This study considers the relationship between students approaches to learning, as measured by a shortform of Entwistle and Taits (1995) Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory (RASI), the Big Five personality factors, as measured by Cattells 16PFi, and the background variables of age, gender and prior educational achievement and academic performance. Subjects were 146 social science undergraduate students at a university in Scotland. Structural equation modelling identifies the Big Five personality factor scores account for between 22.7% and 43.6% of the variance across scores on the three approach to learning dimensions. Four of the Big Five personality factors and the three approach to learning dimensions were found to be poor predictors of academic performance. A linear regression analysis with academic performance as the dependent variable and age, prior educational attainment and conscientiousness as independent variables, accounted for 24.1% of the variance in performance. Our investigation suggests approach to learning is a subset of personality. However, we conclude it makes sense to measure these two groups of variables separately in educational settings.