Studying is not all it takes to attain academic success. You also have to study the right way. There are various learning styles, and choosing one that fits your type is crucial when it comes to achieving long-lasting results. The academic tutors and authors of ACAD WRITE have collected the key facts about sustainable learning.

Most students pursue an individual strategy when preparing for exams — some with better results than others. Many rely on learning methods that only serve the short-term memory, i.e. they quickly memorize huge amounts of material for an exam and forget it right after. This might be enough to get along in college but will later lead to difficulties in the job life. Oops!

Hence it is important to develop a sustainable learning method that suits your learning type. Several scientific areas offer answers to the question as to which role our senses play in processing information. As a matter of fact, the capacity to memorize information varies between individuals. Something that one person remembers easily, another might find difficult to memorize. The perception channel through which we perceive information (visual, auditory, tactile) plays a significant role in memorization. As a consequence, there are distinct types of learners, which have to employ a particular strategy in order to achieve the best results.


Which type of learner are you?


Sustainable learning

Auditory Type

Reads texts aloud, records, listen repeatedly.

Visual Type

Watches videos or visualizes the material in mind maps.

Communicative Type

Finds a study group and discusses with peers.

Kinesthetic Type

“Learning by doing” — tries to practically apply new knowledge, creates models and posters.


Sustainable Learning


This model distinguishes between visual, auditory and tactile learners. While some learners do particularly well at memorizing information that was perceived acoustically, others do better with visual or tactile perception. In addition, there is a fourth learning type, the communicative type, who achieves the best results by interacting with others. The different types of learners can actually be observed in everyday campus life: While students who are good at memorizing information that was perceived acoustically hardly have to prepare for an exam if they have attended all the lectures, others do better if they skip class and focus on the visual/written material.


You Heard It: The Auditory Type

Auditory Type

The auditory type of learners has a talent for processing information perceived by the ear. They easily follow verbal presentations and memorize most of the content. They also remember what they talked about on the phone and prefer audio books over print. When they learn by themselves, they tend to read the text aloud and thus memorize it more easily. Background noise is usually perceived as a great disturbance.


Short fact:

It is recommendable for auditory types to seek a quiet learning environment and read the study material aloud.

The auditory type of learner does especially well in exams asking questions about topics which were covered in the lectures, while those about a text which had to be read quickly can be tricky.


Better Look Twice: The Visual Type

Visual Type

The visual type of learners is good at memorizing things that were either seen or read. They are often statistics junkies and love infographics because they process visual information very well. Presentation without any visual guidance tends to bore them. They do much better when they explore a topic by reading and doing their own research. Many such learners are so good at memorizing visual information that when they learn a foreign language, they do not only memorize the words but also where exactly they are written down in their vocabulary book.


Short fact:

Visual learners achieve the best results with mind maps and flash cards that visualize the information.
This type of learner performs best when describing processes that they can visualize. Topics handled solely in lectures cannot be memorized well.


Just Do It: The Kinesthetic Type

The tactile or kinesthetic type gets the best results when practically applying new knowledge. Such learners have a talent for understanding and memorizing things that they have tried or experienced themselves. They like to disassemble things and put them back together, they love visiting expositions and are never shy to conduct an experiment.

Kinesthetic Type

Short Facts:

The kinesthetic type approaches a topic more easily by creating a model or trying things out.

Tactile types perform best at multiple choice tests and exams that ask for short definitions, while essay writing could be somewhat difficult.


Let’s Have a Talk: The Communicative Type

The communicative learning type has a pronounced talent (and desire!) for social interaction. Communicative learners study most successfully if they discuss topics with their peers. Explanations that are the result of a dialogue are memorized easily. Interpersonal experience, whether in the classroom or in a study group, promises the best result.

Communicative Type

Short fact

This learning type performs best when discussing the material in study groups.
Communicative learners do really well in seminar groups and contribute a lot in interactive classrooms. They are bored by typical lecture “chalk and talk”.


Study with Success: Mix and Match!

Many personality traits that we show as grown-ups can be traced back to what we experienced during our childhood. Did you know, for example, that people who helped with garden work when they were a kid show above-average motivation for learning and also do better at processing new information? Solving 3D jigsaws and doing mental exercises have positive effects as well — and even burns calories!

Numerous studies show that diverse learning methods promise the best results. The more sense an information appeals to, the more likely it is to stay in our memory. So, if, for example, an auditory learner remembers 50% of the information perceived with their ears, additional visual/tactile/communicative comprehension of the material will increase the memorization rate even more.

Only a few people can be unambiguously said to be a particular type of learner. Most of us learn best through different perception channels. Hence it is recommendable to try out different learning methods and develop an individual strategy that fits you well. To find out what type of learner you are, you may take this test. For all visual and auditory learners, we recommend the following video: