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Effective learning

Effective learning

Ibrahim Ilyas


So now you're well into your studies; you’ve experienced what it’s like to read three chapters for one lecture and to examine a range of sources for a seminar – this is especially the case for law students in their penultimate and final years. But in the run-up to assessments, fed up of reckless highlighting, you’re wondering: how do I actually revise? Is there a way that actually works? Well, do not fear. I’m here to give you some advice on how you can overcome the wonders of the world of revision during an undergraduate degree course.

Firstly, it's imperative that you work out what type of learner you are. If you prefer posters and colours, you can consider yourself to be a visual learner like myself. If you’re the sort of student that prefers sound, you’re most likely an auditory learner. In addition, if you like to move around and ‘act it out’ then it’s highly probable that you’re a kinaesthetic learner. You may be familiar with these styles, being taught at college and/or your first year of university. Each type of learning will be examined in turn. 

Visual learning

  • Poster – use A3 sheets of paper and colour to organise important information in a creative way. You could do a bubble diagram or use a list; the way in which you create your posters is completely down to how creative and innovative you can be! Posters could then be stuck on your bedroom wall so it’s literally ‘in your face’ every day. This may be very helpful when in an exam and you are struggling to remember that key point/example!
  • Revision cards – they not only help with written exams, but can help with other forms of examination such as advocacy assessments, or bail applications – those who study law will understand the need for prompts during these types of oral assessments. 
  • Past papers – this method of effective visual learning is obvious as practice really does make perfect. Bug your tutors and ask if they can give feedback on completed answers – the more practice the better! It also helps with nerves during exam periods; you will feel much more comfortable sitting an exam that you have practiced many times. 
  • Study groups – this can be effective if you enjoy working in groups as it allows you to share your ideas with others and will perhaps teach you something you overlooked or never knew. Moreover, even for visual learners, seeing the way in which other students articulate a key point may help with understanding and memorising important bits of information. 

Auditory learning

  • Study with a peer – talk about the information and share your knowledge whilst emphasising the use of your voice.
  • Loud recitation – especially helpful when it comes to scripts/speeches, this strategy provides for you to hear yourself thereby helping to cement all those key points/examples.
  • Record classes – this is the most obvious strategy that an auditory learner may use and is helpful with revisiting lectures/seminars through listening to them again.
  • Create personal recordings – craft your own recordings on different topics/subjects and listen to them when necessary.

Kinaesthetic learning

  • ‘Walk it out’ – whilst reading out information, walk around and use gestures if helpful.
  • Use different places – try not to stick to one place when revising, keep moving and changing your surroundings. This may help with understanding different pieces of information in different environments.
  • Write it down – use the power of the pen! Writing out information in your own preferred form can assist in organising and memorising key points and examples.
  • Whiteboard – writing out brief key points on a whiteboard can help you memorise information, I’ve tried this method myself and it certainly works!

The above is a list of the main strategies for each respective type of learning although there certainly are many other methods that would supplement the core revision strategies. After considering which category you fit in best, it’s time to get down to trying out the various methods and see what works for you. 

A degree is not a death trap; it seeks to bring out the best in you academically and as a person. There is no doubt that the skills you will learn in university will help in general life, not just in a career in your chosen field. Finally, keep calm and carry on!