With the new school year quickly approaching (or perhaps, for your early-starters, already under way), it’s time to get ready for a successful semester. And while you may be revamping your wardrobe for fall, it’s equally important to freshen up your study skills, too.

Have you ever noticed that your study habits are different than those of your friends? Or how you seem to learn faster in certain classes? Some people are quick to blame the professor or subject for their difficulties, but that isn’t always the cause. One thing that many people seem to overlook is their learning type.

The 3 Main Learning Types

Now, you may be wondering what a learning type is and how to find yours. There are three different learning types: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. You can be a combination of learning types, but most people have one type that dominates.

1. Visual learners learn best by seeing. If you seem to easily retain information from pictures, graphs, and videos, you are likely a visual learner.

2. Auditory learners learn best by hearing. If you seem to remember things by hearing them, whether listening to a lecture or repeating information out loud, then you are likely an auditory learner.

3. Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. If you seem to learn best by working with your hands or testing out what you are shown, you are likely a kinesthetic learner.

So now that you know your personal learning style, the trick is to find out how to use your new-found knowledge to help you in your classes.

Tips for Visual Learners

1. Pay attention! For visual learners, this is very important (and always respectful). If your professr uses a PowerPoint, observe the pictures they might include and their significance.

2. Take notes by drawing graphs and connecting ideas instead of just copying down a list. This way, your brain will easily connect the different concepts. You can even draw pictures if you find that works better for you.

3. Color code your notes and/or your note cards. This will aid your brain in keeping all of the information separate. You can code by chapter, type of information, or any way that helps you.

4. Download the notes or presentations if your professor makes them available. This way, you can go back over them before an exam and quickly re-read to retain the info.

Tips for Auditory Learners

1. Again, pay attention! If you aren’t listening while the lecture is happening, then as an auditory learner, you’re missing out on the easiest way for you to learn without having to make up for it later on.

2. If you think it would help and you obtain permission from the professor, you can record the lecture for future listening.

3. If you find that taking notes distracts you from listening, ask a friend if you can borrow their notes OR directly after the lecture, write down everything you remember.

Tips for Kinesthetic Learners

1. Guess what the first point is once again? You’ve got it, pay attention! For kinesthetic learners, it’s extremely important that you take notes either by writing or typing, in order to actively engage with information as you receive it.

2. Rewrite notes and reread information. If possible, translate the information into examples. This is something that can help kinesthetic learners retain what they need to know.

3. Visualize! One method that can help kinesthetic learners is to visualize yourself picking up information and putting it into a category. This may sound silly, but in this way you’re “doing” something without actually physically doing it.

4. Take advantage of labs and other class activities. These moments are when you’re at your prime for learning. Concentrate on what you’re learning from the experience and pay close attention to the process that you go through.