Gender differences in learning styles and academic performance of medical students in Saudi Arabia

Med Teach. 2013;35 Suppl 1:S78-82. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.765545.


Rationale: Teachers at medical school are often faced with challenges of improving student satisfaction with the learning environment. On the other hand, education in the medical field is very competitive and medical students are exposed to diverse methods of teaching. Students adapt specific learning styles to keep pace with the information delivered to them in their institutions.

Objective: The aim of this study is to know the differences in learning styles between male and female students, and the effect it has on academic performance.

Method: The VARK Questionnaire version 7.0 (Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic) was administered to the fourth year and fifth year medical students at King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia for determining the preferred learning methods of students participating in this study. The learning styles were then compared to cumulative grade point average (GPA) obtained by the students.

Result: The dominant learning style preference of students was multimodal. Among students who preferred unimodal preference, aural and kinesthetic preference was predominant for males and females. Moreover, Females had more diverse preferences than male students. Multimodal learners have higher cumulative GPAs when compared with the unimodal learners.

Conclusion: This study revealed variation in learning style preferences among genders, and its implications on academic performance of medical students.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Educational Measurement*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires