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What is My Learning Style? Maximise Your Learning with these Simple Study Habits

Here is the much-awaited Rule 2 from MindWork's 8 Rules for Academic Success series, designed to be the game manual and cheat sheet you need to succeed in school in Singapore and surpass everyone else.

Read Rule #2 in this post, and join our email list to follow MindWorks Blog so you can receive an email notification when we post the next 6 rules!

Rule #2 is simple, but something students rarely consider:

The way to achieving effective learning is by understanding your learning style!

Student in Singapore conducts engineering experiments

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

Learning is creating a relationship between the known and the unknown through new neural circuits. Once the association is formed and our neurons form new synaptic connections, we have learnt a concept. What is more, the more linkages there are between two neurons, the stronger the memory.

Neurons firing in the brain

[Image Source: ZEISS Microscopy ]

However, different people have different learning approaches. There are 3 main types of learning styles: Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic.

What are the Three Learning Styles?

Student happily dancing to music in her living room

Auditory learners

prefer to listen to explanations of concepts, and their common studying method is reciting the material aloud. Optimally, a relatively silent environment is required as too much background noise is counterproductive. However, classical music can also help auditory learners to study in a more relaxed state of mind. According to research from the Duke Cancer Institute, classical music can also lessen anxiety, enabling students to be in the right state for revision.

Student explores statistics charts for math homework in Singapore

Visual learners

study most efficiently by reading books, watching videos or looking at charts, tables or graphs. This is because they learn through visualising. On the other hand,

kinesthetic learners

learn best by having a ‘hands-on experience’. It is difficult for them to stay still while studying, and it is best to write things down to enhance understanding and memory.

Student conducts biology experiments in a school laboratory in Singapore

Preference for one learning style over another does not mean that we can only absorb knowledge via one channel. In fact, we all do so via multiple channels, one of which may help us remember better than others. Building on this natural strength can reap immense benefits.

As Tom Rath has explained in the book Strengths Finder 2.0,

"people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general".

By understanding which learning style applies to you and putting these study habits in practice, you can not just learn better to score higher in your PSLE/ N'level/ O'level/ A'level exams in Singapore but also find ways to engage with the material with genuine interest, building a passion for your chosen subjects rather than fighting your way through schooling.

Traditionally, visual learners can learn from reading textbooks, auditory learners can learn from listening to their teachers during class, kinesthetic learners can learn from doing experiments. But one resource that can apply to all three types of learners is to get private home tuition. A qualified and experienced tutor knows how to adapt to the learning style of his/her students, and they can provide you with valuable insight which you cannot find merely through online resources or your textbooks.

With one-on-one tuition, you can practice and receive feedback in real-time and learn the material in more depth than you can alone. Moreover, your tutor can provide you with excellent sample papers so you may study strategically. If you need help finding the perfect tutor who will understand your learning needs, MindWorks Tuition can help. Click here and fill this form to request a tutor now!

Also, click here to read about the advantages of receiving online tuition during the heightened safety regulations.

What Is Your Learning Style?

Click here to complete a simple test to find out what your learning style is. Depending on your results, you can maximise attention, recall, and achievement by learning through the right channels. Then, click on your learning style to skip forward and find specific study tips that apply to you:

Study Tips for Auditory Learners:

Student revises her university lecture by listening to audio recordings in a cafe

  • One good tip for auditory learners is to record your lectures in university or lessons in school so you may listen to them again while studying. Since you remember auditory information better than visual ones, note-taking may be less effective. However, if you listen carefully in class and record lessons to be reviewed later, you might learn faster and recall the material for longer.

  • Another idea is to use mnemonic devices to remember information. This could be making up songs for the material you are trying to memorize or acronyms that can be recited repeatedly to encode the information in your long term memory.

  • If your teacher is willing, engage them in verbal discussions outside of class about the material. This is a great way to gain more understanding of the key concepts you studied in class. However, teachers are often very busy. If you cannot receive personal time with them, the best alternative is to engage a great private home tutor to get one-on-one lessons. Although you may try to achieve the same effect through verbal discussions with your peers, this may not be as productive since they will not give you additional insight or explain unfamiliar concepts. At its worst, they may actually pass on their own misunderstandings to you! This is why a qualified home tutor in Singapore might be a perfect option for you.

