The VARK Inventory includes a sixteen-item questionnaire that focuses on how learners prefer to use their senses (hearing, seeing, writing and reading, or experiencing) to learn. The letters in VARK stand for visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic.

To determine your learning style according to the VARK Inventory, respond to the following questionnaire (you can also take the VARK online at vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire).



This questionnaire is designed to tell you about your preferences in working with information. Choose answers that explain your preference(s). Select as many boxes as apply to you. If none of the options applies to you, leave the question blank.

  1. You are helping someone who wants to go to the airport, town center, or railway station. You would:

    1. image go with her.

    2. image tell her the directions.

    3. image write down the directions.

    4. image draw, or show her a map, or give her a map.

  2. You are planning a vacation for a group. You want some feedback from them about the plan. You would:

    1. image describe some of the highlights they will experience.

    2. image use a map to show them the places.

    3. image give them a copy of the printed itinerary.

    4. image phone, text, or e-mail them.

  3. A website has a video showing how to make a special graph. There is a person speaking, some lists and words describing what to do, and some diagrams. You would learn most from:

    1. image reading the words.

    2. image listening.

    3. image watching the actions.

    4. image seeing the diagrams.

  4. You are going to cook something as a special treat for your family. You would:

    1. image cook something you know without the need for instructions.

    2. image ask friends for suggestions.

    3. image look on the Internet or in some cookbooks for ideas from the pictures.

    4. image use a cookbook where you know there is a good recipe.

  5. A group of tourists want to learn about the parks or wildlife reserves in your area. You would:

    1. image talk about, or arrange a talk for them, about parks or wildlife reserves.

    2. image show them maps and Internet pictures.

    3. image take them to a park or wildlife reserve and walk with them.

    4. image give them a book or pamphlets about the parks or wildlife reserves.

  6. You are about to purchase a digital camera or mobile phone. Other than price, what would most influence your decision?

    1. image Trying or testing it.

    2. image Reading the details or checking its features online.

    3. image It is a modern design and looks good.

    4. image The salesperson telling me about its features.

  7. Remember a time when you learned how to do something new. Avoid choosing a physical skill (e.g., riding a bike). You learned best by:

    1. image watching a demonstration.

    2. image listening to somebody explaining it and asking questions.

    3. image diagrams, maps, and chartsvisual clues.

    4. image written instructionse.g., a manual or book.

  8. You have a problem with your heart. You would prefer that the doctor:

    1. image gave you something to read to explain what was wrong.

    2. image used a plastic model to show what was wrong.

    3. image described what was wrong.

    4. image showed you a diagram of what was wrong.


  9. You want to learn a new program, skill, or game on a computer. You would:

    1. image read the written instructions that came with the program.

    2. image talk with people who know about the program.

    3. image use the controls or keyboard.

    4. image follow the diagrams in the book that came with it.

  10. I like websites that have:

    1. image things I can click on, shift, or try.

    2. image interesting design and visual features.

    3. image interesting written descriptions, lists, and explanations.

    4. image audio channels where I can hear music, radio programs, or interviews.

  11. Other than price, what would most influence your decision to buy a new nonfiction book?

    1. image The way it looks is appealing.

    2. image Quickly reading parts of it.

    3. image A friend talks about it and recommends it.

    4. image It has real-life stories, experiences, and examples.

  12. You are using a book, CD, or website to learn how to take photos with your new digital camera. You would like to have:

    1. image a chance to ask questions and talk about the camera and its features.

    2. image clear written instructions with lists and bullet points about what to do.

    3. image diagrams showing the camera and what each part does.

    4. image many examples of good and poor photos and how to improve them.

  13. You prefer a teacher or a presenter who uses:

    1. image demonstrations, models, or practical sessions.

    2. image question and answer, talk, group discussion, or guest speakers.

    3. image handouts, books, or readings.

    4. image diagrams, charts, or graphs.

  14. You have finished a competition or test and would like some feedback. You would like to have feedback:

    1. image using examples from what you have done.

    2. image using a written description of your results.

    3. image from somebody who talks it through with you.

    4. image using graphs showing what you had achieved.

  15. You are going to choose food at a restaurant or café. You would:

    1. image choose something that you have had there before.

    2. image listen to the waiter or ask friends to recommend choices.

    3. image choose from the descriptions in the menu.

    4. image look at what others are eating or look at pictures of each dish.

  16. You have to make an important speech at a conference or special occasion. You would:

    1. image make diagrams or get graphs to help explain things.

    2. image write a few key words and practice saying your speech over and over.

    3. image write out your speech and learn from reading it over several times.

    4. image gather many examples and stories to make the talk real and practical.

