Adapt Your Studying Techniques to Your Learning Style

Know and Use Your Personal Learning Style

Students studying textbooks

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All students learn through a combination of seeing, hearing, and experiencing. However, for most students, one learning style stands out. Research has shown that students who study in a way that supports their learning style can perform better on tests andĀ improve their grades.

For example, visual learners sometimes struggle during essay exams because they can't recall test material that was presented orally during class. However, if the visual learner uses a visual aid when studying, like a colorful outline of test materials, he or she may retain more information. Read on to discover the characteristics of and ideal learning strategies for each learning style.

Visual Learner Characteristics

Visual learners are those who learn through seeing. Visual learners typically share the following characteristics:

  • Good at spelling, but forgets first names
  • Find quiet study time beneficial
  • Enjoy colors and fashion
  • Dream in color
  • Understand visual elements and charts
  • Able to learn sign language easily

Learning Suggestions for Visual Learners

  • Draw a map of events in history or draw scientific process.
  • Make outlines of reading assignments.
  • Copy what's on the board.
  • Diagram sentences.
  • Use flashcards.
  • Take notes and make lists.
  • Watch videos.
  • Mark up your notes with highlighters, underlines, and color coding.

Test Types for Visual Learners

  • Best test type: Diagram activities, map reading, essay tests, demonstrating a process.
  • Worst test type: Listening tests

Auditory Learner Characteristics

Auditory learners are those who learn best through hearing. They typically share the following characteristics:

  • Like to read out loud
  • Unafraid to speak up in class
  • Good at giving explanations and oral reports
  • Remember names
  • Notice sound effects in movies
  • Enjoy music
  • Able to follow spoken directions
  • Struggle to stay quiet for long periods of time
  • Focused in study groups

Learning Suggestions for Auditory Learners

  • Use word association to remember facts
  • Record lectures
  • Watch videos
  • Repeat facts with eyes closed
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Use audio for language practice
  • Read your notes out loud after writing them

Test Types for Auditory Learners

  • Best test type: Oral exams and writing responses to lectures.
  • Worst test type: Reading passages and writing answers in a timed test.

Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics

Kinesthetic learners are those who learn through hands-on experience. Kinesthetic learners typically share the following characteristics:

  • Good at sports
  • Can't sit still for long
  • May have sloppy handwriting.
  • Learn well through lab and modeling activities
  • Study with loud music
  • Enjoy adventure books and movies
  • Fidgety during lectures

Learning Suggestions for Kinesthetic Learners

  • Study in short blocks
  • Take lab-based classes
  • Act out your study notes
  • Take field trips to reinforce knowledge
  • Study in groups
  • Use flashcards and memory games

Test Types for Auditory Learners

  • Best test type: Short definitions, fill-in-the-blank questions, and multiple choice.
  • Worst test type: Essay tests and any overly long tests.