Key Study Tips for Visual Learners

Different student have varying ways of carrying out their private studies, usually a tried and true method that has been tested throughout pre-primary, primary, and secondary school as well as at the tertiary level.

There are three kinds of learners: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. You usually have figured out what kind of learner you are by University and are able to apply specific study techniques in regard to this in order to study your best.

By the time students enroll at the University, they think they know how to study (or have never had to study before). In some rare cases it dawns on the student that he/she actually needs to study or that their study methods are insufficient for the current learning needs. A new and improved way to study will be required.

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Read on for some personalized study tips for visual learners!


A great way to help you stay organized in your studying is to colour code your materials! This can be utilized in many different ways. The first step is to see how you want to split the sections up in order to code them. Do you want to separate important pieces of info by quotes, dates, concepts, and important facts? Or do you want to split it by era? Or do you want to split it even more by focusing on subtopics, like political, economic, and social?

Whatever sections would be most beneficial to you, split them that way. Assign each topic a colour (and make yourself a key so you do not mix up what colour represents which section). And then every time you find another piece of information quickly decide which section it belongs to and colour code it!

Sometimes even analysing a piece of information to decide which section it belongs to can help hurry the studying process along as you think in-depth and use your past learning to influence your future learning. The colour coding can be a gateway to several other studying techniques that can be used together in tandem. This includes using coloured index cards for notes, using coloured highlighters in your book, using coloured tabs in your books, and more.

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For some people, the concept of writing in a book is appalling and for others, it is a way of life and learning. If it does not tear your heart up inside to do it, then write in your book! As you are reading, circle, highlight, underline — do what you need to do! Write yourself little notes as you are reading and discovering what you think is important and what you do not think is important.

Seeing your notes next to the text you are referring to can help you to state a concept more concisely and precisely and remember exactly what you are referring to in your note. Flashcards can be great but because your note and the actual text you are referring to are separate, it can disjoint the two parts of the same information in your mind.

You can make yourself a key so that you know what it means when you underline a piece of information versus circle it and even make a shorthand code for your note taking. This can be helpful because using a code or shorthand keeps your mind awake. You need to be paying attention as you write your notes because if you mess up on the shorthand or code, you will not be able to study the material correctly. It will make you stay vigilant and alert as you are perusing your text and studying.

The margins of a book are also only so big so you need to keep what you are writing down short and to the point lest you write yourself a note that takes up an entire margin. What happens if there are more notes you need to write later down on the page? You have already run out of room. And often having huge blocks of handwritten text next to the text in the books can be hard to look at. Your mind, already tired from studying, will shy away from it and your mind will memorize the shape of the big block of text that you have written rather than the actual content in your big block of notes.

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Another great little technique is at the end of every page, stop and try to figure out what the author’s thesis was for that page. Why did they write it? Why did they think it was necessary? What was the point of this page, and every page? Read deeply and investigate, and then write the thesis sentence at the bottom of the page where you will easily be able to find it. It can help you identify trends or analyse patterns that may have been escaping you until then.

Originally published in Uloop