to podcasts or audiobooks is better.
b) You love a good coffee table book with travel and art inspirations.
c) You’re not a big fan of reading, but you love puzzle books, your favourite is sudoku.
d) People think you’re a bit of a bookworm, you’re always reading about pretty much everything.
8) What are your first steps when trying to learn something new?
a) Ask someone who might know about it, such as a friend or a tutor.
b) Look up some video tutorials online.
c) Try out a taster class.
d) Research it on the internet or in a library.
9) What kind of teacher is your favourite?
a) One who is incredibly friendly. They love to tell you about their life and experiences, encouraging the students to do the same.
b) Your favourite teachers use the internet really well. They sometimes find fun and interesting videos for us to watch, this really makes the lesson interesting.
c) You like teachers who are creative, they are always thinking of interesting projects and different kinds of lessons. Things are always new and never boring.
d) You love organised teachers, they always bring extra worksheets and resources which you can read and use when working in class, it really is the best way to make sure you really understand the material.
10) Which of these careers seems the most appealing to you?
a) You want to be a judge; you will listen to the arguments presented to me and make a fair judgement.
b) You’re going to be an architect. You find buildings and design interesting and would love to see your ideas come to life!
c) You will help people in a practical way as a surgeon in a hospital.
d) You have always wanted to be a journalist. You enjoy reading the news and would love to write your own exciting stories in the future.
You are an auditory learner
You find it easier to understand spoken instructions and information. You don’t take as many notes but you really understand exactly what the teacher is saying, this really helps in class discussions and debates. Some of the best ways for you to learn involve podcasts and songs, and remember that you can always record your lessons and listen back to them later. If you have to learn from a book or block of text, you should try to read it aloud to your tutor.
You are a visual learner
You best understand information when it is represented visually in front of you. This might be in the form of a diagram, a graph or even through video. Being a visual learner means that you benefit from being organised, using flashcards and colour coding your notes can enable you to thoroughly learn material. When you are trying to revise you might also find it helpful to draw your own diagrams and mind maps to better visualise the topic you are studying!
You are a kinesthetic learner
As a kinesthetic learner you prefer a more hands on approach to learning. Actually doing what you are learning about really helps you understand the lesson and remember it later on. Your favourite parts of school are lab work in science, or acting in English - anything that is a little more different and creative. You should take short frequent breaks when studying, and not remain on the same topic for too long. On the other hand you are great at doing multiple things at once, you can try to mix studying with exercise or another activity!
You are a Read/Write Learner
You learn through reading and writing in a more traditional way, using books, newspapers and the internet to find and analyse information. This method is often preferred in an academic setting, so you often do well under exam pressure, and are well suited to essay writing. When studying you will find it useful to rewrite and reread any notes you have taken, it's the best way for you to memorise information for your exams.
You got a mixture,
You are a multimodal learner
Being good at learning in multiple different ways is a great asset to have. There will be situations where you want to be hands on, and others where you are comfortable just sitting back and listening. If you don’t have a particularly dominant style, you may take a bit longer to learn information, but tend to have a deeper understanding of it once you do.
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