Learning styles and revision techniques.

Exam season is now over for me but for many people it’s only just starting so I thought I’d write a little on learning styles and exam revision techniques. I personally think its really interesting to read into different learning styles and over the years I have been able to perfect my revision technique to something that I’m happy with and works for me. I must say, I owe all credit to my A level sociology teacher who worked so hard with all of us to find revision techniques that worked for us.

There are three main types of learning styles, visual, auditory and kinesthetic. You will, maybe without knowing it, fit into one type of learning style better and it is this approach that you should centre your revision around.

  1. Visual learners- visual learners are either visual-linguistic or visual-spatial. Visual-linguistic learners learn through written language and seeing words on a page, usually through reading or writing out sets of notes. Visual-spatial learners usually have difficulty with block text but learn better from charts, graphs and pictures, easily visualising new places and people.
  2. Auditory learners- auditory learners learn better through talking things out loud (even if just to themselves), and asking questions.
  3. Kinesthetic learners- kinesthetic learners learn best by doing things through movement and touch. They typically like to take notes for the sake of taking notes as it keeps them focused and when reading things tend to highlight and annotate.

Most people will likely be a mix of all three learning styles, some people will fit into one category more than others. My advice would be that if you know which style of learning you prefer, focus on it when you’re revising. Otherwise, use a mix of methods which incorporates all three styles. My personal learning style incorporates a mix of all three styles and I do my revision throughout the year rather than cram it all before an exam (although a lot of panic cramming happens too!). Here is my technique which has served me well over the last couple of years:

  1. 3 sets of notes- one full set (usually done during the year straight after the lecture using lecture notes and adding to it with textbooks, journal articles etc), one condensed set (shorter than the full set, pulling out the key information), one set that is no longer than one side of A4 paper (literally just summarising the key points).
  2. An A3 sheet- for me this is usually in the form of a mind map with as much detail as possible on it.
  3. Revision cards with case law on it- I use these to test myself and also to allow other people to test me too.

This is it in terms of my revision but once I’ve done all of this it usually starts to go in. My revision notes are usually extremely bright and colour co-ordinated too which all helps me to remember it! I also like to make use of whiteboards, there is something extremely satisfying about writing things down on a white board until you get it perfect!

That’s it from me really- unfortunately there’s no magic way to revise, just tap into your learning style if you have one, perfect your revision technique and work hard! One thing I also think is really important is not working too hard- I have friends who hardly sleep during exam periods but I couldn’t function without a good nights sleep and find it a lot more productive to be in bed by 11pm and up and in the library for 9am!

For those of you sitting exams soon, Good luck!

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