tips for success

Sometimes we struggle with learning because the way it is delivered is not in our dominant learning preference. 

But learning preferences can be strengthened! Determine your learning preference and use study strategies that can help you succeed in other learning formats. 

Learning Strategies based on VARK preferences

*Chart is adapted from Strategies Matched to VARK Preferences


How you take in information

Make information more learner friendly for you

How to study


  • Hand gestures
  • Charts, graphs
  • Pictures, videos
  • Colour, underlining
  • Replace words with symbols or drawings
  • Look at your pages 
  • Highlight important information
  • Draw things out
  • Practice turning your drawings back into words
  • Write out practice exam answers (don’t just say them in your head)
  • Practice old exam questions.

Aural (hearing)

  • Listen to lectures
  • Engage in discussions
  • Remember interesting stories and jokes
  • Use a tape recorder 
  • Discuss topics with others 
  • Explain new topics to others
  • Expand your notes by talking it out with others 
  • Imagine talking the information out to an examiner
  • Record the thoughts in your head 
  • Practice writing out your answers instead of just saying them 
  • Practice old exam questions

Read/ Write

  • Lists, headings
  • Definitions
  • Handouts, textbooks, notes
  • Write out words again and again
  • Rewrite ideas 
  • Organize diagrams and graphs into statements, explain what it is illustrating 
  • Write out exam answers (terms, definitions, essay responses)
  • Write out your lists and rearrange into hierarchies
  • Practice old exam questions 


  • Learn through personal experiences
  • Hearing stories and experiences from others
  • Case studies, examples, trial and error, field trips
  • Put examples in your notes
  • Relate the topics to your own experiences
  • Use case studies and application activities to help with your understanding 
  • Recall lab experiments, field trips, documentaries 
  • Write out exam answers, paragraphs, prepared essay responses
  • Role play the exam situation in your study area 



Any combination of the above learning preferences. You may need to have the same material presented in several of the modes in order to really learn it.

Most of us are not auditory learners, and lectures can be hard for us to learn.

The following sites provide some tips for maximizing your learning from lectures:

More tips for learning from lectures

Learning from lectures 

Guide for University Learning