Studying by Style: Auditory


Are you a musician who learns a piece of music by hearing it just a few times? Can you complete a task when it has only been explained to you once? Can you recall conversations in detail and verbalize ideas well? Then your learning style maybe auditory – you learn best by having things read or told to you. But even if you can’t have your professor repeat the semester word for word to help you study, you can use sound, patterns, and rhythms to aid studying.

  • Read your notes and observe patterns. Look for repeated words or letters.  Do sentences that you read aloud have a natural rhythm to them? Are there words within a sentence or series of sentences that all include similar sounds (such as repeated S’s)?
  • Put a short list of words in alphabetical order, or clump together words with similar sounds. For example, there are six noble gases on the Periodic Table and all of them end in “on” except for helium.
  • Study out loud in small pieces. If you have a list of facts, read the first one from your notes; then repeat it without looking at your notes. Once you’re confident you’ve remembered it, add on further items from your notes until you can repeat them all aloud without referring to the sheet.
  • Allow yourself 20-to-30-minute breaks during study time. During breaks, do something that doesn’t require learning. Talk on the phone or take a walk to relax.

Not an auditory learner? You could be a visual learner, or a kinesthetic. Some people learn more than one way and employ a variety of techniques. Explore our other LifeNotes study tips.

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