Keys to Studying Better Using Your Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic Talents

Yes, we all can attest to having that terrible boring professor that made us fail the test or did they? If so, why did your classmates Ace the test? Well, it might not be that the professor was horrible, it's just that he or she did not appeal to your learning style. A learner inventory evaluation might be the key to help you study better. Nursing Students General Students Article


Keys to Studying Better Using Your Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic Talents

Ever had that moment when you are trying to study and you find that no matter what you do things just are not sticking? Or you can't remember them when that big test comes around?

Like me, you probably think that something is just wrong and maybe nursing is just not for you, because you've failed one test after the other. Well, I've got good news for may not be that you are not made for nursing it might be that you are using the wrong learning style to get through nursing school.

What is one's learning style? Well, there are basically three types of learning styles:

Visual Learners

Visual Learners understand information best by what they see. This includes seeing the words they read, PowerPoint projections, diagrams, watching demonstrations, items that have vivid colors that appeal to their sense of vision. They enjoy visually striking movies that are fast-paced and use lots of colors to highlight items they need to remember. Visual learners would probably skim the bold and highlighted main points in this article and read through it quickly.

Auditory Learners

Auditory Learners are experts at listening and learn best from what they hear. They would rather not watch a PowerPoint, but prefer to record lectures and play them back to study. They may read notes out loud or have a friend quiz them on an upcoming test. They need diagrams to be explained to them, which does not mean they stupid at learning a diagram, rather hearing the explanation reinforces the visual data into their memory banks. They are also great at following verbal directions, whereas a visual learner, like myself, prefers to get the instruction written down and in my hand so I can read it. Auditory learners would probably read this entire article out loud to themselves.

Kinesthetic / Tactile Learners

Got a bunch of friends who love to hug, touch are feeling? Those are our kinesthetic learners. Tactile learners enjoy hands-on experience. They will excel in labs and physical assessment. They learn best by doing, touching and manipulating. They enjoy working with equipment, need the write things down to remember them, may enjoy chewing gum or snacking while studying and may "finger spell" words rather than write it down. They rather demonstrate or act out a disease process rather than listen to a boring lecture. Tactile learners will probably skim through this article and may just skip to the last part in the references where they can actually do the learner inventory test.

Many nursing students may already know this and may have previously tried to use a learning inventory in order to determine what learning style is most effective for them. A learning inventory is a list of questions which helps those of us who have trouble determine what their learning style is.

Humans normally do not solely use one (1) learning style, in fact, we tend to use all three (3) based on the task we are trying to accomplish. It is important to know your own learning style, its strengths, and weaknesses.

Why is it important to know your learning style? Well first of, in the field of nursing knowing yourself provides you with a solid foundation on which you are able to successfully face the challenges from the different people you will be working with, in addition to learning all the new procedures that will come your way once you finish nursing school. Knowing your strengths also helps you know what your weaknesses are, so you can be aware of areas you need to work on. It is common knowledge that if we incorporate all 3 learning styles we will remember things even better.

So maybe you are great at labs but terrible at weekly quizzes, maybe you are terrible at online quizzes but great at written in class quizzes or maybe for some Power Point lectures are awesome while for others it just puts them to sleep. It all relates to your learning style.

Ever had a horrible professor? Yeah, we all can attest to having that terrible boring professor that made us fail the test or did they? If so, why did your classmates Ace the test? and in fact, they love that professor you hate so much? Well, it might not be that the professor was horrible, it's just that he or she did not appeal to your learning style and therefore nothing they said ever stuck and so your brain shuts down on that subject.

In order to solve this problem, you first need to know your learning style. Once that is determined, you then need to adapt the professors' lectures, power points, notes and textbooks to your style and this would ensure success in every exam you take.

Take the Barsch learning style inventory test linked in the references or just do a web search for "learner inventory" to find other test and compare. Once you do that do another search for study tips for your particular learning style so can know how to adapt your professor's lectures and get the most out of studying.

I did several different tests and they all determined I am a visual learner, followed by auditory as my next strongest. Next comment on what is your learning style and how you have adapted it to become a great nursing student or nurse.

4 Articles   1,149 Posts

Share this post

Share on other sites
Specializes in None.

This is good stuff! Thank you! The second link is especially important. You don't realize how important it is to learn your learning style until your struggling in a class (an important one- A&P) and realize you are studying your butt off, and failing. All along the problem was my learning style. Thanks for doing this article, again it's so important to find the best way you learn.

One of my first professors suggested I take a learning style assessment, and it helped me a lot! I am both visual and tactile, but not at all auditory. I make sure to read assigned chapters ahead of time and take extensive notes in class, and I often relisten to lectures. YouTube videos, especially animations, are really helpful to me. I think knowing my learning style has really helped me improve my studying and retention. Thanks for the tips and links!

I took this test, and it said that I was a visual learner. So very true! It's important to know your learning style.

WOW!, I just found out that I was an auditory learner, I thought I was a visual and tactile learner.

Specializes in Med Surg, PCU, Travel.
f8dagrate said:
WOW!, I just found out that I was an auditory learner, I thought I was a visual and tactile learner.

That is funny. Before I did research on this I always thought I was an auditory and tactile learner but my first test said I was visual. So I took three other learner inventory test as it turns out I am really a visual learner and I hope that knowing this will make me more effective. I never really understood why power-point lectures did not work for me. I really need pictures and diagrams together with these to help me learn better, along with brief notes and I think things are starting to make lots more sense to me. Seeing the words together with the diagrams really helps. Again it's important that we develop our weak learning areas so we can be well rounded as nurses.

I was a visual and a then tactile learner. Audio was so low compared. That explains why I am struggling so hard in nursing school. I have tried to only focus on what instructors were saying and missing it all during study time for test, and yep, failed them. so bummed. Hope I can pull my self out of this downward spiral. Worked to hard to get to this point. Frustrated, but determined. I did both links so I hope to learn from the suggestions.

Specializes in OMFS, Dentistry.

Thank you for this. It is sooooo true!!!!!!!

I always thought that reading things was the best way for me to learn, because during tests I could actually visualize the words on my notes or in the book. Starting halfway through microbiology I got a big whiteboard and would write out answers to the study guide (from memory) on the board. Then I would go back with a different colored pen and correct things that were wrong or add in things that I'd missed, then I re-read it, erased everything and started over. I would do that 2-3 times until I could write it all perfectly from memory. My test scores went up to high A's.

I think it works on both visual and kinesthetic at the same time. I've never seen it recommended, I just started doing it because I saw the whiteboard sitting in the corner & got inspired - it helped me out so much, I know it would work for certain learning styles. Give it a shot if writing things down is really important to you retaining info.

There has to be a reason I don't get A's and B's like every other class. I have nearly a 4.0 if you don't count my two C's in Nursing. I wasted my money on this crud in a book calle Are you Smarter Than You Think?

This is a great post! for me, I am a Tactile/Kinesthetic learner the most, followed quite distantly by visual learner.

I 2nd Baxtell's advice on getting a whiteboard (for all you Tactile learners), I got my self a small portable whiteboard last year during my Physiology class and just drew and erased everything over and over and over again till i knew it like my phone number. My grades improved significantly.

I am excited for my nursing clinicals because that's when us Tactile/Kinesthetic learners get to shine!

Wow, thanks for this. I just found out through this little quiz that I am a visual learner (which I knew). Go figure because I can easily remember things when I write down things, highlight the key ideas and even using flash cards.