Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Are you a visual, audio, physical or verbal learner?

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Everyone has different ways of learning and remembering things – some people find that they learn best by doing, where as others find success in re-reading information until it sticks in their brain.

Knowing and applying your study style can help you to remember information more effectively.

Here’s a look at some of the main learning styles and what study methods you can use to suit your style.

Use the diagram below to figure out your study style; you might find that you are a little of a few of these styles or that a different style works better for you in different subjects.


What you are like:

You prefer to learn by doing. You like to use your body and hands and might find yourself moving around a lot while studying. You are possibly the type who can listen to music while working, you like making things like building models and you may prefer hands on subjects such as drama, sports, art, construction and engineering.

Study tips for you:
  • Combine your learning with physical activities; for example while you go for a run, swim laps or do karate chops revise information in your head.
  • Take frequent breaks to move around (see our post about desk stretches and desk yoga).
  • Move around while you study, make flash cards and flip through them while walking.
  • Study with other people.
  • Use big sheets of card or paper to write your notes on and use lots of colour.

What are you like:
You find it easy to express yourself through writing and verbal communication. You like reading and writing and are good at remembering rhymes. You may find that you are attracted to public speaking and the debate team, English and journalism.
Study tips for you:
  • Copy out all your notes and then read and re-read your notes silently. Keep your notes handy and read them whilst doing an idle activity such as sitting on the bus.
  • Try and write down key points based on your memory and then check back to see if you got them right. When making notes of key information, use different words. 
  • Speak your notes aloud (be dramatic and make it a speech or performance worthy of an Oscar) and incorporate rhymes or make up jingles.

What are you like:

You like to learn by listening and hearing information. You might find that you like being on stage, speaking in class and are good at explaining things and remembering people’s names. Let’s say you got lost on your way down to Southbound and needed to stop for directions,  you would find it easier asking someone to verbally explain the way to you, rather than reading a map. You possibly prefer to study with other people instead of alone and you may play an instrument (FYI this does not include guitar hero).

Study Tips for you:
  • Revise with other people – have conversations about the information.
  • Role play or turn main points into a song and use the tune to help you remember.
  • Speak your notes aloud, record it and then play it back to yourself repeatedly.  This is a great way to sneak it into other activities, for example: headphones on while jogging, travelling in the car or doing the dishes etc...

What are you like?

You like colour and you understand information better when it’s presented in charts. You like to study in a quiet place and you like time to think about things.
You like things better when they have images and diagrams. You are good at visualising plans and have good spatial awareness. You may find that you have an interest in photography, art, design, film and architecture.

Study Tips for you:

  • Use colour to separate out your notes e.g. use different coloured pens or highlighters for different subjects or topics or write on different coloured paper.
  • Draw out information and use diagrams like our ‘know your heart’ poster
  • Instead of writing all your notes in paragraphs try using a mind mapping technique – this could be as simple as getting A3 paper or card  and writing everything out in a ‘brainstorming’ fashion or you could get all specky and try this free mind mapping software. It’s super quick to download onto your computer and very easy (and fun!) to use.
  • If remembering a process or sequence of events draw it out on a map or timeline.
What study style are you? Comment below.

For further reading on study styles visit Learning Styles Online .

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Studying can be a pain in the neck; try these simple stretches to improve your concentration

Sometimes when we have been sitting down for a lengthy period of time concentrating super hard on something, we forget how long it has been since we got up and had a move around. That’s when we start to get cricks in our necks, back pain, sore eyes and even headaches.

Ideally you will have put some time aside in your day to get some exercise – walking the dog, a game of soccer in the park with friends, karate chops, lawn bowls – whatever it is that gets you active and that will give you some personal time to rejuvenate, clear your mind and stay healthy, which all helps you study stronger when you sit back down to work.

Murdoch School of Chiropractic and Sports Science Dean and Associate Professor Brian Nook advises that you can "minimise your muscle fatigue and improve your level of concentration during your studies by maintaining good posture and regular stretching.”

We pulled together some handy guides below to help you to do this. Perhaps set intervals so you remember to move, for example every hour or at the end of a chapter, put down your pen and spend a few minutes stretching at your desk. It’s pretty simple and you will notice a world of difference!

Simple desk stretches for your back, neck, shoulders and eyes (yes! your eyes need exercising too!)
Click to enlarge image
From The Kikutown AV Club

Desk Yoga

Oh wouldn't it be nice if you could study in this environment? Maybe slightly destracting... but some really good strectches in this short video from yoga instructor Rodney Yee that will make your shoulders feel sooooooo much better! Namaste.

Desk excercises in under 5 minutes

These excerises from Woman's Day Health Editor are a bit more about building strength but this is important too and in the video she makes it really clear how to do the exercises and they are so simple!

 Let us know how these work for you and if you have any other great desk workout/stretch tips do share!

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Preparing for WACE exams: tips for using old exam papers

It might seem like a pretty straightforward task, but there are some tricks to using old WACE exam papers. One of the biggest traps is using the old exam paper as the ultimate guide to what you should be studying, but really, the WACE syllabus is your best bet because it includes ALL the possible content you may have to answer questions about. If you haven't already got a syllabus, ask your teacher or download them here.

Past exam papers for all written exams are available from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority website.

Answers are not provided because it is recommended that once you have practiced the exam you go through it with your teacher. If you are studying with friends you could also compare how you answered questions and go through them together.

Below are some pointers for using old exam papers from year 12 teacher and WACE marker Graham Braid. You may remember Graham’s tips and reminders in this top tips for maths post.

Next steps: