Whether you are struggling with law school or doing very well, identifying your learning style can only help make your life easier. The pedagogy of law school is vastly different from most students’ undergraduate experiences, and the volume of information students are expected to learn is enormous. You may find learning methods that have worked for you in the past are no longer effective or efficient. If this is the case, consider re-assessing what your ideal learning style is so you can tailor your approach to methods that will work best for you.
What are the Different Types of Learning Styles?
As the name implies, visual learners will learn best by seeing information. They will likely absorb the most information by making a chart, or color coding their notes or outlines. They may find classes where the professor does not use slides to aid the lecture to be more difficult for them, as they may have a harder time learning by simply hearing the information.
Auditory learners learn best by hearing information. They likely prefer listening to lectures or recordings rather than reading, and may even prefer to read information out loud while they study. In class, they likely prefer to spend more time listening than writing.
Reading and Writing
Reading and writing learners learn best through reading and note taking. They are likely to benefit from carefully reading assigned materials, and taking large amounts of notes during lectures. Reading and transcribing their notes is likely to be helpful for them as they study.
A kinesthetic learner will likely benefit most from hands-activity, and from directly trying to do the things they are learning. Sitting still in a lecture, or while reading a long assignment is likely difficult for them. They may often feel like they learn best while they are moving, and need to fidget while sitting still.
How can you Identify your Learning Style?
Think about What has Worked for you in the Past
A great way to start assessing your learning style is to think about what has worked for you in the past. Try to identify certain subjects or courses that you have done well in, and look for patterns and common threads in the ways you approached those classes. For example, if some of your best work was produced in a group or after discussing materials with a group, maybe you should consider working auditory learning methods into your study schedule. If you have produced your best work alone, creating color-coordinated charts or diagrams, perhaps you should consider incorporating visual learning methods into your studies. If you have learned best when the material is linked through an activity, consider incorporating kinesthetic learning methods into your law school studies.
It may also be helpful to consider how you were taught the information, and how difficult or easy it was for you to learn it. If the most effective teachers for you used PowerPoint or other visual aids, that may be a sign that you are a visual learner. In contrast, if you have done better with teachers who purely lecture, you are likely more of an auditory learner.
Consider what definitely does not work for you
If you can’t identify things that have definitely worked for you, it may be easier to identify what definitely has not worked for you. Things that have worked poorly may stand out more in your memory, and be easier to hone in on when trying to identify your learning style. For example, if you participated in a study group that you know did not work for you, auditory learning methods may not be for you. If you had a bad experience trying to make visual aids to study, maybe you are not a visual learner. Considering what you can rule out can make identifying the right methods for you a bit easier.
Speak with your Academic Support Office
Every law school should have an academic support office in some form or another – and you should be sure to use it! These offices and their staff are likely a massively underused resource, but they have a wealth of useful knowledge to offer you. It is more than likely that someone in one of these offices can help you identify your learning style, or at least what methods will work best for you. They may be able to suggest study methods that you never would have thought of on your own that can help you to identify your primary learning style, and adapt it to your work.
Take a Quiz
If you are looking for a quick result, taking an online quiz can give you some suggestions as to what type of learner you are. When searching for these, try to focus on tests from reputable websites so that you can get a reliable result. Try this one to get you started! Remember, an ideal fit for you may be a mix of multiple learning styles. Be sure not to limit yourself to only one style, and be willing to try multiple methods, as the best tools for you may vary depending on the subject or task.
Identifying your learning style can be crucial to your law school success. Even if you aren’t sure which learning style fits you best, there are plenty of resources that can help point you in the right direction.
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