How To Study Better By Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

Updated on July 29, 2016
Do you know your learning style?
Do you know your learning style? | Source

Do you Know how to Study?

Studying is easy, right? Pay attention in class, read the book, and look over your notes before the test. That may work fine for sometimes, but, if you're like most people, there will come a time in your educational career when this kind of studying takes way too long and doesn't yield the grades you want or need. But how else are you supposed to study?

Think hard for a moment - has anyone ever actually shown you how to study? Has anyone helped you discover your personal learning style so you can study smarter, not study longer? If you would like to learn how to make your studying more effective and find the tools you need to uncover your best learning style, you've come to the right place.

I have written these tips for you, the reader, but they can easily be applied by parents to their struggling students. If your son or daughter is having difficulty in class, even though you know they're a bright kid and totally capable of learning the information, it may simply be that s/he hasn't had the information presented in the best way for his or her personal learning style. You can use these tips, too, to help your child succeed.

Screen capture on 2/18/2013.
Screen capture on 2/18/2013. | Source
Screen capture on 2/18/2013.
Screen capture on 2/18/2013. | Source

You may not have one clearly dominate learning style - that's fine.

Discover your Learning Style

There are many different learning styles and 'multiple intelligences.' Some people are really good at relating to others, some are good at music, math, writing, drawing, or dancing. Not knowing your learning style and having teachers who teach to a very different learning style from your own can leave you feeling like you can't succeed in a particular class or subject area. If you uncover your personal learning style, you may suddenly realize that the seemingly impossible is well within your grasp!

There are many online resources to help you find your multiple intelligences and learning styles. The following list are some of my favorite sites that I've used to learn more about myself.

You may not have one overly dominate intelligence or learning style - that's fine. I am a real learning style mishmash, and knowing that helps me devise study strategies that are engaging in several different ways.

Evaluate how you Study Now

After discovering your learning style, sit down and evaluate how you study now. You do not have to use this chart, but it may help get you started evaluating your current study techniques.

Study evaluation chart.
Study evaluation chart. | Source

Look at your chart and your newly-discovered learning styles. If, for example, your learning style tests indicate you are an auditory learning but you currently reread the text and make study outlines, you could be 'studying smarter.'

This book is a great all-around resource to help younger students discover their learning style and how to study each subject. It shows how to be better at studying spelling, math, geography, and more. In short, it's a fantastic resource for parents!

This book is aimed at the slightly older, self-help student (as opposed to parents of children in younger grades). If you're looking for a more in-depth look at learning styles and what they mean, this is a great place to start.

Develop Techniques for your Learning Style

Studying in a way that matches your learning style will help you spend less time studying for better results. There are many, many different ways to study, but here are a few of the more common techniques.

Visual Learners

  • Make a 'map' instead of an outline. By creating a mental or physical map/flow chart, you can better engage your visual learning tendencies.
  • Look for other ways to study using games, videos, and interactive PowerPoints/presentations.
  • Illustrate your notes with graphs and charts.
  • Visualize the lesson. The ancient Greeks used this technique to remember epic poems. They called it creating your "memory palace." Imagine walking in the front door of your home and finding some historical or literarily character sitting on your couch. You'd be pretty surprised! Then, imagine this person walking around being confused by the items in your living room or explaining how in the world they came to be there.
  • Draw out what you need to study, even if you just use stick figures. Create a picture of a historical vignette or scene from a story you're studying.
  • Create nemonics and draw a picture to remember them. For example, the beginning letters of the nations below the United States down to South America are MGBEHNCP. I turned this into to nemonic "My great big elephant has nine copper pennies."

Auditory Learners

  • Study aloud. Ask a parent or friend to quiz you on material, or talk it over with someone else. If no one else is available, say your notes out loud as you study them. If you feel strange doing this, don't talk at full volume. Vocalize your studying at a whisper, if you want, just get your voice box working!
  • Listen to a lecture or documentary. Ask your teacher if you may record his or her lesson or in-class test review and listen to it. You don't have to simply sit still and listen at home - you play your notes while you do chores, for example.
  • Make up a song. You don't need to be a musical genius - just put the words to a simply nursery rhyme tune. I still know the quadratic equation for calculus because my teacher sang it to us!
  • Make up nemonic devices and repeat them aloud.

These days they're making half-sized index cards! How cool. A full 3x5 index card really isn't necessary for studying most things, but flashcards have always been one of my indispensable study tools.

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

  • Make flashcards. I don't like to use an entire index card for simple vocabulary words or dates, so I cut regular index cards in half. I then go through and write the 'questions' on one side of the cards and the 'answers' on the opposite side. The very act of writing out the cards engages tactile learners. Then the simple act of flipping and shuffling the cards can help you engage your tactile tendencies.
  • It sounds boring, but copying key words or dates over and over can help kinesthetic learners. This is particularly helpful if you're studying a foreign language. Writing a word over and over can help lock it in your memory.
  • Get up and move while you're studying. Most classrooms today revolve around sitting still and listening, but that doesn't work well for tactile learners. If your teacher won't let you pace around (and chances are good s/he won't!), move about while you study at home. Pace, walk, tap your feet, or do whatever fidgeting feels natural to you while you read your assignments, do your homework, and go over your flashcards.

If you have a combination of learning styles, there are many ways to combine these tips. For example, writing out flashcards helps me. Then, when I go over them, I read the questions and answers aloud to help engage my auditory memory. I rarely just sit there while studying my cards. Even if I don't pace, I will probably at least stand, which helps engage me in a kinesthetic way so I can stay focused. You can mix and match study techniques to your heart's content in order to engage your personal blend of learning styles.

