We’ve all heard of “body type.” You (hopefully) know your blood type. But what’s your study type? Humans are naturally habit-forming, and we all gravitate toward certain behavioral patterns. At West Coast University, we’re focused on educating the next generation of nurses, business minds, and administrators, and we’re not just interested in what you study, but how.
Of course, each type has its pros and cons (we’ve included a few to ponder). Whether your habits involve methodical practice, short bursts of learning, or creative use of material delivery (e.g., audio textbooks), you’ve got your go-tos. Here are the 5 study types we identified. Which one sounds like you?
1. The Multitasker
If your modus operandi is “divide myself and conquer,” this is you. You’re not one to sit down with one subject for any length of time; instead, you’ll topic-hop from subject to subject, taking “breaks” to make phone calls, do some cleaning, or return emails, and what have you. This type is actually a misnomer, because “multitasking” is a myth. No matter. You’re all about mixing and matching when it comes to productive work. You don’t sit down for an entree when you study – you order tapas!
- Pros: Studying multiple topics in one session may help you intuit connections between topics you might not notice when you take a more myopic approach.
- Pitfalls: While topic-hopping might feel efficient, it can actually cost you time and energy since you have to reacclimate every time you swap subjects.
2. The Crammer
You know who you are. Here it is, the night before the big exam, and you’ve got to prioritize study over sleep. (And we all know sleep is important.) Preparation can wait… until it can’t. You load up on your favorite source of caffeine and settle in for a long night, only bathroom breaks allowed. You’ve got two tests to pass: the one you’ve got looming tomorrow, and the stress test. This isn’t always all bad – everyone crams sometimes, and some of us do our best work under deadline.
- Pros: Recency of learning can enhance short-term recall.
- Pitfalls: Stress and sleep deprivation are proven to negatively affect test performance.
3. The Incubator
You’re the opposite of The Crammer. You prefer to let your material gestate. You study in installments. You’re methodical about setting aside time to hit the books, and you keep to your schedule. You believe pacing yourself is better than last-minute panic. You’re on to something, because incremental study helps build the necessary connections in your neurons to understand concepts in a larger context, especially when you revisit and reinforce.
- Pros: Research supports that spacing out your study improves long-term memory. In other words, you’ll hold on to the material much better than cramming.
- Pitfalls: Taking a slower approach makes you run the risk of falling behind. Don’t mistake procrastination for pacing (though there is such a thing as positive procrastination).
4. The Study-Group Groupie
If you thrive on groupthink and lively, participatory learning, this is you. You love hearing others’ takes on the material and sharing your own. Everyone brings their own tips, tricks and flashcards to the table. Your study group members keep you engaged, and they make study more experiential and immersive. What can you say, you’re a people person!
- Pros: Studying with others helps hold you to account, and keep a set schedule
- Pitfalls: It’s easy to get distracted and do more socializing than studying
5. The Listen-and-Learner
You simply absorb information better by ear. You’re not alone. Even if you don’t have a learning disability like dyslexia, some people just profit from adding listening to their info intake. This can present a challenge in an education environment where learning from the page has become standard. There are solutions so you can ingest your material through audio: you can read aloud to yourself, invest in audio textbooks, or even use an app to convert text to sound. Heck, one study even showed that you literally learn better by ear, singular: your right ear.
- Pros: Listening activates the emotional part of the brain, which can allow for greater enjoyment and engagement with material.
- Pitfalls: Material isn’t always available in audio format, and research says reading is better for retention.
Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
Did you find yourself? Identifying with a type is fun and fulfilling, but if we may: Consider trying on another study type for size. If you typically study in isolation, try joining a study group. Crammers: buy an egg timer and test drive spaced-out study. While you might be set in your ways, some other habits might help you kickstart your next session, revitalize your interest in a topic, and keep your learning diet diverse.
Keep following our blog for more tips and advice on how to maintain healthy study habits.
WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.