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How to Use Your Learning Style to Your Advantage as a Student

Updated By Staff Writer on June 17, 2020

Life can be crazy, especially when you’re a college student with more on your plate than your schoolwork. Have you ever found yourself staring at a textbook in the middle of the night, struggling for the life of you to remember the last sentence you read? If you have, you’re not alone. And thankfully, understanding yourself and your learning style a little better can help you study more efficiently.

The 3 Styles of Learning

Understanding your learning style is beneficial not only for your current studies but also for your future career. Identifying your style of learning can actually save you from wasting your time studying the wrong way by giving you a way to study smarter rather than harder. While each style of learning uses a different part of your brain, they’re all very effective—the trick is figuring out which one applies to you. The 3 styles of learning are as follows:

  1. Auditory

Just as the name implies, auditory learners do better processing information through their ears. You may be an auditory learner if you find it easiest to remember facts and information that were spoken to you. Auditory learners are often easily distracted by background noise while studying, prefer to work in a discussion group rather than studying alone, and do better remembering and following verbal directions as opposed to written ones. As an auditory learner, it is a good idea to read words aloud as you study, or talk about the information out loud, whether by yourself or with someone else. You may benefit most from being verbally quizzed by friends and peers as you prepare for a test, and making up rhymes to help you remember important information.

  1. Visual

Visual learners learn better by processing information through their eyes. You’re likely a predominantly visual learner if you prefer following written directions, reading information directly from a textbook, and would rather see something demonstrated than listening to someone else lecture. A visual learner often has trouble with verbal directions and prefers to see a map to visualize the steps along the way as well as the destination. As a visual learner, you can play to your strengths by writing and drawing while you study. Highlight important information within the text, create flashcards, or consider tracing over your notes to help you better retain the information. When in a classroom setting, sit toward the front of the room so you can easily see and copy notes on the board.

  1. Kinesthetic

Kinesthetic learners—sometimes referred to as tactile learners—typically process information best by doing it themselves. Just a few signs you might be a kinesthetic learner include: tracing words with your finger to remember them, drawing, taking notes, or otherwise fidgeting while listening to someone speak. Kinesthetic learners often prefer hands-on interaction with information to better retain it. As a kinesthetic learner, you need to keep your body busy while you study; this may include riding a stationary bike, walking on a treadmill, or just walking around your house. Fidget cubes and spinners are quite popular now and may be beneficial in helping you stay focused on the information you’re learning, allowing it to better stick in your brain. It may also be beneficial to take frequent breaks during your studies.

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Determining Your Learning Style

While there are probably elements from each learning style that apply to you, most people have one that’s more predominant. If you’re unsure of your learning style or hope to understand yourself a little better, take an online quiz to test your preferences and get a better idea of what works for you. Are you ready to take your education to the next level and implement some of the new study skills you’ve learned? Contact us today to request more information about our degree programs and start putting your new skills to good use.