Learning Preference Inventories

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SOS: Solutions for Optimal Studying ▪

Learning Preference Inventories

Here are some common indicators. Read each statement and select the statement that best describes you. Highlight that statement. Then total each column to indicate your dominant learning style. There are no right and wrong answers.







when operating new equipment for the first time I prefer to

read the instructions

listen to or ask for an explanation

have a go and learn by 'trial and error'


when seeking travel directions I…

look at a map

ask for spoken directions

follow my nose or maybe use a compass


when cooking a new dish I…

follow a recipe

call a friend for explanation

follow my instinct, tasting as I cook


to teach someone something I…

write instructions

explain verbally

demonstrate and let them have a go


I tend to say…

"I see what you mean"

"I hear what you are saying"

"I know how you feel"


I tend to say…

"show me" 

"tell me"

"let me try"


I tend to say…

"watch how I do it"

"listen to me explain"

"you have a go"


complaining about faulty goods I tend to…

write a letter


go back to the store, or send the faulty item to the head office


I prefer these leisure activities

museums or galleries

music or conversation

physical activities or making things


when shopping generally I tend to…

look and decide 

discuss with shop staff 

try on, handle or test


choosing a vacation I…

read the brochures

listen to recommendations

imagine the experience 


choosing a new car I..

read the reviews

discuss with friends

test-drive what you fancy


learning a new skill

I watch what the teacher is doing

I talk through with the teacher exactly what I am supposed to do

I like to give it a try and work it out as I go along by doing it


choosing from a restaurant menu..

I imagine what the food will look like

I talk through the options in my head

I imagine what the food will taste like


when listening to a band I …

sing along to the lyrics (in my head or out loud!)

listen to the lyrics and the beats

move in time with the music


when concentrating I…

focus on the words or pictures in front of me

discuss the problem and possible solutions in my head

move around a lot, fiddle with pens and pencils and touch unrelated things


I remember things best by…

writing notes or keeping printed details

saying them aloud or repeating words and key points in my head

doing and practicing the activity, or imagining it being done


my first memory is of

looking at something

being spoken to

doing something


when anxious, I…

visualize the worst-case scenarios

talk over in my head what worries me most

can't sit still, fiddle and move around constantly


I feel especially connected to others because of

how they look

what they say to me

how they make me feel


when I revise for an exam, I…

write lots of revision notes (using lots of colors!)

I talk over my notes, to myself or to other people

imagine making the movement or creating the formula


when explaining something to someone, I tend to…

show them what I mean

explain to them in different ways until they understand

encourage them to try and talk them through the idea as they try


my main interests are

photography or watching films or people-watching

listening to music or listening to the radio or talking to friends

physical/sports activities, fine foods, or dancing


most of my free time is spent…

watching television

talking to friends

doing physical activity or making things


when I first contact a new person…

I arrange a face to face meeting

I talk to them on the telephone

I try to get together to share an activity


I first notice how people…

look and dress

sound and speak

stand and move


if I am very angry…

I keep replaying in my mind what it is that has upset me

I shout lots and tell people how I feel

I stomp about, slam doors and throw things


I think I can tell someone is lying because…

they avoid looking at you

their voice changes

the vibes I get from them


When I'm meeting with an old friend…

I say "it's great to see you!"

I say "it's great to hear your voice!"

I give them a hug or a handshake






However you calculate the totals, ensure you use the chosen method consistently throughout the questionnaire. The total scores for each style indicate your relative preferred learning style or styles. There are no right or wrong answers. Some people have very strong preferences, even to the extent that they have little or no preference in one or two of the styles. Other people have more evenly balanced preferences, with no particularly strong style. The point is simply to try to understand as much as you can about yourself and your strengths (your preferred style or styles), and then make best use of learning methods which suit your strengths (your preferred style or styles).

©VAK learning styles self-test: Victoria Chislett MSc and Alan Chapman 2005. Not to be sold or published. Sole risk with user. This learning styles self-assessment tool is a rough guide to individual learning styles only - it is not a scientifically validated instrument. With thanks also to Anita Mountain and Chris Davidson for their advice in creating this tool.

What does all of this mean?
Visual – Auditory – Kinesthetic – Tactual
Your learning style may be the single most important key to improving your grades.
Students learn in many ways, like seeing, hearing, and experiencing things first hand. But for most students, one of these methods stands out.
Why is this important? Research has shown that students can perform better on tests if they change study habits to fit their own personal learning styles.
For example, visual-learning students will sometimes struggle during essay exams, because they can't recall test material that was "heard" in a lecture.
However, if the visual learner uses a visual aid when studying, like a colorful outline of test materials, he or she may retain more information. For this type of learner, visual tools improve the ability to recall information more completely.
A simple explanation of learning styles is this: Some students remember best materials they've seen, some remember things they've heard, while others remember things they've experienced.

