Learning Styles

Your approach to study at medical school will have a major impact on your likelihood of success. You have probably heard that different people have different learning styles, and you may have taken any of a number of learning style tests in the past. We suggest that you explore some of the links below, take the tests, and reflect on your results. You may gain some insights about your own learning style that will help you succeed in medical school.

Although all of these instruments may improve your self-knowledge, there is one unavoidable fact of life in medical school: information will come at you quickly, in a variety of forms, and from all directions. To succeed, you must find the best way to process the information as it is, not as you would like it to be. If you are a ‘sensing’ type, you may need to learn the thinking skills of an ‘intuitive’ type. If you are a ‘visual’ learner, you will still need to understand and absorb written texts.

Educational research has shown that:
Passive, surface learners rarely do well in medical school
Active, strategic, deep approaches to learning work best.

In the end, the more capable you are of utilizing the whole range of learning styles, the more successful you are likely to be.

Jung Typology Test, a test created by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung that formed the basis for the Myers Briggs personality test.

Learning Styles Types Indicator, offered by Dr. John Pelley of the Texas Tech University Medical School.

Kolb's Learning Style Inventory, offers a model with a four-stage theory of learning.

VAK (Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic), discusses how material is presented to us and our reactions to it.

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, suggests that we have many different intelligences, not one.

ASSIST —Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students—is a questionnaire that will help define you learning style (Note: go to page 10 first, complete the questionnaire, then read the document from the beginning to score).

Putting the Styles Together, summarizes the various learning styles.