VARK — Auditory

I recently wrote a post about the VARK theory, or different types of learners: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. I later wrote a post detailing visual learners and some techniques that would help a visual learner be more productive.

Auditory learners are learners who utilize videos, recordings, and explanations in learning. They prefer to see hear rather than see.

You might be an auditory learner if:

l You prefer read texts out loud to yourself.

l You memorize by reciting information out loud.

l You’re able to make good notes of information you’ve heard.

l You perform better on oral exams than written ones.

l You prefer working with background noise.


You might have identified with one or two of those characteristics, or you might have found that they all describe you perfectly. If you feel like you might be an auditory learner, here are some strategies you can use to increase your productivity and be the best learner you can be.

l Find a study group. Having someone explain the information to you might help you understand it better.

l Read texts out loud.

l Try using songs or raps to remember lists or difficult information.

l Make a study playlist with songs that make you feel energized. Listen to it while you work. Sing along if you want to!

l Always have a video handy that goes with your material

Auditory learners are not better or worse than any other type of learner, they’re simply different. If a teacher doesn’t know how to get through to you, someone else might.


AP Self Study

My high school is quite small, less than 200 students, and as a result, our options for AP courses are quite limited due to a very small pool of interest.
And so, I’ve decided to take an AP course on my own! I’m doing AP Psychology and I’ll register to take the AP final through my school, which is a registered testing center, in May with the rest of my AP exams.
Now, there aren’t many courses you can take on your own. Scientific courses, like physics or chemistry, require teachers. They’re quite heavy and demanding, and can be quite stressful for a student learning on their own.
Social science courses and languages are a bit easier to learn independently. History, psychology, geography, and the like.
The most important things when learning a course alone: dedication and practice tests!
Without a teacher to assign deadlines and push forward on tasks, it can be easy to push the workload away in favor of other, more demanding tasks. If you choose to do this on your own, you need to stay focused. Dedication is key.
Another thing you won’t get from a teacher is practice and answers to your questions. You will need to find up to date practice tests from credible sources that give you answers as well so you can check your progress.
The College Board has great resources on their website ( but it can’t hurt to use additional, credible resources.
In terms of learning the actual lessons, edX and Coursera are great online resources. If you’re looking for a textbook, I recommend McGraw Hill’s 5 Steps to a 5 series. They have books for a range of AP courses and some of them come with practice tests, as well as study tips and what to expect from an AP exam.
Deciding to self-study for an AP course is a huge commitment. Do your research, find your materials, and make sure you’re capable. Time management is essential.


The VARK Model

I love taking neat, color-coded notes. I have a friend who can’t study sitting down. Every student learns differently; no one is equal to or better or worse than another.

The VARK Model describes the 4 most common types of learners: visual learners, auditory learners, reading & writing learners, and kinesthetic learners.

Very rarely does a student identify with just one method of learning. Often times students are a mix of two or more. Sometimes students can be sort of 60-40, leaning more toward one method than another.

Visual learners learn by seeing things in front of them. Maps, diagrams, PowerPoint presentations, these are all examples of mediums that work well when teaching a visual learner. Visual learners may not enjoy working in groups, but, when given the proper methods and tools, are able to work just as efficiently as a team of students.

Auditory learners learn by hearing. These learners learn well when someone talks or explains a concept to them, rather than reading it out of a textbook themselves. Videos and lectures are good for students like this. When reading a text, auditory learners may read it out loud to themselves to facilitate comprehension, and prefer not to take notes during classes.


Reading and writing learners, on the other hand, love taking notes. These learners learn best when they’re writing out the information or reading it to themselves. They prefer to have written instructions and can get annoyed if someone insists on explaining a concept verbally.

Kinesthetic learners tend to be students who are athletic. They’re completely hands-on learners. Kinesthetic learners remember lessons better if they’re able to practice it with movements. Lab experiments, drawings, and interactive games are some good ways to get through to a kinesthetic learner. Kinesthetic learners may get fidgety and disruptive if made to sit still for a long period of time. They might have trouble focusing on a task that does not allow them to move.

Teachers who cannot teach all types of students are bad teachers. Teachers who do not recognize that students are not all the same are bad teachers. There is no right or wrong way to learn, as long as the student is comfortable and able to grasp the lesson.