What’s Your Study Style?

by Staff Reporter

Knowing what your study style is could be what causes you to pass or fail your tests and exams. With so many ways to learn educational material, it can be difficult to know which method will work best for you. So, how do you know which study style is the best one?

The only way to know for sure is by taking a look at the different study styles in this article and giving them a try!

First, let’s take a look at what we mean when we say ‘study style’.

Table of Contents

study style

What is a Study Style? 

The notion of a study style has been around for quite some time, and it has forced the South African education system to relook at the manner in which learners are taught and how they learn.

There are a total of seven different study styles, including:

Since the theory surrounding study styles is such a widely recognised concept, you might have already tried to categorise yourself, right?

It can be easy to guess which learning style you might have—but what does it actually mean?

Let’s take a closer look at the seven different learning styles and what they entail.

student looking at seven different study styles

What Are the Seven Different Study Styles?

1. Visual 

You may be a visual learner if your notes are always full of different highlighter colours. If this sounds like you, you may have a visual study style

Being a visual learner means you are highly creative, have a great memory (some would even say ‘photographic’) and you’re neat and organised when it comes to taking notes.

You also respond extremely well to images and colours, which means you may find it a lot easier to learn from a multi-coloured mind map with illustrations and symbols than you would off a plainly written list of notes. 

2. Aural 

An aural learner is the type of person who enjoys studying with music in the background.

These learners learn their best when they are engaging in active listening. Learners with an aural study style are also incredibly sensitive to sounds, and although they’re happy to listen to music while reading through their notes, they need quiet surroundings without any distractions. 

These learners are the type of individuals to take information in by listening to the teacher in class, without taking any notes (this could be a distraction). 

3. Verbal  

A person with a verbal study style is someone who studies best when they are speaking or explaining their learning material out loud.

You may have this learning style if you often find yourself recording the lessons and playing them back at a later stage without anything around to distract you (such as your friends).

The verbal study style also includes writing and works well with learners who enjoy making their own acronyms to remember various concepts in their learning material.

learner with kinesthetic study style

4. Kinesthetic 

People who have a kinesthetic study style learn best when they are turning their theory into practice, and by that, we mean that you might be someone who learns by doing.

It’s not enough for you to simply go through the learning material, you need to understand it, which is why kinesthetic learners will often prefer to physically perform an action as opposed to reading about it or watching a demonstration.

For example, if you were learning about birdhouses, it would be a lot easier for you to get out your tools and start building than it would be to read the theory of how building birdhouses works.

All this means is that you are active, and, as a kinesthetic learner, you may need to move around while you study. Try studying while you stand at the desk instead of sitting, or get up regularly to move around and take your books with you. 

5. Mathematical 

Learners with a mathematical study style are a lot more theoretical and learn information the best when it is structured in an orderly or logical way.

If you have a mathematical learning style, all it means is that you prefer it when all your notes are colour-coded, neat, and organised. 

You may keep a planner or organiser with all your study goals written in a step-by-step format. Mathematical learners may also like to keep a schedule in place, dictating exactly when, where, and for how long their next study session will be—and there’s nothing wrong with that!

6. Social 

If you enjoy talking and love group projects, then you may just have a social study style.

Learners with this study style tend to struggle when they’re working alone and prefer to discuss their ideas about the study material in the company of others.

If you have a social study style, then you learn best when you’re in a large study group where you are all collaborating and learning the material together.

7. Solitary 

People who have a solitary study style are the opposite of social learners, preferring to learn on their own. These individuals are distracted easily by their environment and study best when there is absolute silence around them.

Highly independent, solitary learners like to keep checklists, ticking off each one of their study goals one by one as they go along. Learners with this study style are also excellent at time management and hardly ever miss a deadline.

South African exams are nearly underway! Why not learn by practising past papers?  Download the NSC past exam papers and IEB past exam papers.

learner with solitary study style

Does Having a Study Style Actually Work?

Despite the popularity of these seven learning styles, you don’t actually learn better or worse with a specific study style. In other words, going with a specific learning style will not necessarily make you absorb the information better.

The best way to study is to attempt to understand the information in front of you. You study and learn much better when the content at hand actually makes sense to you, regardless of which learning style you pick. 

If your learning material does not make sense, it doesn’t matter what study style you try to use. If this is the case, then it’s best to ask your teacher or a friend to help you before your next assessment to explain the information to you.

Should You Use a Study Style?

If using a study style doesn’t really have the effect we thought it did, where does that leave you? 

Well, it’s important to remember that although understanding the learning material is important, we all still have learning preferences.

So yes, you may well prefer a more visual, solitary, or social way of studying. You may even prefer to combine them or choose different ones depending on the task at hand!

In preparation for the last stretch of your school career, read about these 11 tips for studying for exams effectively.

Do Study Styles Work?

The only way you’ll really figure out if having a study style, or several study styles, actually work is to try them yourself

If you’ve been having a hard time studying by yourself, try out a study group. If you can’t focus at home because of noisy neighbours, give the school or university library a try. Change it up and see if a different way works for you.

That traditional list of seven study styles is merely a guideline as to what kind of preferences you may have. You may even prefer a different style depending on what topic or subject you’re tackling.

We all have a study style, and neither one is right or wrong. What counts in the end is to what degree your study style lets you absorb the content you are studying.

learner researching their study style

What Does Life After Matric Have In Store For Me?

Matric exams are around the corner so there is no better time to get comfortable with your studying styles.

Figuring out what works best for you will allow you to breeze through the exams and finally get your matric certificate. Once you’ve got that, you’re ready to enter tertiary education.

These are exciting times but can be stressful if you lack the funds.  Luckily, financial aid schemes like Fundi can help you get into your dream institution, whether it’s a university, private, or TVET College

Use our Fundi loan calculator to see if you qualify for a student loan today!

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