Ever find yourself zoning out at lectures but notice you have laser-sharp focus while reading? That could be a sign being a visual learner. Knowing your learning styles is extremely important in studying effectively. Here are some learning styles, their indicators and how you can best tailor your law revision accordingly.
Visual learners learn best by internalising concepts and principles when reading them. They prefer reading or seeing compared to listening. The following are indicators of a potential visual learner:
You read and understand concepts and principles quickly
You prefer visual cues and diagrams such as flowcharts and maps
You need to refer to actual sources rather than hear it from someone
How to tailor your revision:
Read the lecture slides and notes after lectures to consolidate your learning
Map all key legal principles, cases and arguments out on flowcharts, maps and colourful diagrams help you memorise terms and information
Always innovate on ways to structure your notes – be creative.
Audio learners learn best by listening to conversations with peers, at lectures or with podcasts. They prefer listening rather than talking it out or visualising things. These are indicators of audio learners:
You have a preference for listening to podcasts, lectures, the radio or the news
You find it difficult to read excessively long passages
How to tailor your revision:
Attend lectures and replay the recorded lectures
Use the ‘read aloud’ function on your laptop for excessively long readings which you may struggle to read
Record your notes in audio bits to allow memorisation of key legal principles, cases and arguments
Talk out and record past-year examination questions and listen to yourself. In particular, listen to how you structure your answer and how many points you have hit correctly. Repeat this cycle until you get the question right and you feel confident.
Do you know enough legal terms to do well in your law degree? Take our quiz to find out!
Verbal learners are distinguished from audio learners because verbal learners internalise through talking out legal precepts while audio learners listen. These are the indicators:
You prefer talking out what legal precepts mean and how they can be applied
you are an extrovert (although some introverts may also favour this style of learning)
You find it second nature to participate in seminars and engage with lively discussion
How to tailor your revision:
Have a study buddy or buddies – always ensure you talk through the legal precepts and past year examination questions as you learn more through bouncing off ideas
Have regular consultations with your tutors – these conversations will further highlight your blind spots and lacunae, whilst stimulating your learning and growth in that particular area of law
The logical learner learns through diagrams and empirical analysis. You’re more likely to use this style of learning if:
You recognise patterns and connections between content easily
You are adept at maths and can carry out impressive calculations in your head
You adopt a systematic approach to problem-solving
You’re a fan of spreadsheets and budgeting
How to tailor your law revision:
Create lists and use statistics to aid your memorisation
Try to look at the bigger picture in parallel with the small details
Set yourself small goals to keep your revision on track
kinaesthetic learners digest information though drawing diagrams and holding onto something real like a textbook.
You’re likely to use this method if:
You’re naturally active or good at something which requires muscle memory, such as playing an instrument
You’re constantly fidgeting or your knee is always bouncing
you gesticulate frequently while talking
How to tailor your revision
Find another kinaesthetic law student to carry out role-plays of cases you’re trying to learn
Sick a large sheet of paper on the wall and populate it with post-it notes featuring key information you want to memorise
Mime or create actions for certain pieces of information to boost your memory
Write down key points on flashcards and go for a walk picking a random one out every now again to read
Hybrid (a Mixture of More Than One)
More often than not, we may find we are shades of visual and audio, or sometimes, both. This is normal but we need to ensure, in such circumstances, the mode of learning suits us best. This affects how we approach our readings, tutorials and exam revision.
Other considerations include whether we are solitary or interpersonal learners. A solitary learner is a lone wolf and one who prefers and learns more effectively by internalising precepts in her own space.
The key is to avoid being too firm when categorising yourself because sometimes, we might think we are interpersonal learners but derive nothing from group discussions. So identify your learning style but acknowledge the possibility of change.
Lastly, think about whether you are better studying at home or you prefer the confines of the library. The environment plays a vital role in productivity in three ways:
It provides a stimulus for learning
Surrounded by people at the library, you are spurred on study harder
It’s important to be comfortable when you are working long hours
Ultimately, law school not only teaches you about learning but also learning about learning. Sun Tzu, in the ‘Art of War’, once said “know thyself and win all battles.” Similarly, it’s really important to know which learning style suits you best to ensure you maximise the hours spent toiling away.
Remember also that it is absolutely fine to be unique from your friends and fellow students in terms of learning style. There is merit to charting your own course in the course of law revision.