For many students, VARK is all they need to begin reassessing how they study.

August 19, 2014
For many students, VARK is all they need to begin reassessing how they study.

I believe finding one’s learning style is imperative to academic success.
I have used other learning style assessment tools, including more complex and costly assessments like the LSI. But, I prefer the VARK for an intake assessment because it takes students only a few minutes to complete, it’s extremely straightforward, scoring is simple and doesn’t require a professional to interpret it, and the student can begin applying the learning style outcomes by him/herself immediately. For many students, VARK is all they need to begin reassessing how they study.
Case in point, last semester I worked with a pre-med freshman named Sarah. Sarah was referred to me by a faculty member. The professor knew she was bright, but couldn’t figure out why she kept failing exams. After talking to her about her study methods, I discovered that Sarah had learned to study only by using rote memorization. When she got to college, she became overwhelmed and found she couldn’t keep up with the workload using this technique. She became depressed and considered changing her major. At midterms, she was getting Ds in chemistry and biology – subjects she truly loved. After giving her the VARK questionnaire, we discovered that she was a very strong aural learner. So, we completely changed her approach to studying and set her up with study groups and peer tutors, so she could orally review course content. By the end of the semester, she’d pulled her Ds up to a B+ in chemistry and an A- in biology. This semester she is off to an excellent start and has even begun tutoring other students.
Sarah and many other students like her are the reason I’d like all of our tutees to take the VARK questionnaire before they receive tutoring assistance. I think it will help the tutors to know what a tutee’s learning style is before meeting with him/her. This way we can better structure our tutoring sessions to a tutee’s needs. Since VARK is the only learning style assessment that I have found which is truly user-friendly, our tutors and tutees can use it without a lot of professional oversight. This will allow our students to help one another more easily and effectively.
So, thanks again for creating such a useful tool! I am confident that our students will only benefit from using it.