Ask yourself

  • Do you want to work out how your personality type may impact on your study habits?
  • Do you want to work out how to use effective study habits that work best for you?
  • Do you want to work out how to limit your distractions and focus on your study?

Why take this module?

  • You will learn what you need to do to identify study habits that work for you
  • You will learn how to manage your time to fit all your studies in
  • You will discover some tips and tricks to help you limit distractions and focus on studying

What you need to know

If you identify and use study habits that work for you, and learn to ‘self-regulate’ your approach to studying, you can be more efficient and effective in your studies; focus on works for you. Developing good study habits can take time but improves with practice. As students, you need to have both the ‘will’ and the ‘skill’ for successful academic performance (Pintrich, R. R., & DeGroot, E. V. (1990). This module is about helping you identify the best learning strategies that suit your personality type so that you can learn, remember and understand the course materials more efficiently and in more depth.

By the end of this module you will:

  • Have identified your preferred learning style
  • Found out more about what good study habits are
  • Become aware of what may distract you from studying and know what strategies you can use to stop procrastinating and get on with studying
  • Have better time management skills
  • Be prepared to engage in a deeper level of learning to improve your academic success

Video Content

Start by watching one of the following videos

Introduction to Myers Briggs Personality Test

Proven effective study skills

Identifying the right study skills to focus on

Inside the mind of a Master Procrastinator

Tim Urban

Take the Personality Quiz

Take the personality/learning self-assessment quiz – then make a list of study tools that best suit your personality type – you can focus on using these tools from now on.

Step 1: What are your preferences?

Write down the letters that you have selected in the self-assessment grid below and use this code in the tables that follow.

Preference Scale 1 – How do you focus your attention and energy?

Extroversion (E)

  • Like participation and socialisation; motivated by interaction with others
  • Act first and think second
  • Energised by outside world and people
  • Impatient with tedious jobs

Introversion (I)

  • Prefer one-to-one communication and relationships; less comfortable in crowds
  • Think ideas through before speaking/acting
  • Want to understand the world
  • Need time to ‘recharge batteries’ regularly
  My Preference Scale is         E □     or      I □
Preference Scale 2 – How do you take in information, become aware of others and events?

Sensing  (S)

  • Focus on the here and now
  • Observe what is going on all around; with good recall of past events
  • Instinctively use common sense and seek practical solutions to problems
  • Improvise solutions based on past experience
  • Like clear information; dislike unclear facts

Intuition (N)

  • Focus on the future
  • Seek patterns and relationships between facts gathered
  • Trust instinct and imagination to evolve new possibilities
  • Improvise solutions based on theoretical understanding
  • Not fazed by unclear facts or information; guess meaning on information available
  My Preference Scale is         S □     or      N □
Preference Scale 3 – How do you evaluate information, reach conclusions, make decisions?

Thinking (T)

  • Analyse problems and logical impact of decisions objectively
  • Strong principles and need a purpose
  • Frankly honest rather than diplomatic
  • Accept conflict as a norm in dealing with people

Feeling (F)

  • Reach decisions on basis of personal feelings and impact on others
  • Sensitive to needs of others and act accordingly
  • Seek consensus
  • Dislike conflict; intense dislike of tension
  My Preference Scale is         T □     or      F □
Preference Scale 4 – How do you select your lifestyle, relate towards the outside world?

Judging (J)

  • Plan in detail in advance
  • Focus on task, finish and move on
  • Regulate life by routines, date-setting
  • Work best keeping ahead of deadlines

Perceiving (P)

  • Take things as they come, plan on the job
  • Multitask, good in emergencies, flexible and receptive to new information
  • Need flexibility; dislike being boxed in by arrangements
  • Not fazed by time pressure, work best close to deadlines
  My Preference Scale is         J □     or      P □

Step 2: What are your personality characteristics?

Check your personality characteristics from the letter combination that you derived in the previous table.

Step 2: What are the implications for your learning? Make a list of study tools you can try out! 

From the codes see how these traits could impact on the way you learn. Remember, this is just a guide to get you thinking, it does not ‘define’ you in any limiting way. There are no good or bad personality types. These codes are only a guide but could help you think how to adapt to improve your learning strategies.

Note: most learning types would benefit from switching off social media when you’re studying.

Extrovert (E) Introvert (I)
Learn best:

  • By discussion
  • By physical activities
  • By working with others

  • Studying alone
  • Reading, preparing, researching
  • Any solo activity
Learn best:

  • By quiet reflection
  • By reading
  • By listening carefully to lectures

  • Shyness in group discussions
  • Taking time for thinking
  • Fast lecture delivery
Recommendations: study buddying, study as if preparing to teach someone else

Potential study tools:

  • Participate in student discussions
  • Use a standing study space
  • Read out loud (in an appropriate venue!)
  • Study in the library (surrounded by others but avoid distractions!)
  • Find a study-buddy
  • Bribe yourself using a reward for each page/chapter of your reading that you get through
  • Flashcards
  • Use examples/application of theory/concepts to practice
  • Study in short blocks
  • Occupy your hands when studying e.g. use stress balls to help you focus.
Recommendations: contribute to discussions by writing down what you want to say