  • You may also watch videos available online through platforms such as YouTube, Big History Project or KhanAcademy. Moreover, you may improve your reading habits by subscribing to services like Audible to listen to audiobooks on diverse subjects or listen to education podcasts on Spotify or other similar apps.

  • Another great tip is to be fully engaged in the classroom by asking questions. Once again, this is meant to help you initiate a verbal discussion so you may remember facts better. However, if your teacher discourages questions, consider talking to your parents about hiring a one-on-one home tutor with whom you can ask a limitless number of questions.

  • Our last tip is to make space for a quiet and comfortable study environment. Be sure to turn off notifications, and remove any noisy distractions from your immediate environment so you can focus solely and intensely on the sounds that matter (reciting notes, listening to lectures).

For some more tips, click here.

Study Tips for Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners:

Student learns structure of organic molecules for her secondary 4 chemistry class in Singapore

  • Experiment with your study space to find out which method works best for you. For example, you may want to have a standing desk so you can move or pace around while you study. Or you may like to sit comfortably in a lounge chair or bean bag. You may also like to sit on a regular desk with your back straight or sit on the floor on a cosy rug. Try out the different methods and notice which one works best for you, then adopt it for the long run.

  • Take notes while in class. When your hands are actively engaged in note-taking, your brain can finally focus intensely, which will help with recalling the material later on. Moreover, you may also revise by re-writing your notes. Consider buying a simple whiteboard so you can practice by writing out answers or re-doing sums on it.

  • Find ways to be active while studying. For example, you can walk around in your room while reading your textbook or tapping your foot to maintain your attention. A fidget cube may also help you engage your tactile senses while learning, so you may give your undivided attention to your notes, textbooks or practice papers.

  • Use physical flashcards. These will be helpful in both encoding the information in your brain while making them and revising this information through shuffling through the cards. Again, this will help you physically play around with the notes, improving the quality of your learning.

  • Think of examples, experiments or other activities for the key concepts from your classes. This will help you connect the material back to the activities and events in which you have participated in the past or vicariously live through the experiences of other scholars. By so doing, you can encode the material through experiential stories, which will help you remember them in more detail, and for longer.

  • Lastly, consider getting a private tutor with whom you can safely conduct your own at-home experiments, try out virtual simulations, or use physical resources like building blocks or paper to make models and charts. A Singaporean home tutor can help you give personalised advice, offer more details about experiments, and even share with you their repository of resources such as videos and worksheets that will engage you to work through problems by yourself under their expert guidance.

Click here for more tips.

Study Tips for Visual Learners:

Student's handwritten mind maps hanging on a wall

  • Hand-draw diagrams, charts, or graphs from your class textbook or notes. As you are more spatially aware, picturing the concepts in space will help you remember them better.

  • Use highlighters and colour coordinate your notes. This will help you see visual links between concepts through the different colours used.

  • Watch videos of concepts on YouTube, check out interesting educational documentaries or even visit Museums (when safe, by following the latest government protocols) to see your class material come to life visually. When you see these videos, you can visualise yourself as a part of the film to encode the material photographically in your memory.

  • Make mindmaps. You can do this both physically simply by using pen and paper, and perhaps even coloured pens. Or you may do it digitally through tools such as Coggle, Concept Board, or Dotstormming.

  • Buy a whiteboard, and use it to visualise your essay plans or research reports, do maths sums or draw science diagrams. If you are studying with friends, you can also use digital software where a team can collaborate in real-time to write on a digital whiteboard. One such app is Educreations Whiteboard.

  • Talk to your parents about hiring a private tutor. No matter what subjects you need help in, a one-on-one tutor can help you with unique resources such as worksheets, extra textbook chapters, and well-organised notes, which will greatly help visual learners. Moreover, they may also draw out and explain concepts in real-time or give you immediate feedback for your work, making learning more efficient and enjoyable.

Click here to see more tips.

Now that you understand your learning style better, you can start studying to get maximum returns. Remember to subscribe to MindWorks Blog to receive email notifications every time we upload new tips and expert advice on achieving academic success!

All the best!

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