Stressed out by exam season? Finding it hard to study and retain information? Figuring out what sort of learner you are can really help you work smart and beat the end of year burnout.

Most people fall into a couple of these categories, so don’t be afraid to overlap and try a couple of these tips to help ace any exam you take.

Visual Learners

I’m a visual learner, so these tips are tried and tested by me!

Mind maps

I find these to be the perfect way to organise your ideas. Try and colour code key words and points, or associate them with specific shapes. Use highlighters and coloured pens, and experiment with visual patterns to help you recall information.


Draw pictures in your notes, as it will help your brain differentiate. Graphs and charts always help too!

However, don’t cram too much information onto the page, as white space is also important to help visual learners retain information. Too many words squashed together will make it harder to read, less interesting to look at, and therefore harder to remember.


Flashcards are great to help you remember important facts, formulas or definitions. Why not make them out of colourful card so specific information is associated with specific colours?


When reading a chapter of a textbook or learning about a concept, summarise the information using bullet points and headings. Make use of pictures and colour here to ensure the page looks interesting and information easier to recall.

Reading/Writing Learners

These learners take in information primarily by taking notes and writing things down.

Take Notes

This might sound obvious, but take lots of notes! Reread and rewrite lecture notes, summarise things from textbooks, write important information out a couple of times so that it sticks in your brain.

Read around the Topic

It’s always important to read widely around a topic and further greater understanding of it. The longer you spend researching the more you understand, and the better your final piece of work will be!


Kinesthetic leaners value a practical, hands-on experience when taking in new information.

Take lots of breaks

Organise your study time into specific periods and take regular scheduled breaks. For example, you could study for 4 minutes and then go on a quick walk for 20, chat to a friend, or even get up from your desk and walk around your bedroom for a bit to clear your head.

Use Mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are a must for kinetic learners, and help to condense topics and terms into easily-remembered, manageable phrases. Think Every Good Boy Deserves Football (to remember the notes of the treble clef). However much fun you might have making up songs or rhymes, try not to say them out loud in the exam…

Study while exercising

This might sound like an unusual one, but studies have shown that it’s a brilliant way for kinesthetic learners to retain information. A fun example could be recording and listening to your notes while on a run.


Auditory learners learn through listening, whether that’s through mnemonics, lectures, podcasts or discussions.

Don’t listen to music

As an auditory learner, listening to music is a sure fire way to stop you from retaining facts! So turn off those lo-fi beats and get the head down…

Record yourself reading your notes

That way you can listen to them on the bus, walking around campus, on the way to an exam and at any convenient point during the day.

Discuss the topics with other people

One of the best ways for auditory learners to really grasp information is to discuss it with others. Make sure to volunteer your thoughts in tutorials and listen to the feedback of your peers, or invite some friends to form a study group.