When exams roll around, students the world over resort to the same tried-and-true exam study techniques like taking notes and making flashcards. Yet while this drudgery works for some, there are still plenty of students who spend hours making notes without learning anything at all. If you have got a big exam coming up, then perhaps it is time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to revision and studying. You have a finite amount of time, so the most important part of studying is making sure you study efficiently: this means you need to play to your strengths and figure out what is the best way for you to learn.
Most educators split ‘learning types’ into audio, visual and kinetic: knowing which one you are is an important step on the way to efficient studying. Here are 3 unusual study techniques each designed to help audio, visual and kinetic learners, meaning that no matter how you learn there is an extra study technique for you. Even if you still do the majority of your study in the traditional manner, utilising just a few of these techniques for certain topics might just give your memory the edge it needs.
1. Record yourself (and everyone else)
If you learn best by listening, then there is no point slaving away to make hundreds of visual notecards. Play to your strengths and record yourself talking about a certain topic or relaying names and dates. It may feel incredibly corny sitting and listening to your own voice, but it is an excellent way to get information swiftly into your head. This trick is particularly handy if you are revising for an oral exam, as it is a quick and effective way of memorising speeches, plays or even foreign language dialogues.
Just remember that there is a difference between active listening and passing listening: playing a recording in the background might make you feel like you are studying, but you need to be actually engaging with it for it to count. After listening to the recording for a certain number of times, why not try write down or recite what you heard? That way you can ascertain if the information is settling in your memory.
2. Give a seminar to your parents/best friend/pet dog
People love quoting the maxim ‘you learn 95% of what you teach’, and while that statistic may be an overestimation, it still makes the point that explaining a topic to someone else is often the best way of organising your thoughts. Teaching somebody about a particular topic is like giving an answer in an exam: you need to think of the best way to present all of your information in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow. So why not attempt to teach your parents, your best friend or even your dog about the the causes of the fall of the Roman empire (or whatever it is that you are studying)? It is a foolproof way to judge just how much you know about a subject.
3. Create an infographic
Infographics are the latest internet craze for transmitting information, but in addition they also make create study tools for visual learners. While the best infographics are created by designers with years of experience, there are tools out there that allow the least tech-savvy of people to create useful infographics for free. Infographics are great if you need to learn a lot of facts and figures about a particular subject, and they work because they allow you to visualise said numbers and statistics. If getting to grips with names and dates is a weak point for you, then why not trying making an infographic?
There first step before you even think about making an the image itself is sorting all your information and planning what data and numbers you need to represent and why. Look at your notes and pick out the most relevant names, numbers and quotes for that particular topic, and then try arrange them thematically so they make more sense in your brain. Then use a quick infographic generator on the web to get all the information down into an amazing visual aid. There are many great infographic examples on the internet where you can find the best solution for your need.
These techniques are just three of the thousands of unusual ways of learning. If you feel like learning by rote is not working for you, then get on google and find a better way to learn. Studying is all about finding what works for you, so make sure you learn smart as you get smart.
This is a guest-post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a part-time guest blogger interested in education and health. Whenever she has time she likes to go hiking and discover hidden places around the globe.