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Published on January 7, 2020

Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

Hack Your Learning With These 9 Simple Study Habits

Do you know you can learn some good study habits if you desire to improve your learning and retentive capacity?

These study habits incorporate approaching study with a positive mindset, selecting an appropriate learning environment, avoiding or reducing distractions, establishing a realistic study schedule, and leveraging learning techniques and memory games.

It is no doubt you face a lot of issues in your daily lives, and these things compete for your attention. This makes it difficult for you to focus during your learning or study sessions.

These issues will never go away at any point in time, but you will need to be proactive in improving study habits that can help you hack your learning.

Find out why study habits are important and the habits you need to cultivate to enhance your knowledge.

Why Are Study Habits Important?

Good Study Habits Impact Your Motivation Level

Study smarter says the adage, not harder. By building good and simple study habits, as well as learning techniques, you will keep yourself supercharged. This will assist you in attaining your goals efficiently and quickly.

Improving Study Habits Positions You For Success

Cultivating simple study skills is not only relevant to the university; these skills will position you for success in life. Every leader out there from Bill Gates to Elon Musk is a die-hard reader and learner. If you desire success in life, be studious.

Effective Study Habits Increase Your Self-Esteem

Good study habits impact your competence, confidence, and self-esteem. When you lose your self-esteem, you can lose the motivation required to learn.

Study habits help in safeguarding the most crucial ingredient to your success. It can also reduce the anxiety you usually have about deadlines.

Developing Good Study Habits Saves You Time

As soon as you become proficient in your studying skills, you will cut down on the hours you spend on studying. This will save you more time to focus on other things that are crucial in your life.

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Good Study Habits Enhance Your Learning

Cultivating practical study skills will improve your retentive capacity and your ability to learn. It will also make learning to be more exciting and rewarding.

With these benefits, you may then ask, ‘what are the essential study habits?’ Read on.

9 Study Habits to Hack Your Learning

1. Review Often

Design a study plan to review your study notes. This will help you to maximize every study session. It will also reduce the pressure of cramming before any significant examination or job interview.

Reviewing is also a means of enabling your brain to store facts and new information in your long-term memory. If you cram often, you tend to forget what you have learned as the information will be stored in the short-term memory.

2. Comprehend

Some learners try to memorize all the information while studying without trying to comprehend it. They will find it difficult to cope when they are faced with structured questions during examinations or interviews where the application of knowledge is needed. Some even claimed they failed a test they prepared hard for without knowing they did not understand what they studied.

If you study to comprehend, you will be in a better position to attempt any question on various topics presented to you. It becomes easier to explain a hard concept when you study to understand the concept.

3. Employ Different Study Materials

Do not depend on your book or lecture notes. Make use of different materials to aid your learning.

This study habit enables you to understand the topic you are studying thoroughly. It also helps you to prepare for any major test or examination.

You can access Lynda Library or other online and local libraries to source for materials relating to the topic you are studying.

4. Utilize Flash Cards

Employing flashcards can enhance memorization. It will assist you in recalling vital concepts and key terminologies.

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Flashcards will help you condense the voluminous amount of notes. You can also form the study habit of drawing diagrams to recall important information and details about the topics. This technique will help you revise before a major examination, test, or interview quickly.

Using flashcards can be very helpful as you can carry them around everywhere you go.

5. Take Breaks

Breaks are very crucial in between study sessions. It helps you to store and retain information in your long term memory.

Prolonged studying can make you feel tired and put pressure on you. You cannot learn effectively when you are under pressure.

Overloading your brain can cause congestion. Taking breaks will provide your brain the required time needed to refresh before absorbing new information.

You can take a break of 10 minutes, having studied for thirty minutes to one hour. You can watch an exciting video clip during this break or take a walk in the garden to relax your nerves.

6. Teach Others

Several studies have found out that you learn better when you teach others a concept you have studied.[1]

You cannot teach what you don’t know. Teaching other people positions you to learn as you have no option but to express the information in your words. This is because you reinforce the information as you repeat while teaching others.

At some points, your students will ask questions which you will need to analyze before providing answers. Teaching enables you to gain a better understanding of the topic.

7. Evaluate Yourself

Evaluation is essential to determine if you understand what you are studying. It will enable you to gauge which aspect you need to dwell on.

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Most times, you think you know a topic, but when you evaluate yourself using the test, you will find the topic or concept challenging.

Evaluating yourself enables you to gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. You can leverage online tests or quiz.

Most books have evaluation sections or questions to answer. These are designed to test your knowledge. The evaluation also helps you in managing your time during the study.

8. Link Your Previous Knowledge to What You Are Learning

You can link your study notes to concepts you have learned previously. This helps you to recall things accurately.

