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What Is Your Learning Style?

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What can knowing your learning style do to help you get better grades?

Why do some people learn just by reading the book? Why do I read a paragraph over and over and realize it just doesn't sink in? What's going on?

The good news is, there is nothing wrong with you! Everybody's way of learning is different because each person's brain has certain "pathways" to learning. Once you know your own brain's "pathways" a little better, you can learn to learn more efficiently.

The not-so-good news is that it can take a while, first to figure out what your best learning style is, and then to practice how to adjust your study habits so that you can make the best of your own style.

Brain Ways

Basically, the human brain is a great pattern-builder. It learns some basic stuff and then builds connections and "pathways" to build up ever more complicated patterns of understanding. We don't want to get into neurophysiology, though (what?). We just want to help you study better! (Yes!)

Here's one example of a basic difference between people's learning styles: whether they see "big picture" patterns more easily or tend to focus on "parts" or "units."

If you are a "big picture" person, you may skip over some paragraphs in a textbook chapter, for example, because you're going after the "big idea." If you're a "unit" person, you might get hung up on a hard paragraph and it spoils the whole chapter for you.

The "big picture" person has to learn how to make sure to go back and re-read those "skipped" paragraphs. The "unit" person has to learn to skip those tough paragraphs and come back to them later, once they've grasped the "big picture."

Other Ways

There are a lot of other differences, too. Some people focus on visual learning – they remember what they see. Other people's brains are good at remembering what they hear or speak. Still others are best at remembering things that are acted out.

A lot of famous actors and comedians weren't necessarily very good in school. Instead of quietly reading material, they learn best by acting something out or speaking out loud, and when they grew up, teachers weren't as aware as they are now about helping students with different learning styles.

Try 'Em Out!

When you study, try a few different ways of looking at the facts and skills you're supposed to be learning. See which way helps you learn most easily.

Good luck!

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