Have you ever paid close attention in class only to realize at the sound of the bell that you have no idea what your teacher has been talking about? If this happens often with the same teacher, he or she may not be teaching to your learning style. A learning style is a preferred way of absorbing, processing, and retaining information. According to the VARK model, learning styles are grouped into four main categories: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic.

Visual learners process information through images such as charts, graphs, and diagrams. They prefer to learn by watching videos or reading text with graphics. These learners can visualize ideas and concepts well. Visual learners share ideas best when drawing, doodling, or mind mapping.

Auditory learners absorb information through verbal communication. They prefer to learn by listening to lectures or participating in discussions. They retain written information better when reading out loud and convey their thoughts and ideas best through conversation.

Reading/writing learners process information through reading and writing (no surprise there!). They prefer to learn with handouts, lists, bullet points, and classification systems. These learners share their ideas best through writing and may journal to process emotions.

Kinesthetic learners retain information while in motion and prefer to be physically engaged during the learning process. They enjoy participating in hands-on projects and role play. Sitting at a desk all day can be draining for a kinesthetic learner. These learners often gesture with their hands when sharing thoughts and ideas.

Which learning style resonates with you? Maybe you can relate to more than one style. If you’re not sure which style you prefer, take this quiz to determine how you learn best. Then incorporate the study tips below based on your preferred learning style.

If you are a visual learner, you can translate auditory lessons into visual format by taking notes during a lecture. Then color-code notes by topic to organize content and highlight key words when memorizing concepts. While brainstorming for a writing assignment, create a spider web, mind map, or flowchart to outline the main idea and supporting details.

If you are an auditory learner, don’t hesitate to talk out loud when studying, even if that means talking to yourself! Audiobooks, podcasts, and songs can be excellent learning resources. Whenever possible, study with a group so you can talk through concepts with classmates. Teaching others in your own words can solidify your knowledge and understanding of academic material.

If you are a reading/writing learner, try rewriting notes after class, then rewriting key concepts and ideas in your own words. Write these concepts down on post-it notes and place them around the house. When studying math, write out step by step instructions on how to solve a problem or equation.

If you are a kinesthetic learner, convert notes into flashcards so you can study while walking or working out. Highlight important content, use a dry erase board, or play charades for a more interactive study session. Take advantage of experiential learning opportunities by visiting local historical sites or museums.

Knowing which learning style(s) you prefer can offer insight into why you have a harder time learning from some teachers more than others. But no matter how you are taught, you can study more effectively and efficiently when taking into account your preferred learning style. For more study tips based on your specific learning style, give us a call.