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Why Your Study Habits Should Reflect Your Learning Style

October 12, 2021

Why Your Study Habits Should Reflect Your Learning Style

You have probably heard the words visual, auditory and kinesthetic before. Maybe you have even taken a learning style quiz to help you identify which of those words is most accurate for you. But what do they really mean? And how can focusing on your learning style help improve your test scores? Educators Rita Syofyan and Menik Kurnia Siwi provide us with a clear definition in their academic article on the impact of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles. They describe learning styles as "characteristic cognitive, effective and psychosocial behaviours" that function as "relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment." Essentially, our behaviour can tell us a lot about how we absorb information. Read on to learn about the various learning styles and discover how you can build your study routine around your unique strengths. 

Diverse Learning Styles 

There are three primary learning styles that are commonly recognized in educational discussions and an additional four learning styles that you may hear about in academic circles and advice columns: 

  • Kinesthetic learners love movement, physical activity, concept maps and sense of touch 
  • Visual learners love reading, writing, analyzing diagrams or referencing photographs and illustrations 
  • Auditory learners love sound, spoken content, classroom lectures, podcasts and conversations 
  • Linguistic or verbal learners love engaging in dialogue, debates and the written or spoken word 
  • Logical or mathematical learners love making sense of complex ideas by applying reason and rationality 
  • Social or interpersonal learners love studying alongside peers and are probably more extroverted 
  • Solitary or intrapersonal learners love studying in quiet solitude and are probably more introverted 

Finding Your Fit

Why is your learning style important and how can it help you improve your grades? In an article on reaching the visual learner and teaching property through art, William Bradford of the Chiricahua Apache Nation discusses the benefits of tailoring your study routine to your individual learning style. He explains that "empirical research supports the conclusions that when students are matched with teaching methods that complement their learning styles, their absorption and retention is significantly enhanced." If you struggle with memory recall or feel that your test scores do not reflect the immense effort you put into studying, then perhaps your study routine does not match your learning needs. There is no need to panic, though! With a little effort and investigation, you can create a more thoughtful exam strategy based on your individual learning style. 

Identifying Your Preference 

Before revamping your study habits, you will need to determine your learning style. The good news? There are countless learning style quizzes out there to help you identify your primary, secondary and tertiary learning styles. Do you prefer to study alone or in a group? Do you prefer visual diagrams or hearing instructions spoken clearly to you? Your answers to these types of questions will help you understand your strengths and needs when it comes to learning and remembering new concepts or facts. Once you have identified your style, check out our individual articles with useful study tips for each of the major learning styles: 

Incorporating Other Styles 

We all have strengths and learning preferences, but the environment will not always be optimal. To increase your adaptability and flexibility, try subtly training your other senses so that you can handle anything which gets thrown your way. Chances are that you will appreciate some aspects of other learning styles in tandem with your main preference. Kinesthetic learners love to move around, so why not pair that with a podcast? Visual learners can try listening to music while studying or reviewing assigned readings. Auditory learners can benefit immensely from using screen readers, but can also follow along visually to boost other senses. 

Choosing a Secure Exam Environment 

No matter your learning style or preferences, your exam environment can have a significant impact on your success. With professional exam proctoring services such as ATS, you are guaranteed a safe and secure testing environment so that you can focus on your exam success.   

Written by CJ McGillivray