Everyone learns differently and by adapting your study techniques to suit your individual learning style, you can get the most of every minute of study time.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your learning style. If you are not sure what your style is, play around with a few different methods and see what works best. Many people use more than one style, or use different styles in different situations
Visual (spatial) learners prefer using pictures, images and colour to learn
- Visualise new concepts as strong images with bright and distinctive colours, patterns and features.
- Organise information into maps, linking related ideas. Use a colour coding system for categorising items, and use images to represent words.
- Rather than describing concepts, depict them using lines, arrows, symbols and pictures.
Linguistic learners prefer using words to learn
- Talk yourself through a procedure out loud as you complete each step.
- Create mnemonics, or rewrite information in different ways, such as with rhyme or alliteration
- Instead of writing a summary, write a list of questions that covers all the key information you need to remember. Then answer them out loud without referring back to the original information.
- Role play with a friend to allow you to say the information out loud in different ways.
Auditory learners prefer using sound, music and rhyme to learn
- Replace the lyrics of a song with the information you need to remember.
- Summarise key information and record yourself reading it out, then play it back later. Be as dramatic as you can to make it more memorable.
- Where possible, create a link between sounds and information by studying to a recording of the sounds you will hear when you need to remember the information.
- Use any of the techniques listed for linguistic learners.
Kinaesthetic learners prefer using their body, touch and movement to learn
- Focus on the physical feelings and actions associated with concepts or procedures.
- Act out processes or concepts. Use props and be as dramatic as you can with your movements.
- Draw diagrams and maps on a large scale, such as a whiteboard. You will recall the position of certain ideas or items on the board because you actually had to walk there to write them down.
- Draw images or write key words on flash cards to represent concepts, and move them around to illustrate connections between different topics.
Logical learners prefer to use logic and mathematics to understand principles
- Never just accept a fact. Always make sure you understand the logic behind it.
- Express ideas and facts in an objective way, using statistics and other analysis where appropriate.
- Try to link all pieces of information in a topic to get an idea of the ‘big picture’. Understand all the links and associations between different concepts.
Social learners prefer to learn in groups
- Work with others whenever possible and use role play often.
- Share your understanding and interpretation of ideas with others, and listen carefully to their perspectives.
- Create a mind map together, and argue about where links should be made and why.
Solitary learners prefer to learn alone
- Set goals, objectives and plans, and reward yourself for reaching them.
- Think about how concepts and information relate to you personally to give them more meaning.
- Create role play situations, but play both characters yourself.
No matter what your style of learning, understanding it and using it to your advantage will mean that you can retain information more effectively, in less time. It’s a win-win style situation!