Utilizing analogy can enable you to learn the content faster. You can also make use of acronyms to recall concepts. This method is also known as MNEMONIC.[2]

For instance, the BODMAS acronym is utilized to solve difficult mathematical problems. Any mathematics student understands that subtraction comes last while solving a mathematical problem, thanks to the BODMAS acronym. This can also be applied while learning.

9. Take Good Care of Yourself

This is an aspect that most learners don’t manage properly. Quality sleep and healthy eating habits affect your assimilation. Learners who neglect proper diet and quality sleep will find it hard to retain information fast.

You should drink at least eight glasses of water, have eight hours of sleep, and a take balanced diet daily. Food such as berries, fish, groundnut, egg, and broccoli have been found out to boost brainpower: 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

How to Learn Study Habits

So, how to learn these study habits in order to learn more effectively?

Do the following before you study:

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Focus on the Big Picture

How many topics do you want to cover? What amount of time do you have to cover them? What’s the purpose, target, or objective of studying the topics? How will the exercise impact your career and personal development?

Set Priorities

Several topics would clamor for your attention. It is important to prioritize them in order of importance. I recommend starting with the simplest to the most complex topics.

Plan

Design a schedule of what you want to study and when. A learning or study calendar is one of the essential tools to organize your learning activities.

Allocate a Considerable Amount of Time

It does not matter what purpose you have for studying; cramming is the least effective means of retaining information in your long term memory. You need considerable time to study in advance to achieve your learning objectives.

Establish a Suitable Study Area

Discover a spot where you can quickly spread out your materials, notepad, books, and your computer. The place should be well-lit, cozy, and devoid of distraction. It could be inside a public library or a private study area in your house.

The Bottom Line

The study habits mentioned in this article will help you to become more productive while studying and learning.

Utilize different materials and resources for adequate comprehension. Introduce breaks into your study sessions so you can recharge from pressure.

If you imbibe these study habits, you will find it easier to hack your learning.

More to Help You Learn Faster

Featured photo credit: Bonnie Kittle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You? 5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner How Motor Learning Helps You Learn Effectively How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster How to Use Visual Learning to Learn Effectively

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You?

How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You?

One of the biggest realizations I had as a kid is that teaching in school could be hit or miss for students. We all have our own different types of learning styles. Even when I was in study groups, we all had our own ways of uncovering solutions to questions.

It wasn’t only until later in my life did I realize how important it is to know your own learning style. As soon as you know how you learn and the best way to learn, you can better retain information. This information could be crucial to your job, future promotions, and overall excelling in life.

Best of all about this information is that, it’s not hard to figure out what works best for you. There are broad categories of learning styles, so it’s a matter of finding which one we gravitate towards most.

What Are the Types of Learning Styles?

Before we get into the types of learning styles, there’s one thing to know:

We all learn through repetition.

No matter how old you are, studies show that repetition allows us to retain and learn new information.[1] The big question now is what kind of repetition is needed. After all, we all learn and process information differently.

This is where the types of learning styles come in. There are eight in total and there is one or two that we prefer over others. This is important because when reading these learning styles, you’ll feel like you’d prefer a mixture of these styles.

That’s because we do prefer a combination. Though there will be one style that will be more predominate over the others. The key is finding which one it is.

Visual Learning

A visual learner (also known as the spatial learner) excels at deciphering anything visual – typically maps and graphs.

If you are this type of learner, you likely excelled at geometry in math class but struggled with arithmetic and numbers. To this day, you might also struggle with reading and writing to a degree.

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While visual learners are described as “late bloomers,” they are highly imaginative. They also process what they see much faster than what they hear.

Verbal Learning

Verbal learning, on the other hand, is learning through what’s spoken. Verbal learners excel in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Because of that, they are likely the ones to find thrills in tongue twists, word games, and puns.

They also thoroughly enjoy drama, writing, and speech classes. But give them maps, or challenge them to think outside of the box and they’ll struggle a bit.

Logical Learning

Not to be confused with visual learners, these learners are good at math and logic puzzles. Anything involving numbers or other abstract visual information is where they excel.

They can also analyze cause and effect relationships quite well. Part of that is due to their thinking process being linear.

Another big difference is their need to quantify everything. These people love grouping information, creating specific lists, agendas or itineraries.

They also have a love for strategy games and making calculations in their heads.

Auditory Learning

Similar to verbal learning, this type of learning style focuses on sounds on a deeper level. These people think chronologically and excel more in the step-by-step methods. These are likely the people who will watch Youtube videos to learn or do something the most.

These learners also have a great memory of conversations and love debates and discussions. Chances are likely these people excel at anything oral.

Also as the name suggests, these individuals have great musical talents. They can decern notes, instruments, rhythms and tones. That being said, they will have a tough time interpreting body language, expressions and gestures. This also applies to charts, maps and graphs.

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Social Learning

Otherwise known as the interpersonal learner, their skills are really unique. They don’t particularly excel in classrooms but rather through talking to other people.

