Identify your learning style

This resource will provide an overview of how to identify your learning style in order to improve your approach to studying.

What are learning styles?

Learning styles are theories describing individual preferences for how we like to learn and how we best retain new information.

Why identify your learning style?

Identifying your learning style involves understanding how you tend to learn best. You can use this information to your advantage when you study by using learning approaches that work well for you, such as writing out notes, creating mind-maps, using models or reciting out loud. This can assist you with in-class learning and with examination revision.

The different learning styles

There are many different learning style models that attempt to explain differences in learning between individuals. One of the most widely known is the VARK model, which includes the Visual, Auditory, Read/write and Kinaesthetic learning styles – these are detailed below. Reflect on which activities you tend to prefer when studying to determine which learning style you tend to use. Note that you may utilise more than one learning style.


Visual learners learn by sight. These learners benefit from:

  • Images and diagrams
  • Graphics and visuals
  • Charts
  • Maps
  • Mind-maps
  • Flash cards


Auditory learners learn by hearing. These learners benefit from:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Group discussions
  • Verbal repetition
  • Sound recordings
  • Mnemonic devices


Read/write learners learn by reading and writing. These learners benefit from:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Making detailed notes
  • Re-writing notes to revise
  • Viewing information in word form


Kinaesthetic learners learn by touch. These learners benefit from:

  • Movement
  • Tactile representations
  • Models and materials
  • Physical interactions
  • Hands-on approaches
  • Experience and practice