There are several different types of learning styles that may appear in any given classroom, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to studying. Visual learners absorb information better when it’s presented in a way that they can mentally “photograph.” There are several ways to harness the unique approach to education used by visual learners.
Flash cards are a classic study staple for good reason. Visual learners create associations between concepts represented by pictures and printed words. While there are general use flash cards available for just about any subject, blank flash cards are a great way to customize a study session. To take it one step further, multi-colored cards allow you to sort topics by color and enhance the visual value.
Highlighting key passages of texts can be particularly helpful to visual learners. If you own the textbook, mark away; erasable highlighters work great for this purpose. However, if the book or study material doesn’t belong to you, you’ll have to get a little more creative. You can photocopy relevant chapters, leaving you free to highlight to your heart’s content. Or, to save time and paper, use removable highlighter tape. It comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to color-code the lesson and easily spot important pages – and you can even write on it!
Make Charts and Graphs
The rise of the infographic has been a boon to visual learners, allowing them to quickly spot patterns and trends among a large quantity of information. Sorting information into an at-a-glance format like a Venn diagram, bar graph, or pie chart makes it easier to absorb and recall. Whether you use cutting-edge software or “old school” graph paper, these time-tested tricks are a great way to streamline data.
Illustrate Your Notes
Anyone who ever got in trouble for “doodling” in class can now feel vindicated. Turns out, illustrating your notes during a lecture or lesson can be an effective way to retain information. A study published in TIME magazine in 2009 found that people who doodled while listening to an information dump recalled more details than those who didn’t. The prevailing theory is that doodling prevents your mind from wandering.
Use a Practice Quiz
A dry run with a practice quiz not only helps with absorbing and retaining material, it also soothes nervous test-takers by giving them a sense of confidence. Think of it as dress rehearsal. Use curriculum-ready practice guides, like these by Shell Education, or create your own. Write up a mock test or download a printable, then put it in a clear plastic sleeve. Use dry erase markers so you can use the same sheet more than once.