Have you found your ideal study technique yet?

See results

Studying the Right way Helps!

Studying the right way really does help. I'm not just saying it - I know it. In high school, I was on the academic team. We were ranked 6th in the nation for a while, and I was the 'leading scorer' for almost two years. This means I had to memorize a whole lot of stuff! Simply looking at a list never helped me much - I had to be physically and auditorily engaged in order to remember anything.

No matter how hopeless you feel at a particular subject or overwhelmed by a particular class, every single person has a unique learning style. You just need to find yours and try different study techniques to unlock your hidden potential!


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    • profile image


      18 months ago

      This article gives great insight on how one can study more effectively. Cramming is the go to means of studying as it helps for exam prep, but I think knowing how to study, understanding your studying style allows more long term retention of the material learnt.

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      I always lose focus when reading and end up feeling like am doing nothing ..thank you that was so helpful

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      Thank you,

    • profile image


      18 months ago


      Thank you very much, not only did l enjoy reading your hub it was an eye opener and I am going to do more research on where l stand on learning styles because l easily get bored and lose focus

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      i liked so much!!

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 

      7 years ago from Global Citizen

      Wonderful hub,

      I can help my kids with their studies. Your tips were really great.

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Paul - music is so helpful! I still remember the quadratic equation because of a song my calc teacher made up a decade ago! Thanks for stopping in and sharing.

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much for the votes!

      Most people can just get by up to a certain point in time without analyzing how they study, which makes it really difficult later on!

    • Tom Schumacher profile image

      Tom Schumacher 

      7 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      Natashalh, excellent hub! Many people I know fear the idea of how to approach studying because they've never put forth the energy to discover the style that works best for them. Personally, I came to realize in college that highlighting and writing summaries/outlines is most beneficial for me. Voted up for informative and useful!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      7 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      This is an awesome well-written hub which is long overdue. It will definitely benefit both teachers and students. It is especially important for students to know how to study, otherwise they will just be spinning their wheels and wasting a lot of time. The theory of multiple intelligences for learning was proposed by Harry Garner. In my EFL classes I also use music in addition to the sensory, auditory, tactile, and kinesthic aspects. Music is great for learning vocabulary, intonation, and also grammar. Voted up and sharing with followers.

    • KidzmetJen profile image


      7 years ago

      Personality type also matters when you're learning! also has a free online test that evaluates personality type, multiple intelligences and cognitive style in one quiz, then gives recommendations that you can use to learn better. :)

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Glad you enjoyed it! Visual doesn't always mean what people assume - since you like painting and taking photos, I'm not surprised you're a little more kinesthetic!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Huh...I just learned I'm more kinesthetic than visual. I always thought it was the other way around. Loved this hub and I definitely learned something new!

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, DDE. Glad to know I met my goals!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most interesting and so well put together, you have made such helpful points here and presented this Hub in the most professional way thanks

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Hey, you never know! Where I live, resident seniors can take free college classes, so we certainly have folks taking classes for the fun of it.

      Thanks for stopping by and being so supportive!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      7 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Natasha. I am now 68 so my time for learning is past but I congratulate you on such an informative and helpful hub. It is nice to see someone who gives help to others so freely. Well done.

      Voted up and all.


    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      I'm kind of envious of people with one distinct learning style. If I learned just one way, finding study strategies that work might be a bit easier!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am SUCH a visual learner!



    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Listening really appeals to me because it leaves the rest of me free to fidget! I recently discovered I like audio books a lot because I can listen while I do other thing things (like the dishes, bleh).

      I am really excited about reaching the 100k mark. It took me almost half a year to get 10k, so 100k just 8 months after that is pretty exciting!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      7 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      I really like the idea of doing a verbal review with someone as most kids today understand better when read to. Even I do. I figure that out from using audio bible.

      You'll really help a great number of people with this hub. Good job Natashalh! And again congrats on your recent milestone of 100,000 views. (claps, claps, claps).

      Voted up and very useful.

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Most people teach the way they learn. If they learn by lecturing and taking notes, that is what they tend to do, but not all styles work for everyone, as you know! I really wish more classes focused on learning how to study well.

      Thanks for stopping in and voting!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This is such important information to learn about yourself and your children, especially if they don't learn in the way you do. In college I'd go back and recopy the notes I took in class. That was the best way for me to absorb the material. My husband remembers what he reads and never took notes in class. Up and Useful

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Yes, it is easy to get by in the lower grades and then suddenly reach a point where old study techniques simply aren't working!

      Thank you, Claudia, I appreciate you taking the time to stop in and comment. It's always exciting to get comments on such a new hub!

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      7 years ago from Mexico

      As a child, I never had problems with studying because paying attention in class was almost always enough for me to learn. Nevertheless, as I have gotten older and deeper into some subject matters I have found that making diagrams and explaining what you have learned in your own words as reinforcement is a very good study technic. Obviously, the more you go through certain information and the more you use it, the more you make it yours and fully come to understand.

      Once again, good idea for a hub Natashalh, congratulations.

    • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I kind of discovered different learning techniques by accident on my own. It is remarkable to me that no one even really talked about how to study until my 4th semester of graduate school! This is really important stuff that usually gets overlooked.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is such important information, and it is a must for teachers to grasp and understand. Well done, Natasha!


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