Visual learners are students who benefit from study aids such as charts, graphs, or pictures. Visual learners are able to absorb information by visualizing what they are studying through pictures, colors, or even writing.
If you are not sure whether you learn better by seeing or hearing, think about the last time you had a class lecture. Were you able to retain the information just by listening/recording or did you take notes? If you were one of the students in class taking notes, you are most likely a visual learner.
Whether it’s your notes, your textbook, or a printout of an article, you should keep some highlighters handy to identify key information that helps you study. The change of color will help grab your attention when you are reviewing your notes or in the middle of studying. Now that your brain has identified this as important information, you’re more likely to retain those details when it comes to testing time.
Most people generally use the traditional neon yellow for highlighting but it might be good to try out a few different colors to see what grabs your attention most. Some studies show that yellow is easier for your eyes to miss if you are skimming over text quickly, or just too much strain to try and read. Which is why students tend to use green, blue, and other colors.
Outline your notes
Many visual learners compile an outline with a primary subject with headings and sub-headings to break down the material. This helps identify when a new subject starts and keeps your notes in order. Focus on keywords and short phrases to help you narrow down your outline so you know what to reference when you are studying later.
Also, make sure you clearly separate your subjects from each other, don’t mix your science notes in with your history notes, and so on. Make sure each class has its own separate section of your notebook, binder, word document, or whatever you use to help keep you organized.
Make pictures to reference material
It can’t hurt to draw some charts or pictures that you can look at for reference. It might be easier for a visual learner to draw on a sketch of the original 13 colonies than trying to remember from a list. Even if you are not artistically inclined, the drawing process will help you retain the information and draw on it later.
Draw Concept or Process Maps
Concept and process maps are visual aids that can help you understand something you have learned. You might find this beneficial in a lot of science or engineering related classes, but it could be applied to other fields as well.
If your science professor is talking about photosynthesis, drawing the process out might help you remember what photosynthesis actually is, rather than trying to read over all those Latin words! Process and concept maps aren’t works of art, they’re just another tool that a visual learner can use to put things together to draw on.
Find quiet study time
Visual learners tend to need quiet time or space when it comes to studying. If you were a learner who could absorb the information by hearing or reading it, then group discussion might help you. So it makes more sense to try and find a quiet area where you are able to think the material through and really understand what’s in front of you.
Not all of these tips will work in every situation, but if you are having some challenges with a class, give them a try. Create a system that works best for you and go with it. In the end, all that matters is that you are able to remember information when the time comes.
After all, no one is going to grade you on your notes!