Potential study tools:

  • Attend lectures and listen again online if this is available
  • Allow sufficient time for the readings, taking notes and consolidating what you’ve learnt
  • Keep well-ordered comprehensive notes
  • Create bullet point lists
  • Translate diagrams and charts into words.
 Sensing (S)  Intuitive (N)
Learn best:

  • If material can be memorised
  • By step-to-step approaches
  • By following practical applications
  • From real-life scenarios


  • Impatient with complex situations
  • Lecturers rapidly covering topics
  • Finding out exactly what is required of them
Learn best:

  • If given theory
  • By focussing on general concepts
  • By using insight not observation
  • Form general outlines

  • Reading instructions thoroughly
  • Lecturers who pace material too slowly (for them)
  • Find repetition/ practice boring
Recommendations: move from familiar facts to abstract concepts; use multimedia techniques for learning

Potential study tools:

  • Watch youtube videos of relevant experts to help consolidate theory/concepts
  • Hand-write notes one or more times (better for memorising)
  • Colour codes notes and topic materials
  • Keep well-ordered comprehensive notes
  • Create bullet point lists, breaking theory/concepts down into components
  • Identify real-life case studies and examples
Recommendations: look for opportunities to use self-instruction modes, e.g. using multimedia

Potential study tools:

  • Mind mapping
  • Collaborate with other students to clarify understanding
  • Skim through materials to gain a broad understanding then re-visit concepts/theories to gain a deeper understanding
 Thinking (T)  Feeling (F)
Learn best:

  • By using objective material
  • When course topics and objectives are clearly defined

  • When lectures seem in illogical order
  • Outlining a logical order e.g. in textbooks and handouts
Learn best:

  • By relating ideas to personal experience
  • By working in small groups
  • By helping others

  • Abstract topics, e.g. those that do not relate to people
  • Lecturers who seem distant and detached
Recommendations: seek guidance/ explanation form lecturer if course appears to lack coherence

Potential study tools:

  • Flashcards
  • Study planner – allow sufficient time for the readings, taking notes and consolidating what you’ve learnt
  • Keep well-ordered comprehensive notes/materials
Recommendations: try to establish rapport with lecturer by asking questions, seeking more explanation. Look for practical examples to explain the theory.Potential study tools:

  • Initiate a dedicated study group with other students
  • Brainstorming with other students
  • Identify relevant case studies
 Judgement (J)  Perceiving (P)
Learn best:

  • Working on one thing at a time
  • Knowing marking criteria

  • Last minute changes in syllabus
  • Timetable changes
Learn best:

  • On tasks that are problem-based
  • When under pressure

  • Procrastination
  • Impulsiveness
Recommendations: Build flexibility into work plans to accommodate unexpected changes. Read the topic guide and ask questions if marking criteria are unclear.Potential study tools:

  • Study planner – Careful time management to focus on assignments individually and meet deadlines
Recommendations: find novel ways to tackle assignments; break longer assignments into smaller sub-tasks

Potential study tools:

  • Mind mapping
  • Use a Study Planner and find a mentor/buddy to keep you accountable

MBTI information adapted from McMillan, K & Weyers, DB 2011, The study skills book, 2nd edn, Pearson, Harlow, England; New York.
Other sources: The Study GurusOnline Study Tools for Students

Take the Study Habits Quiz

Take the quiz – then make a list of study habits you are going to focus on from now on.

Other things to think about:

  • Read and complete the activities in the ‘Learning to Learn’ guide.
  • Work out what is your preferred study environment – The best environment for studying

There are some basic conditions which are widely accepted as being the ideal for individual studying, no matter where the study area or the activity is, or whether you are online or off-line. ALWAYS try to find or set up an area which has:

  • Good ventilation
  • Good lighting
  • Comfortable temperature
  • Space for study materials or computer equipment

Other elements will depend on your learning style and personal preference. For example, it is important to work out the amount of noise which you like or can put up with when studying – do you study best with some noise in the background or with as much quiet as possible?


What is the best time of day for you to study?

Are you most productive in the morning, afternoon or evening? Only you would know how your body clock works – some people are more focussed first thing in the morning, others get more done at night. You may want to program your dedicated study time around when you are most productive and fit everything else around that.


Developing better time management:

  • Identify how you can use your time more effectively
  • Complete the modules on ‘Getting Things Done’ on The Desk.


Developing your self-regulated study skills:

Now that you have identified your preferred learning style, you’re aware of what good study habits are, and you understand the importance of self-reflection and reviewing your approach to study… you’re well on the way to becoming a self-regulated learner… so keep at it!

Remember: self-regulated learning improves with practice, so put a reminder in your phone to review and reflect on your study habits regularly – at least once a month!

Ask yourself: Am I using the right study tools that fit the task or should I try other study tools to be more effective?


Building blocks to success

To learn successfully you need to use opportunities to explore, understand and apply ideas presented in your course. While you might have a preferred learning style – you need to back this up with other ways to build your knowledge and skills – such as lectures, reading etc. The faster you get used to the different learning opportunities available, the more successful you will become. Here’s a quick overview on page 8 of this great guide.

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