If you are Struggling with your Studies Then Read This
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your studies or just feel that the information is simply not sinking in then I know how you feel, I felt the same way until I found out my learning style
Out of a class of 30 students at school I was probably just below average. When I stayed on for advanced exams aged from 16 to 18 I was probably among the lowest graded students. The average grades were B and mine were around a D.
I did feel at the time that I was just a bit stupid or perhaps a slow learner. I was only staying on at college until I was old enough to apply to join the police anyway so exams were not that important to me. It wasn’t until a few years later when came to do a part time law degree that I had to pick up the books again. For law there is an incredible amount of reading and case law to learn and be able to recite from memory. You need to know names, dates of the case and which court it was heard in (along with the result).
I actually did well in the degree because I stripped everything down into very small chunks and just wanted to know the facts and why it had been decided that way. Once I knew the how and why I would read the more thorough text books if I wanted to go into more detail.
For the CCNA I made the mistake of trying to drum everything into my head, a bit like a brute force attack. It worked eventually but I’m convinced that if I had taken some time to work out how I could best learn and understand the content I would have saved myself weeks of effort and frustration.
I have probably never met you and probably never will but I can tell you one thing about you and that is you are unique. You have pretty much the same DNA as every other human being but your personality is unique and also your learning style. I’m afraid that schools are all designed to cater for one particular learning style which of course may not be how you best learn.
If you are finding studying hard then it isn’t because you are stupid so don’t bother trying to tell yourself that you are. You have the same amount of brain cells the rest of us have give or take a few million. The problem is that you haven’t worked out how to best use your brain to serve your needs.
How You Learn Best
Schools tend to teach by rote where you are given a set of information either in a book or on a board of some sort and then expected to read it over and over again until it finally sinks into your brain. This style works really well for about thirty percent of the population. If you are not within that thirty percent then I’m afraid that as far as the school is concerned you are educationally subnormal.
Learning styles can be broken into three main areas:
Visual – need to see it done and prefer vivid colours and shapes
Auditory – need to hear how it works so prefer verbal communications or to read out to yourself
Kinaesthetic – need to actually do it to understand so a hands on approach
or a combination of all three and even in a certain order. For example, I need to have something explained to me (preferably with diagrams) and then I would need to do it myself several times over in order for it to sink in. When I worked at Cisco I couldn’t troubleshoot a network without drawing it out on a piece of paper first. Many of my colleagues didn’t need to, they just logged into the equipment and quickly built up a mental picture of the network.
My point here is that if you are trying to learn in the wrong style for you then you are really going to struggle. If you prefer to be a hands on person then start with the labs or do a quick read of the theory and then do the labs. If you are a visual learner then watch the videos of the labs, make some notes and then either read up or do them yourself. If you are more auditory you may want to read the notes out to yourself (voice in your head) and then do them.
Most people go through their entire lives never understanding themselves or what makes them tick. I have taught over one thousand Cisco students and most of them were trying to learn in the wrong way. This is why I have had such massive success with my Cisco CCNA training courses and get better results in two days than most companies get with two week long courses.
Take some time to think about how you have learned something in the past. It could be how to fix a car or build a PC. What did you do naturally? Did you read a book on it, get somebody else to show you and explain it or did you watch a video or look for diagrams? These are all hints as to your preferred learning style.