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The College Blueprint Buzz

The College Blueprint Buzz

Everyone Learns Differently

GPA is the most important factor in the college admissions process. One way to improve your grades is to know your preferred learning style. Each learning style has specific strategies which can be helpful to assist you in learning material. Take a look below and see if you can figure out YOUR learning style. Once you have done so, we encourage you to utilize some of these strategies while studying for your classes.

Visual Learning Style

Visual Language

These students learn language skills by sight, mainly by reading and watching. They tend to be fast thinkers, to gesture freely while talking, and to communicate very clearly and concisely. They learn well from demonstration process – they must see to understand.

Visual Numerical

These students are able to understand material when they’re able to see numbers written. Alike with visual language students, they must see to understand, learn best by reading and writing, and tend to be fast thinkers.

Potential Strategies

• Highlight and write as you study. Use different colors to emphasize specific points and to organize information.
• Make class notes visual with drawings, spacing, symbols, etc. Use capital letters and colors, too.
• This will help you to look forward to studying, and it is likely these shapes and images will help you to remember information more easily
• Use visuals from your textbook or your teacher’s lessons such as charts and pictures. To build recall, practice reproducing them on a piece of paper.
• Create notecards with written information organized into outlines, drawings, or diagrams. Review them for factual recall, and practice reproducing the outlines to be sure you’ve learned the material.

Auditory Learning Style

Auditory Language

These students learn best by listening. When studying, auditory learners listen to podcasts or video blogs that include various information pertaining to a subject. When recalling information, they are quick to remember specific phrases and statistics they heard during a lesson or supplemental study resource. They are normally very attentive listeners, and actively participate in conversations.

Auditory Numerical

These students are better with numbers when they can hear them spoken. These learners listen to statistics several times over in order to fully understand the information they’ve been given. They’re especially interested in visualizing numbers based on how the statistic or math problem is explained.

Potential Strategies:

• Read or recite information aloud as you study.
• Take notes or use a tape recorder to record lectures. Play recorded notes when commuting by car, or listen to voice memos on your phone in between classes.
• Study with a friend or group. Explain information in your notes to another person in order to reinforce your knowledge of the information. By hearing the information in different voices and numerous times, your brain will be more likely to absorb the information.
• Talk to yourself when you study. Describe diagrams and practice answering test questions out loud so that you are actively participating in the learning process.
• When solving problems, talk yourself through each step. If you audibly hear and understand the steps behind the answer, it’s more likely that during a test, you’ll be more confident in your capabilities.

Kinesthetic Learning Style

These people are feeling and touch-oriented, good at hands-on tasks, good linguists, and very sensitive to others' feelings. They learn best by doing and moving. Good ways to learn are through hands-on projects or experiments, writing down the information that they’re provided, and applying it to real-life situations. They may have difficulty sitting for long periods of time.

Potential Strategies:

• Use as many of your senses as possible when you study: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
• Incorporate candy into your math problems, or use colored paper for different assignments.
• When explaining information to others or reviewing lessons, use gestures and listen intently to feedback.
• Move around or walk when you study. Chew gum while you study at home or squeeze a rubber ball to encourage whole-body movement.
• Use a timer and decide on a specific amount of time during which you feel you can effectively sit and work. Underestimate your ability at first, and work up to longer periods when possible. When the timer sounds, take a break and do something physical. Go outside and get your body moving, and that will help you to maintain patience and energy while studying.
• When solving a problem, move around and manipulate items to represent parts of the problem. For instance, bring objects into the mix. Select some items from the kitchen to represent.
• When taking an exam, remember what you did physically as you studied. This will help you to remember specific facts and information that you focused on while learning.

Individual Learning Style

These students prefer to study on their own. They are diligent and focused, and are most productive
when in a quiet, individual setting. These students often perform well under test-taking conditions.

Potential Strategies

• Study in a quiet place. Eliminate background noise by quietly playing classical music or an environmental sound track such as the sounds of waves crashing or birds chirping. These small things will ultimately make you feel more comfortable, and will focus your attention on the material you’re studying at a specific time.
• When in need of assistance, work one-to-one with peer tutor rather than studying in groups. This will increase your ability to absorb information, as group situations become overwhelming. Having a one-on-one interaction mirrors your individual learning, with an extra person to bounce ideas off of and receive support from.

Group Learning Style

These students learn best by interacting with a group. These people benefit greatly from the environment of a classroom, and do best when they’re able to interact with classmates. Communicative activities allow them to feel comfortable, and group members facilitate their learning capabilities.

Potential Strategies:

• Study with a friend or classmate. Teach each other the material, and collaborate on study guide assignments.
• Attend study group sessions. Teachers provide these review sessions for learners like you
• Organize your own study group. Getting friends together to have pizza and study for a big test coming up can help you achieve your best potential.

Expressive Learning Style

Oral Expression Learner

These students usually do well in speech classes. Oral Expression is the means by which a student presents their thoughts through speech, and they learn by applying these strategies to classroom material. They are able to convey their thoughts clearly by way of speech. They often learn best by creating presentations for their classes.

Potential Strategies:

• Read or recite aloud as you study. As you hear yourself speaking the material, and as you work to put the information into your own words, you will absorb it with more • confidence.
• Study with a friend or study group. As you express your thoughts and opinions to others, you will learn the material more easily.
• Explain information in your notes to another person. Teaching others is the best way to learn information.
• Recite information out loud. Describe diagrams and practice answering test questions to yourself.
• Separate potential or practice test questions into “chunks,” and recite each part to yourself in a whisper or silently. As you familiarize yourself with the material and the wording of the questions, you will feel more comfortable approaching the test.

Written Expression Learner

These students are often very confident in expressing themselves through writing. They are very thorough writers, and this translates into their learning. They read diligently, and will re-read several times until a topic is crystal-clear. They can spend hours rewriting notes and summaries while studying for a test, yet this dedication will earn them excellent grades.

Potential Strategies

• To build recall, practice reproducing information on a piece of paper or chalkboard.
• Use study cards with written information organized into outlines, drawings, or diagrams. Review them by writing to reproduce the information and allow yourself to become familiar with it.
• When testing, give yourself 5 minutes to jot down as much information as possible on a blank sheet or on the back of test pages (if permitted). Write down formulas, outlines, mnemonics, learning cues, etc. Use these to expand ideas for writing. "Right brain" learners may use mapping techniques for organizing thoughts before writing.


Tindall, L.W., et. al. (1980). Puzzled about educating special needs students?: A handbook on modifying vocational curricula for handicapped students. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Vocational Studies Center, University of Wisconsin

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