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LEARNING HACKS The path to your dream A-levels is strenuous and learning-intensive – no one said otherwise. Studying only two days before the exam has never really helped anyone. Instead, you should develop your own learning routine and stick to it. This way you learn as effectively as possible, saving time and stress.
Making a step to a sustainable learning routine requires a lot of discipline. “Continuous learning” is the magic formula. Sounds exhausting, but you won’t regret it, because it will have an extremely positive effect not only on your school time, but also on your further life. You don’t believe me? Try it and see what happens.
A continuous learning routine has nothing to do with the hours of learning you might imagine. It is rather a long-term learning plan that leads in small steps to a big goal. That means as much as: Study a few minutes every day for a specific subject, then put the book down and enjoy life. Those who conscientiously follow through with these few minutes of learning will achieve an unassailable learning advantage in the long run. Don’t you think? An example: Suppose you study 10 extra minutes a day, 6 days a week. That makes 60 minutes a week, 250 minutes a month and 1500 minutes a half year. In that time, you can’t help but get better at school.
Implementation in reality
Okay, this plan is ambitious. But it is possibly. After all, 10 minutes a day is not the world. The more individually your learning routine is, the better. In the end, only you know how and for how long you can learn best. You can study only math for a week, but you can also take turns with the subjects. You can study 4 days a week instead of 6 days, but then learn for 20 minutes. Many students like to use the weekend to learn more because they need to take some time off during the week. Others do it the other way round. You have to decide that for yourself.
My tip: Some days nothing goes into your head. Listen to your body and stop learning for once. Collect yourself and go into the next day all the more motivated. But this must not end in regularity or carelessness, otherwise your learning plan has missed its goal and the lasting effect is lost.
The concept of different learning styles
To learn, we take in information through our senses. For most people, one of these senses is particularly important for learning. This determines the learning style to which you can be assigned. Knowing your own learning style is extremely important for efficient learning. If you know how to memorise things best, you not only save time, but can also remember the information longer.
I only found out by chance that there are such things as learning styles and then immediately set about finding out my own one. This was not so easy, because learning styles often overlap. To help you find your way of learning as quickly as possible, I have compiled an overview of the four most important styles below. Read on and get started in the exams.
1. Auditory Learner
This is you. You know the lyrics to the latest hit song before anyone else? Learning poetry isn’t difficult for you either? Then you are definitely an auditory learner. You often say things out loud or move your lips while learning. You have good comprehension skills and can listen attentively; you do well with purely frontal teaching. It is not difficult for you to combine things you have heard.
This is how you learn best. You can remember everything you hear easily. Say texts aloud or record them on your mobile phone so that you can listen to them as often as possible. If you find written tasks difficult, you should first recite them orally, as in a lecture, before writing them down. Ask others to explain difficult points to you or try to discuss these with them – this way they will stick better. Be careful with music in the background. Instrumental background music can motivate you and help you learn, but it can also distract you. Pay attention in class as well, because you can get more out of the lessons than most students already do.
2. Visual Learner
This is you. You rely mainly on your eyes and benefit from the visual learning style. Disorder in a binder has always bothered you. You like to highlight headings in colour. You like sketches and mind maps and often take notes in class. You know exactly what is written where in your notes and can remember details well. You are unbeatable in memory games.
This is how you learn best. For you, what you learn must always be neatly prepared; an untidy desk distracts you just as much as scribbling in your notebook. The better you take notes in class, the easier it will be for you to learn what you hear later. You will achieve the best learning results if you write down all the lesson notes again at home in your own words and as briefly as possible.
Try to write down as much of your learning material as possible in small pictures, sketches or overviews. Depending on how you prefer it, you can make small bullet point cards or large, clear posters. This is not only fun, but also replaces some of the actual learning for you. Learning videos can also be very useful for you.
3. Kinesthetic Learner
This is you. “Learning by doing” is your motto in life. You are an active learner and love experiments. For you, learning has to be connected with activities or movements; you don’t like sitting still for long periods of time. You like to use distinctive gestures when speaking or use your fingers to calculate. You are impulsive, let yourself be guided by your feelings and would like to try out everything you have learned right away.
This is how you learn best. It helps you to put what you have learned into practice. Wherever possible, you should experiment at home, reconstruct objects or pantomime with your body. To satisfy your urge to move, you can learn while swinging in a hammock or going up and down the room.
4. Communicative Learner
This is you. You love to discuss, are not shy in lectures, but can also listen well. You like to share your thoughts with other students and are therefore very active in classes. You ask questions straightforwardly, for example if you don’t like a belief system. You generally approach other people openly and get involved in environmental or political issues.
This is how you learn best. Follow your need to exchange ideas with others. Because you can learn best by verbally formulating explanations and ideas. Get together with your friends in a kind of “study group” and discuss the learning content. Try to ask each other questions or outdo each other with knowledge. It can also be interesting to take the opposite position in the discussion and try to argue from that point of view. A quiz is not only fun, but also a good way for you to gain knowledge.
5. Mixed learning style
Don’t worry if you don’t fit one hundred percent into one of the four learning styles. In fact, most people are mixed types. I, for example, learn best with a mix of visual and auditory elements, but I also often walk around the room while learning or discuss learning content with friends. There is also the person-oriented learner (who is highly dependent on the teacher) and the media-oriented learner (who has been comfortable with technical media from an early age) and many more …
Ultimately, the learning style model only breaks down some ideas that can make learning easier for you. You may prefer to learn visually in subjects like biology and chemistry and communicatively in subjects like history or ethics. That’s perfectly okay. You have to decide for yourself which learning style methods are most effective for you.
Some motivation for your learning routine …
If you need some motivation to get started (and we all know that the beginning is the hardest part), I have listed a few advantages of the continuous learning routine:
- No stress before exams. Since you have already learned most of what you need to know in the weeks before, you only need to refresh your knowledge once more.
- A secure feeling in tests. If you have a better command of your knowledge, you can go more calmly into exam situations. This has a positive effect on your performance.
- Better oral participation. Because you understand the material more easily or have already done some preparatory work, you can participate more easily in class, which in turn is reflected in even better grades.
- More free time. Sounds contradictory, but since you only have limited, planned learning time, there is still time for hobbies, which can distract you and make you more successful at school.
- Nothing more than routine. If you follow the learning plan in a disciplined manner, you will eventually become unaware of the daily learning process and therefore no longer perceive it as annoying.