These are the people who are excited for group conversations or group projects. Mainly because they are gifted with coming up with ideas and discussing them.

They also have a good understanding of people’s emotions, facial expressions, and relationship dynamics. They are also likely the first people to point out the root causes of communication issues.

Intrapersonal Learning

The reverse of interpersonal learning, these people prefer learning alone. These are the people who love self-study and working alone. Typically, intrapersonal learners are deeply in tune with themselves meaning they know who they are, their feelings, and their own capabilities.

This type of learning style means you love learning something on your own and typically every day. You also have innate skills in managing yourself and indulging in self-reflection.

Physical Learning

Also known as kinesthetic learning, these people love doing things with their hands. These are people who loved pottery or shop class. If you’re a physical learner, you’ll find you have a huge preference in using your body in order to learn.

This means not just pottery or shop class you enjoyed. You may also have loved sports or any other art medium like painting or woodwork. Anything that involved you learning through physical manipulation you enjoyed and excelled at.

Though this doesn’t just apply to direct physical activities. A physical learner may also find that they learn well when both reading on any subject and pacing or bouncing your leg at the same time.

Naturalistic Learning

The final learning style is naturalistic. These are people who process information through patterns in nature. They also apply scientific reasoning in order to understand living creatures.

Not many people may be connected to this one out of the types of learning styles primarily because of those facts. Furthermore, those who excel in this learning end up being farmers, naturalists or scientists.

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These are the people who love everything with nature. They appreciate plants, animals, and rural settings deeply compared to others.

How to Know Which One(s) Suit You Better?

So now that you have an idea of all the types of learning styles we have another question:

Which one(s) are best for you?

As a reminder, all of us learn through a combination of these learning styles. This makes pinpointing these styles difficult since our learning is likely a fusion of two or more of those styles.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of methods to narrow down which learner you are. Let’s explore the most popular one: the VARK model.

VARK Model

Developed by Neil Fleming and David Baume, the VARK model is basically a conversation starter for teachers and learners.[2] It takes the eight types of learning styles above and condenses them into four categories:

  • Visual – those who learn from sight.
  • Auditory – those who learn from hearing.
  • Reading/writing – those who learn from reading and writing.
  • Kinesthetic – those who learn from doing and moving.

As you can probably tell, VARK comes from the first letter of each style.

But why use this particular model?

This model was created not only for discussion purposes but for learners to know a few key things — namely understanding how they learn.

Because our school system is focusing on a one-size-fits-all model, there are many of us who struggle learning in school. While we may no longer go to school, these behaviors persisted into our adult lives regardless. While we aren’t learning about algebra or science, we may be learning new things about our job or industry. Knowing how to best retain that information for the future helps in so many ways.

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As such, it can be frustrating when we’re in a classroom setting and aren’t understanding anything. That or maybe we’re listening to a speech or reading a book and have no clue what’s going on.

This is where VARK comes back in. To quote Fleming and Baume:

“VARK above all is designed to be a starting place for a conversation among teachers and learners about learning. It can also be a catalyst for staff development- thinking about strategies for teaching different groups can lead to more, and appropriate, variety of learning and teaching.”

Getting into the specifics, this is what’s known as metacognition.[3] It helps you to understand how you learn and who you are. Think of it as a higher order of thinking that takes control over how you learn. It’s impossible to not use this while learning.

But because of that metacognition, we can pinpoint the different types of learning styles that we use. More importantly, what style we prefer over others.

Ask These Questions

One other method that I’ll mention is the research that’s done at the University of Waterloo.[4] If you don’t want to be using a lot of brainpower to pinpoint, consider this method.

The idea with this method is to answer a few questions. Since our learning is a combination of styles, you’ll find yourself leaning to one side over the other with these questions:

  • The active/reflective scale: How do you prefer to process information?
  • The sensing/intuitive scale: How do you prefer to take in information?
  • The visual/verbal scale: How do you prefer information to be presented?
  • The sequential/global scale: How do you prefer to organize information?

This can narrow down how you learn and provide some other practical tips for enhancing your learning experience.

Final Thoughts

Even though we have a preferred style of learning and knowing what that is is beneficial, learning isn’t about restriction. Our learning style shouldn’t be the sole learning style we rely on all the time.

Our brain is made of various parts and whatever style we learn activates certain parts of the brain. Because of this fact, it would be wise to consider other methods of learning and to give them a try.

Each method I mentioned has its merits and there’s not one dominate or superior method. What method we like is entirely up to our preferences. So be flexible with those preferences and uncover what style works best for you.

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Anna Earl via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] BrainScape: Repetition is the mother of all learning
[2] Neil Fleming and David Baume: VARKing Up the Right Tree
[3] ERIC: Metacognition: An Overview
[4] University of Waterloo: Understanding Your Learning Style

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