Solutions When You Feel Like Studying Isn’t For You

Do you feel like studying is the worst possible pastime? We might just have something for you to make it a whole lot more effective.

It’s about four days from your exam and your text books are still sitting in the corner of your room, dusty, and balancing on a stack of random papers you’ve collected. You’ve done it again. You’ve left your studying to the last minute.

It’s understandable though. And you’re certainly not alone.

Many people feel that some styles of studying (like writing the same thing a million times) just don’t work for them; they can also be time-consuming when you’ve only got a finite number of hours left before your potential (academic) doom.

Homer studying

But maybe you’re just doing it wrong. There are actually many different ways to study and most people’s study style preferences can be broken up into a few key groups. This means writing out the same equation or key fact multiple times until it’s permanently seared into your memory (aka ‘rote learning’) might not actually be the best way for you to study.

We spoke to Steve Moreschini, the principal psychologist at Mind Scholar, to see what unique styles are available. However, take heed: He cautioned that it isn’t “one size fits all”.

Visual: For those who like all the pretty things.

its beautiful

What is it? Visual learning, as the name suggests, is a style of learning that involves visualising the concept or information. “If you’re a visual learner, you probably learn by drawing mind maps; some kind of visual representation of what you’re trying to write,” Steve said.

What can I do to study like this? There is a myriad of ways to work like this. The most simple option is to use coloured highlighters when reviewing information, but could extend to drawing more elaborate representations such as pretty diagrams. The key part to remember is that the information needs to be presented in an aesthetically appealing way.

Read-write: For those with their heads in books while their fingers scribble away.

remember

What is it? This is a style that is quite often considered the main method of studying. Steve explains that students who like this method “would just remember things by writing things down in sentences and paragraphs.” Generally, this style is suited towards people who love to read.

What can I do to study like this? Chances are you’ve probably already tested this style out when you’ve copied down notes that the teacher or lecturer has put up on the board. You could write out lists for the main areas you are studying or write out the same information multiple times. This helps with memorising key facts during the exam.

Analytical/sequential: For those who just get order and logic.

pilgrim gets it

What is it? This approach sees a more systematic way of dealing with learning. People who prefer this method tend to like order and structured learning, and excel when things are sequential and logical. Steve said they preferred when “there’s an underlying method, [or] a ‘step one through to two to three to four’ approach.”

What can I do to study like this? Lists. Lists. So many lists. You could also create a logic puzzle or game with the information.

Kinesthetic: For those who just like to get it done by jumping straight into it.

shia do it

What is it? This is a more physical learning style, which can be best described as ‘learning-by-doing’. “These are the kinds of students who probably learn best by demonstrations such as a practical [experiment] in a chemistry class,” Steve explained.

What can I do to study like this? This one’s a bit tricky to use unless you have a specific exam like a chemistry test where you could maybe do an experiment to see how it works. Or, you could do mathematical equations over and over again. In terms of remembering historical facts, this could be a little tricky, but you could still do something creative, like re-enact the scenarios or mix in a lil’ bit of visual studying and draw a comic strip with real quotes for those major events.

Auditory/Musical: For those who just feel the music, man.

peraltas jam

What is it? This is a style where listening is the best way to understand a concept or fact. A lot of auditory learners tend to be musicians or prefer listening to music while studying or working. “They might video record or audio record their notes and play it out and listen to it that way,” Steve said.

What can I do to study like this? You could read the facts out loud, record yourself and then listen back to it like Steve suggested. If you’re not a big fan of listening to yourself, you could turn the notes into a song or a poem. Even simple things such as listening to certain music (without lyrics, preferably) while reading out the information might help jog your memory when you’re trying to recall those important facts.

You ready now?

schmidt

Steve thinks the best way to minimise the stress of studying at the last minute is, shockingly, to space it out in the future. He also said that being an active learner will mean you might not have to study so laboriously in the lead up to an exam. “The worst thing you can do it sit back and be passive and expect the teacher to fill your mind with knowledge,” he said.

At the end of the day, the best option is to mix all of these styles together. Steve thinks this is the best way to ensure that you’re not limiting the intake of information. “The science actually says if you’re a so-called visual learner, you shouldn’t just learn by visual methods,” he explained. “You should recognise that visual learning is a strength, or a preference, but be mindful of all the other ways you can learn information and leverage off a variety [of them].”