Determining Your Learning Style

By Rebecca Putter

 

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Becoming a great student doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes time to fully understand how you study and learn best, and it's important to note that everyone has their own learning style.

Some students prefer to study in groups where they can recite what they’ve learned aloud to others. Teaching verbally helps them memorize the material better. Other students are more visual and prefer to practice with flashcards.

By better understanding how you learn, you can maximize your study time by incorporating different study strategies that play to your learning strengths. But first, you need to figure out your learning style and strengths.

There are three main cognitive learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Do you prefer to study by participating in a discussion group? Do you find that listening to music while you study helps you focus better? You might be an auditory learner.

Do you learn best by doing? Do you find that playing with silly putty or squeezing a stress ball while studying helps you focus? You might be a kinesthetic learner.

Education Planner has a great 20 question quiz to help you assess your learning style. Once you discover your learning style, incorporate strategies that complement your learning style to make studying more efficient. Check out the lists below for study tips for different types of learners!

Visual Learners

  • Color code or highlight your notes
  • Use flashcards
  • Translate core concepts into diagrams
  • Use symbols to emphasize important points

Auditory Learners


  • Add rhythm or music as a learning aid
  • Recite key points aloud
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Record your classes
  • Teach others what you learn

 Kinesthetic Learners

  • Study outside or in a new environment
  • Participate in labs or go on excursions
  • Think of practical applications for concepts
  • Study in short blocks

By matching your study style with your learning style, you’ll retain material better, study more effectively, and experience less frustration along the way. 

And when you're ready to start applying to colleges, your learning style will offer schools a peek into how you think—both critically and creatively. If you master your learning style now, you'll have those skills handy when you're ready to take on that huge college exam!


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