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Improve Your Nursing School Success: Are You an Auditory Learner?

Did you know that you have a very distinctive and unique way that you learn?  In fact, no one else learns in the exact same way that you do!  A learning style has been defined as the way that learners think, comprehend, and retain new information and difficult concepts.  The average individual only uses approximately five to ten percent of the tremendous potential of the brain.  One way to help reach the true potential of your brain is to discover the way in which you learn best. 

In this learning series, you should be able to identify the learning style or styles that best “fit” you and utilize these concepts to enhance your learning.  You may find that although you use more than one learning style, one may seem to better suit you than the others.  This article will focus on the auditory learner. We will explore what the auditory learner looks like, common characteristics of the auditory learner, and strategies that the auditory learner can utilize when studying to boost your self-confidence and your success!

Are you the social butterfly in your class?  Do you gain a sense of relief when the instructor lectures instead of presenting you with a long reading assignment?  Perhaps you are one of those who participates a lot in class.  Do you like to study with music playing?  Well, it could be that you are an auditory learner.  Let’s see!  We will first take a look at the traits that seem to be common among auditory learners.


Simply put, the auditory learner gains information best through listening and speaking.  In fact, auditory learners can recall about 75% of what they hear in a lecture.  So, let’s look at some more specific characteristics of the auditory learner and see how well you relate to this type of learner. 

  • Likes to talk and listen
  • Is good in study groups
  • Talks to self
  • Good at grammar and phonics
  • Prefers verbal directions over written directions
  • Remembers names but tends to forget faces
  • Enjoys music
  • Likes to read to self out loud
  • Reads with whispering lip movements
  • Has difficulty working quietly for long periods of time
  • Cannot concentrate in a noisy environment
  • Questions the instructor and listens to explanations
  • Prefers lectures and discussions
  • Prefers oral reports
  • Struggles to retain information read in books
  • Prefers verbal praise from instructors
  • Repeats facts with eyes closed
  • Is good at explaining

If you happen to possess these traits of an auditory learner and feel that it may be your primary learning style, the following learning strategies may help maximize those great listening skills that you possess.  These are just some simple techniques that can be used when you study and prepare for tests. Some may be familiar to you and others may be new strategies for you to try!  We will start with five of our favorite strategies:

  1.  Incorporate music into your study time       

Auditory learners tend to enjoy music and find that it can be beneficial when studying.  The key here is that you select music without lyrics because as an auditory learner, you can become distracted by the other aspects of the song when words are being sung.  The brain will divert its attention to the words instead of what you are trying to study.

  1. Be an active participant in class                      

Just think, you can be ahead of the study game when you are actively engaged in class, asking and answering!  By listening to the lecture and participating in the discussion, your comprehension and retention can be enhanced.  Your brain will be programed to retain this information and lead to better recall when it comes time to take your test! 

  1. Study with a partner or small group                                     

Studying with a partner can be a great strategy for enhancing learning.  It will help make learning not only easier, but can actually be more fun for auditory learners.  As an auditory learner, simply having a buddy to talk with about the information helps to improve comprehension and retention.  Take turns teaching each other and then ask each other questions about the material.  We now know that teaching what you are trying to learn is one of the best strategies that you can use to retain the information.  If a study partner is not available, teach it to yourself in a mirror, to a family member, or even your pet!   This same principle can be applied to a small group setting.  Just make sure that you stay on task and that it remains a study group instead of a social gathering. 

  1. Read out loud to yourself                     

Reading the information that you are trying to learn to yourself or to others actually allows you to hear the information again.  It may seem a bit odd or strange, but reading out loud or talking the information out loud to yourself when studying has been found to be one of the best learning strategies for auditory learners. When studying, you can send more things into your long-term memory and your brain will make deeper connections if you're not only looking at the information, but also hearing the information as you say it out loud. 

  1. Sing your way to remembering                

If things are difficult to remember, you may find it helpful to make up jingles or tunes as a tool to help you learn. If you are one who can easily remember lyrics to a song, then put that gift to use and create lyrics for your notes.  You may find it helpful to either talk out or sing out mnemonics when learning difficult concepts. 


A few other strategies that we will leave with you that may be helpful include: 

  • Record Lectures
  • Record yourself talking out the notes and re-listen to them
  • Watch videos
  • Develop word association to remember facts
  • Visit professors during office hours to discuss difficult concepts or gain clarification

By recognizing your individual learning style, you can decrease your stress and frustration as you try to master your material.  Utilizing strategies for your unique learning style is not meant to be limiting, but is meant to maximize your true potential! 



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Hidden Talents. (2006). Identifying personal learning styles: About learning styles.

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International Learning Styles Australia. (2010). Auditory learning strategies for people

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Kelly, M. (2017, April 3).  Learning styles: Articles identify three major ways people

                assimilate information. [Thought Co. resource for educators]. Retrieved from      

Law School Toolbox (2013, September 6).  5 study tips for auditory learners. 

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Peterson, D. (2017, Feb. 4) Learning ideas for students with auditory learning styles.

[Thought Co. resource for educators]. Retrieved from

Phonics 101’s Blog (2010, August).  Learning to read with phonics. Retrieved from

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Clip art retrieved from:





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