Are you right- or left-handed? Chances are you’ve been able to answer that question since the age of 7. What if I asked students in online degree programs a similar question: Are you right- or left-brained? Stumped? No need to be.

Much like when it comes to using your hands, you use both right and left, but you’re more comfortable with one over the other. The same could be said for your brain. Simply put, whichever half of the brain you “are” is the dominant side you use more often.

This infographic breaks it down in a much more visually appealing way.

To try a quick way to figure out which “brain” you are, review this list and decide if you agree with the statements.

  • Everything has its place, and every place has its thing.
  • You make decisions after careful consideration.
  • Being in a quiet setting is the best way to study.

Agree with the above statements? You’re most likely left-brained. This means you process information in a linear, sequential and logical manner.

Did you disagree with every one of those statements? You’re most likely right-brained. You prefer holistic, concrete and intuitive learning.

To be sure if right or left is your dominant side, take the Hemispheric Dominance Inventory or the Right Brain/Left Brain Quiz.

Whichever side of the brain is your most dominant, chances are you’ll have a class you struggle with (the teacher just doesn’t “get” you). To overcome that, take the learning qualities you exhibit and focus more sharply on your strengths.

If you’re left-brained:

  • Study in a quiet space. Any place that’s too loud will just distract and irritate you.
  • “Just the facts, ma’am.” Focus more on the hard facts than the superfluous details to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Names, dates, etc., are your cup of tea, so use that to your advantage.
  • If you have to write a paper, make sure you go from the beginning to the middle to the end. Jumping around from place to place will make the writing process more difficult.
  • Master your lists. You like doing things in order, so having a to-do list (arranged in order of importance) will help you keep track of assignments. With how organized you are naturally, this shouldn’t be an issue.

If you’re right-brained:

  • Use your intuition. Memorizing specific facts might make multiple choice questions a challenge (you prefer looking at things from the big picture, after all), so instead, go with your gut if a question seems like it has several answers.
  • Write down directions. You’re a multitasker, so working on several things simultaneously is the norm. To ensure you don’t mix up priorities (or worse, forget about something altogether) write down the directions for each assignment.
  • Make your notes work for you. If you have a teacher who lives for lectures, make sure you organize your notes in a way that works for you. In a science class, for example, use one color ink for definitions, another for dates, etc. If tables and charts are given as an example, get them down in your notes. This should help your comprehension levels of the subject.

Just because you learn one way, and your professor teaches the opposite way doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Familiarize yourself with how you learn, channel your inner Tim Gunn and “make it work.”

For those who were curious, I’m weird. I’m “mid-brained.” Per, about.com, “You are open-minded but not gullible about things or people. You may run into making decisions sometimes, while your logical brain plays tug-of-war with your gut instinct…” Sounds about right to me.

What about you? Which hemisphere is your dominant one? What helps you study? Inquiring minds want to know!

About the author: Lindsey Leesmann, Communications Specialist at Grantham University, received her Bachelor of Science – Print Journalism from Missouri State University, Springfield. Prior to her current role, she served as a Student Advisor in the Multidisciplinary Studies and Masters Degree programs.