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How to Study

How to Study


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Published by Marco
It helped me to discover my personal learning style. What suits to you?

Title:How To Study

Author: Gail Wood
2000, Second Edition
PD: I´m still reading it =p
It helped me to discover my personal learning style. What suits to you?

Title:How To Study

Author: Gail Wood
2000, Second Edition
PD: I´m still reading it =p

More info:

Published by: Marco on Jan 27, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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As you study, your mind
naturally creates images of
what you’re learning, and
puts what you’re hearing or
seeing into some kind of
order. Information makes
more sense to us when
both the pictures in our
mind and the sequence of
events are clear. Some of us
learn by using lots of
images. And some of us are
strong sequential learners.
This chapter will show you
how to build on both

Think ofa time when you and a friend

were discussing a movie you both saw.You might have said

something like,“Did you seethe timehe walked down the stairs

and came to a mirror?”Maybe your friend answered,“Do you mean the

time he saw the pianist?”Wait a minute:Can you see a time? Ofcourse

not;an image is one thing and the order ofthings is something else.But

there is a connection.A movie is a set ofmoving pictures in a certain

order.You make sense ofa movie when you get involved with pictures,



andfollow the order ofevents.Similarly,you make sense ofwhat you’re

studying ifyou can make an image ofit and put it in order.

Understanding imagery and order makes what you’re studying

clearer to you.Even figuring out a math problem is something you do in

different ways.The problem “5 x 2”has a lot more meaning ifyou “see”

five branches ofa pear tree with two pears on each branch.You use order

in solving that same problem by putting (“seeing”) the two groups offive

together to make ten.

You may be someone who thinks best by putting things in order (a

sequential thinker),or by using images (a global thinker).But even if

those aren’t your strengths,almost everything you study requires some

images and someorder,and you’ll be a better learner by strengthening

these styles.



The concrete world is made up ofimages.But not everyone can use their

senses to “see”images in a book or on a tape.To know ifyou’re really

understanding the imagery ofwhat you’re reading or listening to,draw a

map or a picture ofwhat you see or hear.Is your image complete? Ifit’s

vague or missing something,you may need more information.Ifso,go

back to the text or tape again.


Order is the result ofconnections;ifyou discover connections between

different events or facts,you’ll most likely be able to put them in some

sort oforder.To know ifyou’re understanding the order ofwhat you’re

reading or listening to,make a list ofevents and number them in the

order they occur.Or make a timeline:draw a line and write in or draw

events in the order they occur.Ifyou need more information to complete

your list or timeline,review the text or audiotape.


Seeing Images vs. Seeing Order

Lilly and Amelia work together as paralegals. They just started a

pre-law program at their local college.

In her office cubicle, Lilly has her files arranged around her

in open wire baskets of different colors. Lilly is an imagethinker;

she can only learn something if she can picture it in her head. She

associates images with other images in a comprehensive way

that doesn’t follow a specific order. This way of thinking is also

called global thinking. When writing a paper, Lilly begins by

drawing a picture of what she wants to say or imagining the pic-

ture in her head. Lilly needs to hold on to the images in her head

that produce her ideas.

Amelia’s files are kept in drawers in both alphabetical and

numerical order. Amelia can only learn something effectively if

she can understand an order, or sequence, to it. Amelia is a

sequential learner. She begins her paper by writing an outline.

She might change the outline somewhat as the paper progress-

es, but she needs to work with her sense of order.

If Lilly were required to make an outline, and Amelia to

draw a picture, they probably would not get as much out of writ-

ing the paper as if their styles were reversed.





How can you tell ifyou think best by imagining things in pictures?

Answer the following questions and find out.

•Do you remember people’s faces well?
•Ifyou leave bills or receipts in different places,do you usually

remember where they are?
•When watching a sports event,do you usually see in your head

what might happen next?

Find Out!



•Do you usually like to fuss with the way something is arranged,

such as furniture or flowers?
•Are you apt to notice ifa picture is not hung straight?

Ifyou answered yes to at least three ofthe above,you probably think

in images.You learn more powerfully by the pictures you see in your



How can you tell ifyou think best by putting an order to things? Answer

the following questions and find out:

•Is it easy for you to be on time for an appointment?
•Do you like to do crossword puzzles?
•Do your friends or family tell you you’re good at filling out

•Do you file bills or receipts you want to save in a certain order?
•Does your watch have the actual time?

Ifyou answered yes to at least three ofthe above,you’re probably a

strong sequential thinker.You just naturally seem to know the order of


Or,maybe in some ways you learn sequentially,and in other ways

you learn globally,with images.Only you learn likeyou.


Lilly and Amelia like studying together.Lilly relates what she’s studying

to what she already knows in very broad ways,often in ways that would

not occur to Amelia.Lilly is what’s called a global thinker.

When Lilly is trying to understand a text that focuses on order,she

uses imagery to help her understand the order ofevents.History class

was a challenge for her.“All those dates!”she exclaimed.“They don’t

make sense to me.”She focused on the pictures that came to mind first.

Then,she put the pictures in an order,like making a cartoon.She

associated dates with the pictures.She used imagery to understand the

order ofevents.

Find Out!



Here are some tips to help you ifyou learn best by thinking in


To make the most ofreading:Take notes by drawing pictures

that come to mind or describing the pictures in your head into a

tape recorder.
To make the most ofwriting:Describe the pictures in your head

on paper or into a recorder,and then write what you play back.


Amelia sees connections in an order that might be based on time or

importance.In either case,she naturally thinks in an orderly way.Amelia

is what’s called a sequential thinker.She notes events and puts them in a

sequence to understand them.

When Amelia is trying to understand a text that focuses on imagery,

she uses her sense oforder.Her poetry class was a challenge—all those

descriptions! She turned her reading into a kind ofdetective story,asking

herself:“What happened first? Then what happened? What next? What

led up to the ending?”It was her sense ofsequence that allowed her to

create pictures in her head ofwhat happened.

Ifyou learn best by thinking in order:

To make the most ofreading:Write and re-write your notes in

list or outline form,putting details under major topic headings.If

you’re using a tape recorder,read your list into it.As you play it

back,listen to any changes you want to make so that the order is

clearer or stronger for you.
To make the most ofwriting:List or outline what you want to

say.Your outline might be a series ofquestions.Ifso,put similar

questions together to form categories.Ifyou’re using a tape

recorder to get started,read your questions into it,play it back

and re-record any changes that make the order clearer to you.





There are two general ways to make sense ofwhat you’re studying:

1.Understand the imagery ofwhat you’ve read or heard.Make pictures

in your head.Go back to the text for information to make the

pictures clearer.
2.Understand the order in what you’ve read or heard.Number events

or make a timeline that shows you the order ofevents.

Ifyou’re a global thinker,you think more in pictures and make connec-

tions that don’t necessarily follow a certain order.Ifyou’re a sequential

thinker,your connections are based on time or importance.

Practice Tips

Use imagery and order the next time you study.After you read,draw

what pictures come to mind.Then,go back and number events as they

occur—on the text,ifit’s yours,in your notebook ifit’s not.Make a

timeline ofthe events.Go back to the text for any information you need

to make your picture and timeline clearer.


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