If you have recognized yourself as being an auditory learner, there are a few simple adjustments you can make to your studying routine to help maximize how much you learn and retain.
Auditory learners are generally helped by things that they hear. Rather than endless notes, they prefer to listen to tapes and recordings, and have a tendency to read aloud to themselves, which also helps the learning process.
If you're not sure of your learning style, take a look at the article called ‘What’s Your Learning Style?’ that can be found on this site.
- Use some kind of recording device to record lectures and classes and play them back to yourself in the following days, and later on for revision. You can also use the recorder to record yourself reciting key facts, figures or equations that you need to remember and listen to them while doing other tasks, for example housework, traveling or working out.
- Sit towards the back or side of a classroom or lecture hall. This way you will not be affected by any visual distractions such as diagrams, or even the facial expressions and gestures of the teacher, and you can fully concentrate on listening.
- Take any opportunity you can to give talks and presentations. Not only will the preparation help your learning, but also hearing yourself repeat the information will help reinforce it in your mind.
- Repeat facts and figures, or anything you have to remember, over and over to yourself with your eyes closed. This avoids any mental stimulation from other sources, and you will be solely hearing yourself and the information you need to learn.
- Take part in study groups which gives you the opportunity to talk through what you have learned with your fellow students. Not only will you be reinforcing key points through what you say yourself, but you will also be listening to other people, who may be rephrasing what has been taught in a different way, helping you process the information. If there isn't a study group – be proactive and start one!
- Use word association techniques, mnemonics or songs as an aid to memorizing. This can be especially useful in language learning. For example, the mnemonic 'bags' is helpful when learning French to remember which adjectives are used before rather than after the noun – Beauty, Age, Goodness and Size. Many more such word associations and mnemonics can be found with a quick internet search and will help these rules stick like glue.
- Find an appropriate place to study. Needless to say a library will not be the best place, as you will end up disturbing others with your repetitions, songs and mnemonics. A bedroom or study would be ideal where you can be alone and not feel ridiculous as you read aloud to yourself, and repeat facts and figures.
Try some or all of these study tips and discover how easy it can be to retain information. While we tend to fall mainly into one of the three learning styles, there may be some elements of the two that you find useful, so check out the articles on visual and kinesthetic learning thatcan be found on this site.