Discover Your Best Learning Style & Ace Your Finals!

Finals. You’ve heard about them, perhaps you’ve experienced them, but how many times have you really felt prepared for them? Not to mention how many times everything else in the world seems more fun and important than studying for a test or writing a ten page paper.

But you have to do it. It’s part of college. The first step to really succeeding during final exams is to accept that this is something you have to do and once it’s done you are done with the class. If you spend too much time complaining and agonizing you won’t have enough time to do the actual work.

The second step is to know how to study.

It always helps if you’ve participated, done the homework, listened to the professor, and taken detailed notes, but if not you can try and recover through your own study styles. Do you know how you learn best? About.com has an interesting article about study styles that might help you pinpoint your own. It lists the styles as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. You’ve probably discussed this at some point in your academic history, especially if you’ve taken a psychology class, but have you thought about what works for you? If you can’t answer right away, maybe take a learning style quiz to get better acquainted with how you learn.

My Experience

I learned early on that I like to write and I like to see things visually. This is why I always take extensive notes in class. Writing things down helps me remember them and then I can take those notes to make study sheets for myself. These study sheets are always helpful. I create sections focused on certain aspects of a subject or topic and then list the important points. I can read these later or use them to quiz myself. If I need to memorize a lot of material I like to fold the sheet hotdog style, down the middle, and write the one part on one side and the answer on the other. This way I can keep it folded to practice and see the answer on the back. If you do this, remember to mark the ones you’ve got wrong. I star mine and then go back and write them out around ten times to make sure it sticks in my head.

Visual Learners

Visual people will want to take a lot of the study tips from my experience, since I tend to be visual in my study tactics. Outlines and drawings will really help you see what you need to know. Working on writing these things out by hand will help it stick in your memory, so you can recall the image you worked on when the test comes. Writing essays will be easier if you do an outline before hand. Also feel free to highlight, use sticky notes, and mark up your notes or books. You’ll remember those pages more and it’ll be easier to go back to it.

Auditory Learners

If you’re an auditory learner you should definitely attend all your classes. Even more, you can record the lectures to listen to them later when you’re studying. Teaching or explaining subjects to other people can help you understand it better yourself. Find other classmates who want to study and take turns talking over a subject to make sure you have all the aspects fleshed out through conversation.

Kinesthetic Learners

If you’re a kinesthetic learner you should definitely try and work in groups or try flash cards. Also, don’t feel bad if you take a break. Give yourself enough time to study so you can take little breaks for Facebook, chatting, texting, and eating. It’s a reward for hard work, but only give it to yourself if you do the work. If you spend more time on Facebook than you should, don’t give yourself another Facebook break. Limit the breaks to certain time periods as well so you don’t end up in a time suck.

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Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich is a senior creative writing major at DePaul University. She is minoring in journalism and aspires to be the next big food writer. Her love of writing propels all she does from her food blog to online magazine articles. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably baking. She has a ferocious sweet tooth and adores cupcakes of all shapes and sizes.