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The Theory of Multiple Intelligences And How YOU Could Use It to Make Studying Easier & Enjoyable

Ever notice that you can memorize words faster than you can calculate a string of numbers? Ever realize that your brain soaks up more information when you act a situation out rather than simply reading about it? Ever felt that it’s more comfortable for you to be alone, daydream and/or contemplate about your personal life, rather than being surrounded by many people whose emotions and thoughts are often too difficult for you to decipher? Well, the explanation to all the above questions, according to Harvard psychologist and professor, Howard Gardner, in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, lies in the fact that there are – as the title would suggest – different types of intelligence, with a specific type or types likely to be more prominent in a certain individual. For example, you can be stronger in arts and craft, which usually equates to you being more interested as well as motivated when it comes to the subject, than music and math. As such, Gardner’s theory asserts that all people have all eight of the types of intelligence he had proposed in his book, with educators suggesting that you should try to develop more than one of your innate intelligences (and, thereby, further improve your talents and motivations in different areas) to make studying interesting as well as more effective by allowing you to retain information for longer periods of time. Below are a summarized description of each type of intelligence and their respective, suggested studying methods, which you could mix-and-match to create your own custom studying routine that utilizes more than one of your most prominent intelligences: 

1. VErbal-linguistic

This type refers to people who are good with words, allowing them to better analyze and memorize information that involves language, both written and spoken. People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence often enjoy and/or are skilled in reading, writing, giving speeches, and telling jokes and stories. 

Studying Tips:

  • In class, take notes and highlight them in different colors depending on what category they belong to, for example, whether they are nouns, verbs, or adjectives
  • Rewrite/summarize the notes you’ve taken in class
  • Read your notes aloud to yourself or to your classmates
  • Record yourself reading your notes then listen to the recording during your free time
  • Write a story out of the information
  • Prepare questions and answers out of what you’ve learned then use them to create crossword puzzles through the help of a website or app

2. logical-mathematical

A high capacity for this type of intelligence is associated with excellent analytical, problem-solving, and conceptual thinking skills, especially when it comes to numbers or strategy. 

Study Tips:

  • Compare and contrast ideas, such as WWI vs. WWII for history and DNA translation vs. transcription for biology
  • Create a timeline out of your notes
  • Put information into categories 
  • Find patterns and connections between different concepts/ideas 
  • Draw maps, graphs, or Venn diagrams 

3. visual-spatial

This type of intelligence suggests strong (three-dimensional) visualization skills as well as a good sense of direction, making it easier to understand spatial or visual information such as maps, charts, pictures, and videos.  

Studying Tips:

  • Highlight your notes in different colors depending on which category they fall under, for example, highlight anything related to the Renaissance in yellow and those related to Impressionism in blue
  • Present information using maps, charts, or graphs
  • Illustrate written information, for example, draw caricatures next to a list of names or sketch what you have observed during each step of a scientific experiment 

4. bodily-kinesthetic

As its name would suggest, this type of intelligence refers to the usage of your own body and/or body movements to create objects, solve problems, and express information. People with a high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence may also have good body control and coordination. 

Study Tips:

  • Muscle memory; rewrite your notes by hand to help you memorize better
  • Create models to illustrate concepts, ideas, or situations
  • Do a light exercise while you study
  • Redo a science experiment, act out a scene from a literary work, or reenact important historical moments as described in your textbook

5. musical

Those with a high capacity for musical intelligence are able to learn different sounds as well as to think in various rhythmic patterns. 

Study Tips:

  • Create new lyrics to a catchy tune, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or even to your favorite song by including the terms and phrases that you’re trying to remember 
  • Listen to instrumental music while you study
  • Use different tones and/or accents while reading notes to differentiate between concepts

6. interpersonal

This type of intelligence refers to those people that are good at interacting with as well as in understanding other people’s emotions, intentions, and motivations. 

Studying Tips:

  • Find the relationships between concepts/ideas to draw a concept map
  • Form a study group and hold open discussions about what you’ve learned that day
  • Tutor a classmate or group of classmates
  • Share information through a group chat or participate in an online discussion forum
  • Ask questions to someone related to your field of study, for example, send an inquiring email to an experienced scriptwriter about the writing, editing, and subsequent production process of a film screenplay

7. intrapersonal

As opposed to interpersonal, this type of intelligence refers to those that are good at understanding their own desires, motivations, and emotional states. People with high intrapersonal intelligence prefer to work independently where there is ample room for self-reflection, during which they can accurately assess their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Studying Tips:

  • Make a detailed personal studying plan
  • Study in a quiet environment
  • Jot down the mental imagery evoked by a particular piece of information
  • Create concept maps
  • Put yourself in the shoes of historical figures then write down any thoughts and feelings that you may have imagined 

8. naturalistic

People with a high capacity for this type of intelligence care for and are appropriately interested in the natural world; they tend to be particularly sensitive to changes in their environment.  

Studying Tips:

  • Find connections between the information you’ve learned and the natural world
  • Find the relationships between different concepts/ideas to create a concept map
  • Study outdoors, such as in a park or even in your own backyard

References:

An aspiring writer and a nerd in almost every sense of the word, with a deep interest in books, film, anime, manga, and games.
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