How can you determine your learning style?
Eventually, you may want to consult a professional or your counselor for advice on learning styles, but you may recognize your own style quickly, once you look over the characteristics. If any of the traits and characteristics below sound familiar, you may have identified your own style.

Visual Learner Characteristics
Visual learners are those who learn through seeing things. Look over the characteristics below to see if they sound familiar. A visual learner:

  • Is good at spelling but forgets names.

  • Needs quiet study time.

  • Has to think a while before understanding lecture.

  • Likes colors & fashion.

  • Dreams in color.

  • Understands/likes charts.

  • Is good with sign language.

Learning Suggestions for Visual Learners:

  • Draw a map of events in history or draw scientific process.

  • Make outlines of everything!

  • Copy what's on the board.

  • Ask the teacher to diagram.

  • Diagram sentences!

  • Take notes, make lists.

  • Watch videos.

  • Color code words, research notes.

  • Use flashcards.

  • Use highlighters, circle words, underline.

BEST test type for visual learners:

Diagramming, reading maps, essays (if you've studied using an outline), showing a process

WORST test type:

Listen and respond tests

Auditory Learner Characteristics
Auditory learners are those who learn best through hearing things. Look over these traits to see if they sound familiar to you. You may be an auditory learner if you are someone who:

  • Likes to read to self out loud.

  • Is not afraid to speak in class.

  • Likes oral reports.

  • Is good at explaining.

  • Remembers names.

  • Notices sound effects in movies.

  • Enjoys music.

  • Is good at grammar and foreign language.

  • Reads slowly.

  • Follows spoken directions well.

  • Can't keep quiet for long periods.

  • Enjoys acting, being on stage.

  • Is good in study groups.

Auditory Learners Can Benefit from:

  • Using word association to remember facts and lines.

  • Recording lectures.

  • Watching videos.

  • Repeating facts with eyes closed.

  • Participating in group discussions.

  • Using audiotapes for language practice.

  • Taping notes after writing them.

BEST test type for auditory learners:

Auditory Learners are good at writing responses to lectures they've heard.

They're also good at oral exams.

WORST test type:

Reading passages and writing answers about them in a timed test.

Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics
Kinesthetic learners are those who learn through experiencing/doing things. Look over these traits to see if they sound familiar to you. You may be a kinesthetic learner if you are someone who:

  • Is good at sports.

  • Can't sit still for long.

  • Is not great at spelling.

  • Does not have great handwriting.

  • Likes science lab.

  • Studies with loud music on.

  • Likes adventure books, movies.

  • Likes role playing.

  • Takes breaks when studying.

  • Builds models.

  • Is involved in martial arts, dance.

  • Is fidgety during lectures.

Kinesthetic Learners Can Benefit from:

  • Studying in short blocks.

  • Taking lab classes.

  • Role playing.

  • Taking field trips, visiting museums.

  • Studying with others.

  • Using memory games.

  • Using flash cards to memorize.

BEST test type for kinesthetic learners:

Short definitions, fill-ins, multiple choice.

WORST test type:

Long tests, essays.

Right/Left Brain Information

Right Brain-Dominant Students

You Might Be a Right Brain If ... By Grace Fleming, About.com Guide

Do you get bored when teachers lecture too much? Do you feel like you can size up people easily by watching them? If so, you may be right-brain dominant.

Characteristics of Right-Brain Students

  • You take notes but lose them. You may have a hard time keeping track of your research

  • You might have a hard time making up your mind

  • You are good with people

  • You don't fall for practical jokes as easily as some

  • You seem dreamy, but you're really deep in thought

  • People may have told you you're psychic

  • You like to write fiction, draw, or play music

  • You might be athletic

  • You like mystery stories

  • You take time to ponder and you think there are two sides to every story

  • You may lose track of time

  • You are spontaneous

  • You’re fun and witty

  • You may find it hard to follow verbal directions

  • You are unpredictable

  • You get lost

  • You are emotional

  • You don't like reading directions

  • You may listen to music while studying

  • You read lying down

  • You may be interested in “the unexplained”

  • You are philosophical

Your Classes

  • In history class, you enjoy the social aspects most. You like to explore the effects of things that happened in history. You also like the essays.

