Student working on a machineWe all learn in different ways and the way you prefer to learn will be influenced by your genetic make-up, your previous learning experiences, your culture, and society.

Understanding your personal learning preferences will help you to maximise your potential at university.

  • Do you like getting involved with hands-on activities?
  • Do you like trying new things?
  • Do you like being busy with lots of different activities, events and projects?
  • Do you like putting your learning into application?
  • Do you prefer fact over opinion?
  • Are you a logical person, who likes a clear plan?
  • Do you enjoy solving practical problems?
  • Do you like getting things done?
  • Do you like to sit back and think about what you have learnt?
  • Do you like to have all the information available before drawing any conclusions?

There are different questionnaires and theories around learning styles and personality types and the Careers Service will be able to give you more information if you would like access to them.

You could also try speaking to friends about their preferences and techniques to get some ideas of what will work for you. Here are some comments from students about how they prefer to learn. See which of these you can relate to:

Information blocks

"I found that University is a different style of teaching so the methods I used to learn school material just didn't work as well when I got to University so its all about trying different ways to find the best way for you. Personally I makes notes in a lecture of anything the lecturer says that isn't on the slides and then for revision notes make a super condensed version of just the key points I would want to bring out in an exam. Paperless is definitely the way to go with this as well, it's surprising how much revision you can get done just reading notes on the tube on the way to or from Uni."

- Rhys Smith
  ICSM Academic Affairs Officer Clinical Years, 2016-17

"The difficulty in my course is dealing with complex mathematics (or more regularly, simple mathematics in complex situations). Therefore, mastering the ability to read a problem and know how to think to solve it is vital. I find that reading a section of notes as revision, and then doing relevant problem sheets to test my understanding works well."

- Tom Wheeler
  President, Imperial College Union, 2014-15