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Preparing Your Mind

As you may know, there are three main learning types: auditory; visual; kinesthetic.  How you learn can greatly influence how well you do in school, especially at the graduate level where you're flooded with information that you need to remember, both for the finals and for life after school.  Absorbing that information and retaining it can be extremely difficult if you don't understand how you learn.  Here's a simple quiz that will tell which of the three main types you are: What's Your Learning Style?.

The learning styles can get more in-depth than the main three, however, as seen in this article by Richard M. Felder & Barbara A. Soloman: Learning Styles and Strategies.  In the article, they discuss the differences in learning types on four different scales:

The article discusses each end of the different spectrum and gives advice on how to best learn effectively dependent upon which end of the spectrum you favor.  They have also created a test to determine where you fall in each category: Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire.  Their questionnaire plots you in the four categories on a numbered scale, which can assist you in determining how evenly balanced you are or how much you favor one style over the other.

In practical application, the Law Library has numerous tools available to assist students in their study efforts.  These tools cover all aspects of learning.  We have audio materials, such as the Sum & Substance series, that comprise several hours of audible explanation of various topics of law.  We have more hands-on materials, such as the Law in a Flash series of flashcards covering all major areas of law, as well as some charts for more complicated areas of law.  Of course, we also have numerous outlines and other written study aids for the reading aspect of learning.  

In addition, I advise students who learn better kinesthetically or visually to write out their outlines by hand and to draw up charts and graphs to help them visualize how the material for a particular class fits together.  The charts help especially in classes where there are multiple sequences of events or rules that trigger a particular line of thinking or analysis, such as civil procedure, evidence, or constitutional law.

Above all else, remember that every person has a unique learning style, specific to them.  Once you figure out yours, you will be able to better understand how you learn and how you need to format your studying and class time to better assist the intake of knowledge.

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