Source: The VARK Questionnaire, Version 7.8. Copyright © 2014 held by Neil D. Fleming, Christchurch, New Zealand. Used by permission.

Scoring the VARK


Now you will match up each one of the boxes you selected with a category from the VARK Questionnaire using the following scoring chart (if you opted to take the questionnaire online, the scoring was done for you). Circle the letter (V, A, R, or K) that corresponds to each one of your responses (A, B, C, or D). For example, if you marked both B and C for question 3, circle both the V and R in the third row.

Responses to Question 3: A B C D
VARK letter K image image A

Count the number of each of the VARK letters you have circled to get your score for each VARK.

Scoring Chart

Question A Category B Category C Category D Category
1 K A R V
2 V A R K
3 K V R A
4 K A V R
5 A V K R
6 K R V A
7 K A V R
8 R K A V
9 R A K V
10 K V R A
11 V R A K
12 A R V K
13 K A R V
14 K R A V
15 K A R V
16 V A R K
Total number of Vs circled = ______ Total number of As circled = ______
Total number of Rs circled = ______ Total number of Ks circled = ______

Because you could choose more than one answer for each question, the scoring is not just a simple matter of counting. It is like four stepping stones across some water. Enter your scores from highest to lowest on the stones in the figure below, with their V, A, R, and K labels.



Your stepping distance comes from this table:

The total of my four VARK scores is My stepping distance is
16–21 1
22–27 2
28–32 3
More than 32 4

Follow these steps to establish your preferences:

  1. Your first preference is always your highest score. Check that first stone as one of your preferences.

  2. Subtract your second-highest score from your first. If that figure is larger than your stepping distance, you have a single preference. Otherwise, check this stone as another preference and continue with Step 3.

  3. Subtract your third score from your second one. If that figure is larger than your stepping distance, you have a strong preference for two learning styles (bimodal). If not, check your third stone as a preference and continue with Step 4.

  4. Subtract your fourth score from your third one. If that figure is larger than your stepping distance, you have a strong preference for three learning styles (trimodal). You may also find that you prefer the four learning styles equally. Otherwise, check your fourth stone as a preference, and you have all four modes as your preferences!

Note: If you are bimodal or trimodal or you have checked all four modes as your preferences, you can be described as multimodal in your VARK preferences.



Did your VARK score surprise you at all? Did you know what type of learner you were before using this tool? If so, when did you discover this? How do you use your learning style to your benefit? Be prepared to discuss your results and reflections with the class.

Using VARK Results to Study More Effectively


Meet Trevor, an accomplished soccer player who has just been recruited to play on his college’s soccer team. After two years, Trevor plans to transfer to a nearby university, where he hopes to continue playing soccer. In Trevor’s college success course, he took the VARK and learned that he is a kinesthetic learner. This was welcome news. Trevor had always thought he was just a slow learner, but he found that he struggled mainly when the material he listened to or read didn’t seem related to the real world. He began asking instructors to give real-world examples as part of their lectures, and when he studied he worked hard to apply course content to his personal experiences to make it relevant. This was easier for some courses than for others, but Trevor began making a habit of connecting academic material to his worldboth present and past. Trevor’s experience and his improved grades convinced several of his instructors to make real-world application part of their courses to meet the needs of students who, like Trevor, are kinesthetic learners.

Considering how taking the VARK benefited Trevor, how can knowing your VARK score help you do better in your college classes? Table 4.1 offers suggestions for using learning styles to develop your own study strategies. To succeed in college, you need to develop various study habits that may not be in line with your preferred learning style. A successful student is one who can adapt to various teaching styles. It would be a good idea to consider each of the courses you are currently taking. Which of the learning styles we discuss above might best describe how each instructor is presenting the course material and what she/he expects you to master? Given the learning style preferences that you have identified by taking the VARK, what adjustments might you have to make? For example, if your instructor in U.S. history only lectures (no video, no discussion, no interactive activities), you could reasonably conclude that the ideal fit between this instructor and you as a learner would be if your preferred learning style was “aural,” meaning you process best what you hear. But if instead you are a kinesthetic learner, you need to actively take notes while you are listening to the lecture. Go through this kind of analysis for each course you are taking.

Visual Aural Read/Write Kinesthetic
Underline or highlight your notes. Talk with others to make sure your lecture notes are accurate. Write and rewrite your notes. Use all your senses in learning: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing.
Use symbols, charts, or graphs to display your notes. Record lectures (with permission) or record yourself reading your notes aloud and listen to either or both. Read your notes silently. Add to your notes with real-world examples.
Table 4.5: Table 4.1 > Study Strategies by VARK Learning Style
Bodies in Motion The theater arts have strong appeal for kinesthetic learners who prefer to learn through experience and practice.
Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images