Students argue effectiveness of new AudioLearn supplements

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Students who learn best by listening, hear this: AudioLearn tape recordings are available to aid the learning process. AudioLearn is a company with an alternative to textbooks, offering tapes for students preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), the Dental Admission Test (DAT), and others.

Though the prospect of exchanging reading and copying notes for a sit-back-and-listen approach to learning may sound enticing, it may not be the best method for all students.

Senior pharmacy major Sara Osborne said although she won’t have to take the PCAT, the tapes would not have been helpful for her studying anyway.

“I’m a visual person, so I learn by watching the professor put notes on the overhead and by taking notes and rewriting notes,” she said

“It doesn’t help as much for me to hear things, I have to write them.”

A better study aid for Osborne would include more hands-on and visual elements.

“For me a more appropriate tool would be a computer program where I could see (the information),” she said.

AudioLearn’s promise of being like a teacher in the comfort of your own home may not be exactly what Osborne is after.

“For me, listening to it, I wouldn’t get it. If I just sat and listened in class I wouldn’t understand,” she said.

Such a comparison may be more attractive to sophomore chemistry major Darci Nelson who plans to take the MCAT next year. She enjoys listening as a way to learn.

“My studying is pretty much just going to my classes,” she said.

“I prefer just listening to the professors and then I read the book a little, about two hours a week.”

However, Nelson said she does take notes in class and wouldn’t call herself an audio learner.

“I consider myself a visual and practical learner. I learn by doing and seeing,” she said.

While AudioLearn reports they have hit just the right balance between serious academic learning and the informality of a conversation with your best-loved teacher, Nelson doesn’t think the tapes would be gripping study helpers.

“They might help to an extent, but I’d probably get bored and just turn them off.”

That is, if they ever got turned on. Nelson has another factor holding her back from investing in AudioLearn tapes:

“I don’t have a tape player,” she said.

More information about AudioLearn is available from the Web site,