This is my first studying post in a while, and genuinely that is because I have only just got back into the routine of studying (desire popular belief that I study 24/7 with no breaks). After a long summer and the whirlwind of starting university, its only really now in the semester that I am really getting back to work and revising as quite a constant thing. I talked a lot about being a visual learner in my back to school posts and a lot of people requested this post, so I am sorry that I am only just getting round to it now. I think it might help a lot of people though and give you some tips and tricks, especially as the mock exam season is approaching us and people are starting to increase their revision.
Warning: this is going to be a very text heavy post because I have A LOT to say… plus winter lighting is not on my side for photos at the moment!
I am about 80% visual learner and 20% auditory so I have a lot of tips on how to make revision work if you are a visual learner like me. If you are new to properly revising (GCSE students probably) then there are 3 types of revision style- visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learner. Each type has different revision styles that work best and will make their studying the most effective. Theres no point making flashcards if you are an auditory learner for example!
The most obvious revision style for a visual learner are mindmaps and flashcards so I thought I had to mention it, but I won’t go on about it too much as I’m sure everyone knows what a mindmap is and what a flashcard looks like. They are super useful though as if you are a visual learner you need to be writing and actively revising all of the time as opposed to just reading or listening. The only tips I would say are to condense the knowledge, there is no point writing everything onto the mind map as then you might as well look at your class notes… its pointless. Keep it to the crucial points only and the points that you would need to remember if you were answering a question on the topic. Another thing I would say is to go easy on the highlighting. Its so tempting to make your mindmaps so pretty with lots of colour and highlighting, but as a visual learner your eye will go straight to the highlighting and not the actual content. You actually need to remember the content and not just spend hours making it look pretty (although that is a bonus if it is super gorgeous as well- you just have to look at my friend ruby’s notes and I’m envious). I’m definitely a mind map kinda girl because I can fit more information onto them and I think that they are harder to lose and easier to store than hundreds of little flashcards, but its all personal preference.
My biggest tip for any visual learner and definitely the reason I did well at my A levels was by rewriting my work over and over again, which is probably the most boring task ever but one that definitely works (nobody ever said revision will be fun). Remember look cover write check that you used to have to do at primary school for spelling? Well that still applies and you won’t learn something by just writing it down once in a lesson and never looking at it again. The people who look like they have their shit together with a little folder of perfect mindmaps are usually the people who know nothing because they spend hours making the mind map and then never go back over it, which is the complete opposite of what you need to do. It might seem pointless at the time but you need to write your notes OVER AND OVER AGAIN and make sure you are rewriting them in the same style too (like each point in the same place on the page) as the repetition will really help you to learn. In order to do this method I use blurting, which I’m sure you will have heard me mention before but it is definitely what I would recommend to anyone who is also a visual learner. This is where you read a piece of work, turn it over and then write down as much as you can remember within a certain time (I would say about 5 minutes). Then you go back to the original piece of work and, using a different coloured pen, write down everything that you have missed. Then over the course of a few weeks or even months you would do this as many times as possible until there is no coloured pen on your paper anymore.
I got to a point with sociology where I knew not only everything on my mindmaps but also where abouts on the mind map the point was located. This is super useful in the exam as I had made and memorised a mindmap for each potential essay question, so whichever question came up I could shut my eyes and go around the mind map in my head, and I knew all of the points that I needed to talk about in my essay. It was so useful and saved so much time when you are under pressure in the exam, because you basically had lots of memorised essay plans! You might be single handedly destroying the amazon rainforest with the amount of scrap paper that you need to get through, but if it gets you the grades then you need to be a little bit selfish for a while. However, that being said one of the best things that I have ever bought is a giant whiteboard for my room where I did all of my blurting on and also used it to draw all of my economics diagrams. That meant I just had the master copy of the mindmap on paper and the rest was all on the whiteboard. It was around £25 from amazon but it was such a fab way to revise and I still use it now.
Quizlet is an amazing free service which is so useful for memorising the content for your subjects. People assume that it is only useful for the languages but it was such a lifesaver for case study based subjects too (like sociology and geography) where you needed to remember huge amounts of data on a very specific topic. I spent an hour or so logging them all into the system, which is revision in itself because you are writing them down, and then you can test yourself anywhere and everywhere (you don’t even need wifi). I used to do it on the bus or when I needed to revise but equally was running out of motivation. It was a really useful thing to do at the beginning of the day too in order to refresh your memory of yesterdays revision and get into the focused mindset whilst not jumping straight in to full blown revision. This is not sponsored by them (just thought to say that because I know a lot of influencers have been working with them recently) but it is genuinely such a useful app that I have been using since my French GCSE. I would 100% recommend it so that you can revise anywhere and learn very specific facts.
Another underused resource for visual learners in my opinion are videos, but again it depends on what subjects you are taking. Being a visual learner means that I find watching something very useful, so being able to watch a video and make notes on it really helps my understanding. It is also super useful for when you don’t understand how a specific teacher has explained a concept, so you can go onto youtube and watch another way of explaining it to help you understand further. So many teachers post videos, the economics ones especially were an absolute lifesaver doing my A levels and they really helped me deepen my understanding and improve my essay writing technique last year. Now at university I have lecture capture where they record all of the lectures, which is so unbelievably useful because you can watch it back word for word and make more in depth notes (especially useful for if you have zoned out in a 9am)… I love it and I don’t know why they don’t have it at A level standard!
I really hope that this post was useful, and that I have given some techniques that you can try in the run up to mock exams. Let me know if you have any more tips or whether you have tried any of these tips, as always I would love to hear from you. After blogmas I am going to focus a lot more on studying content because I have neglected it recently, so if you have anything specific you want me to cover then please let me know. Thank you!