  • You can do well in math class if you apply yourself, but you get bored doing long problems.

  • Science? Boring.

  • You do well in English class, especially when it comes to reading literature and writing essays about books. You also do well in creative writing assignments.

Advice for Right Brain Students

  • Choose to do personal essays

  • Watch your daydreaming—keep it under control

  • Let your imagination work for you in the arts

  • Let your intuition work for you in social situations

  • Let your deep thinking work for you during essay tests—but don’t ponder too long

  • Be creative with essays. You can use colorful language well

  • Use images and charts when you study

  • Write down directions

  • Try to be more organized!

  • Don’t be overly suspicious of others

  • Make outlines to organize your thoughts.

  • Choose fiction in reading assignments

  • Try to avoid teachers who lecture a lot; choose teachers who use activities

  • You tell stories well, so write some!

  • Put information into categories for better understanding

  • Avoid getting bogged down by thinking of all possibilities when answering questions

  • Finish things! You have so much talent, but you don’t always complete things.

You have great instincts and survival skills.

If you study hard, you might be a finalist on Survivor one day!

Left Brain-Dominant Students

You Might Be a Left Brain If ... By Grace Fleming, About.com Guide

Are you very organized? Do you believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything? If so, you may be left-brain dominant.
Characteristics of Left Brain Students

  • You probably work with a To-Do list

  • You like to be the critic in class

  • You're good at math or science

  • You are rational and logical

  • Your research is precise and well-documented

  • You set goals for yourself

  • You can interpret information well

  • Your room is orderly

  • You can answer questions spontaneously

  • You follow directions and you do read directions (unlike some people)

  • You aren't touchy-feely

  • You can listen to a long lecture without losing patience

  • You don’t let feelings get in your way

  • You like action movies

  • You read sitting up

  • Your words are precise

Your Classes

  • In history class, you are able to remember dates and processes.

  • In math class, you enjoy going through a long calculation.

  • You like the order of science.

  • In English class, you have a good understanding of grammar and sentence structure.

Advice for Left Brain Students

  • Study in a quiet room

  • You can do math but get impatient trying to explain it to someone who struggles—so don’t volunteer to be a tutor unless you know you have the patience

  • You like to lead in a study group, so go ahead and volunteer

  • Join a debate team or academic competition

  • Take advantage of your skills in math and science

  • Choose non-fiction reading

  • You prefer factual questions and assignments, as opposed to open-ended questions

  • You can organize your notes well, so you should

  • Keep your room organized

  • Don’t argue with the teacher too much

  • Choose to do analytical essays

  • Work alone when you have a choice. You get frustrated with others who “clown around”

  • Avoid “free thinking” teachers if they confuse you

  • Take more risks. Don’t be afraid to be creative

You might be a finalist on Jeopardy some day!

Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence Type

Capability and Perception

Verbal Linguistic

words and language


logic and numbers

Musical Rhythmic

music, sound, rhythm


body movement control


images and space


other people's feelings




natural environment

Verbal Linguistic (Language)

People who are strong in the language intelligence enjoy saying, hearing, and seeing words. They like telling stories. They are motivated by books, records, dramas, opportunities for writing.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Look at different kinds of dictionaries.

  • Read plays and poetry out loud.

  • Write a story for a book or newsletter.

  • Keep a journal.

  • Read from books written by or for new readers.

  • Use a tape recorder to tape stories and write them down.

  • Read together, i.e., choral reading.

  • Read out loud to each other.

  • Read a section, then explain what you've read.

  • Read a piece with different emotional tones or viewpoints — one angry, one happy, etc.

  • Trade tall tales, attend story-telling events and workshops.

  • Explore and develop the love of words, i.e., meanings of words, origin of words and idioms, names. Research your name.

Visual Spatial (Spatial)

People who are strong in the spatial intelligence remember things visually, including exact sizes and shapes of objects. They like posters, charts, and graphics. They like any kind of visual clues. They enjoy drawing.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Write a language experience story and then illustrate it.

  • Study and create maps, diagrams and graphs.

  • Color code words so each syllable is a different color.

  • Write a word on the blackboard with a wet finger. Visualize the word as it disappears. See if you can spell it afterwards.

  • Take a survey. Put the information in a chart.

  • Write words vertically.

  • Cut out words from a magazine and use them in a letter.

  • Use pictures to stimulate reading or writing.

  • Visualize spelling words.

  • Use the say-copy-look method of spelling.

  • Use colorful newspapers like USA Today.

  • Use crossword puzzles.

