It goes without saying that people differ in how they approach a learning task. Each individual's learning style is how that person best absorbs and processes information. There is no "right" style, since different circumstances can give different styles an advantage. Furthermore, learning styles have several dimensions--including social, sensory, and organizational elements.
Before you begin studying, it is good to find out what kind of learner you are. How much and how easily you learn will in part depend on whether your study strategies are suited to your learning style.
Learning Style Assessments
Most people have a tendency to consistently use one of their senses--especially vision, hearing, or touch--more than the others when they need to learn something new. To evaluate your sensory preference, complete one or more of the following tests:
Most people tend to use one side of their brain more than the other. This is called hemispheric dominance. For example, people who are extremely good with details are thought to be "left-brained" (analytical) processors, while many artists and people who frequently speak in metaphors are considered "right-brained" or global processors. The following instrument purports to assess your tendency to be right- or left-brained in the way you approach information and problems.
Your overall personality also influences the way you study and learn. For example, some people prefer cramming the night before a test with other people in the class, while others like studying by themselves at a regular time every day. Personality is sometimes called temperament. To understand your own personality, complete the following assessment.
Multidimensional assessments integrate each of the above aspects of learning style and may include additional factors. For example, one's level of intelligence and ability to learn are highly correlated; therefore, inventories of multiple intelligences (such as the ones developed by Gardner and Bishop) are in effect assessments of learning style.
The hyperlinks listed above give you hints about the ways you prefer to absorb and process information. Now that you have taken at least one of each type of test and reviewed the results, visit the Learning Strategies page and compare your learning style with some study strategy options.