Logical Mathematical (Logic/Math)

People who are strong in the logic/math intelligence enjoy exploring how things are related. They like to understand how things work. They like mathematical concepts. They enjoy puzzles and manipulative games. They are good at critical thinking.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Arrange cartoons and other pictures in a logical sequence.

  • Sort, categorize, and characterize word lists.

  • While reading a story, stop before you've finished and predict what will happen next.

  • Explore the origins of words.

  • Play games that require critical thinking. For example, pick the one word that doesn't fit: chair, table, paper clip, sofa. Explain why it doesn't fit.

  • Work with scrambled sentences. Talk about what happens when the order is changed.

  • After finishing a story, mind map some of the main ideas and details.

  • Write the directions for completing a simple job like starting a car or tying a shoe.

  • Make outlines of what you are going to write or of the material you've already read.

  • Write a headline for a story you've just completed.

  • Look for patterns in words. What's the relationship between heal, health, and healthier?

  • Look at advertisements critically. What are they using to get you to buy their product?

Bodily Kinesthetic (Body Movement)

People who are strong in the kinesthetic intelligence like to move, dance, wiggle, walk, and swim. They are often good at sports. They have good fine motor skills. They like to take things apart and put them back together.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Go through your wallet and pull out three things to talk about.

  • Trace letters and words on each other's back.

  • Use magnetic letters, letter blocks, or letters on index cards to spell words.

  • Take a walk while discussing a story or gathering ideas for a story.

  • Make pipe cleaner letters. Form letters out of bread dough. After you shape your letters, bake them and eat them!

  • Use your whole arm (extend without bending your elbow) to write letters and words in the air.

  • Change the place where you write and use different kinds of tools to write, ie., typewriter, computer, blackboard, or large pieces of paper.

  • Write on a mirror with lipstick or soap.

  • Take a walk and read all the words you find during the walk.

  • Handle a Koosh ball or a worry stone during a study session.

  • Take a break and do a cross-lateral walk.

Musical Rhythmic (Musical)

People who are strong in the musical intelligence like the rhythm and sound of language. They like poems, songs, and jingles. They enjoy humming or singing along with music.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Use a familiar tune, song, or rap beat to teach spelling rules, or to remember words in a series for a test.

  • Create a poem with an emphasis on certain sounds for pronunciation.

  • Clap out or walk out the sounds of syllables.

  • Read together (choral reading) to work on fluency and intonation.

  • Read a story with great emotion — sad, then happy, then angry. Talk about what changes — is it only tone?

  • Work with words that sound like what they mean (onomatopoeia). For example: sizzle, cuckoo, smash.

  • Read lyrics to music.

  • Use music as background while reviewing and for helping to remember new material.

  • Use rhymes to remember spelling rules, i.e., "I before E except after C."

Interpersonal (Social)

People who are strong in the social intelligence like to develop ideas and learn from other people. They like to talk. They have good social skills.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Take part in group discussions or discuss a topic one-to-one.

  • Read a dialogue or a play together.

  • Do team learning/investigating projects.

  • Set up interview questions, and interview your family. Write the results.

  • Write notes to one another instead of talking.

Intrapersonal (Self)

People who are strong in the self intelligence like the rhythm and sound of language. They like poems, songs, and jingles. They enjoy humming or singing along with music.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Go on "guided imagery" tours.

  • Set aside time to reflect on new ideas and information.

  • Encourage journal writing.

  • Work on the computer.

  • Practice breathing for relaxation.

  • Use brainstorming methods before reading.

  • Listen to and read "how to" tapes and books.

  • Read "inspirational" thought-for-the-day books.

  • Read cookbooks.

Naturalist (Nature)

People who are strong in the nature intelligence enjoy interacting with the outside world. They are adept at noticing patterns in nature and can easily distinguish between different species of flora and fauna.

Here are ways to work with this intelligence in your lessons:

  • Spend time outside noticing patterns in nature.

  • Read books and articles about nature and the environment.

  • Take hikes or visit tide pools, and record significant features about what you find.

  • Compare seeds, seedlings, and adult plants. Mix them up and ask your learners to match each seed to its corresponding seedling and adult.


Tech Tip for the Day:

Visual Learners

Auditory Learners

Kinesthetic Tactual Learners

Right Brain Learners

Left Brain Learners

Verbal Linguistic

Logical Mathematical

Visual Spatial

Bodily Kinesthetic

Musical Rhythmic




Learning Log

Describe your home study area.

Action Assignment

Share with your parents the new information learned during this session regarding your learning preferences and what it means.

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