Unit 3: Studying with Your Strengths

Go back over the work you did in Unit 1, especially your results from the Thinking Styles website. Were you a Legislative, Executive, or Judicial thinker? (If you would like to review the categories, click here.)

Each type of thinker has particular strengths and weaknesses when it comes to studying. Here are some brief suggestions, depending on the type of thinker you are.

Legislative Thinkers

Your Strengths: As a legislative thinker, you probably most enjoy the challenge of creative thinking. When you begin a unit, start looking for creative ways to use what you are learning. Keep these in your notes, whether or not they seem practical. As you read, jot down your ideas next to those in your textbook. Looking for new ways to use the information, solve problems, answer questions, and meet challenges will help you learn the material, perfect your own understandings, and keep yourself motivated.

Your Challenge: As a legislative thinker, you might get bored with trying to think analytically and practically. That's why it is important to be creative first. Once you have some ideas of your own, you can begin using analytical and practical exercises to test your own ideas. If you run into problems, discover new information, or it looks like something you originally considered won't work, go back to your original idea and modify it. Remember, part of being creative is testing your ideas to see if they work (analytical reflection) and deciding how to implement them (practical thinking). Use the material you are studying to help you do this.

Executive Thinkers

Your Strengths: As an executive thinker, you probably most enjoy the challenge of practical thinking. You like clear expectations and knowing how and where to apply what you have learned. While everyone should make sure they understand their instructor's expectations, it will especially helpful for you to stop and take some time to make sure you understand what your instructor finds important. Start your studies with a clear focus on your goals! Then, use the practical exercises first, or exercises like them. This will help you learn the material, perfect your own understandings, and keep yourself motivated.

Your Challenge: As an executive thinker, you might get frustrated with trying to think analytically and creatively. What does all the analysis and creativity have to do with actually completing your work? Remember, however, that not every problem or situation has clearly defined rules and all the complexities may not be obvious. Using the analytical and creative exercises (or forming a study group with those are more comfortable with analytical and creative thinking) can help broaden your perspective, understand the bigger picture, and improve your performance in ways you might not initially imagine.

Judicial Thinkers

Your Strengths: As a judicial thinker, you probably most enjoy the challenge of analytical thinking. You like taking apart what others say, looking at their evidence, and deciding whether or not their reasons are sound. You should begin your work by looking critically and analytically at your readings, using exercises such as the one in your sample Digital Notebook. This will help you learn the material, perfect your own understandings, and keep yourself motivated.

Your Challenge: As a judicial thinker, you might get frustrated with trying to think practically and creatively. Remember, however, that analyzing problems, questions, and arguments is only one step to solving and implementing them. Once you know the problem, how can you solve it? How would you implement the solution in a way that meets the expectations? Using the practical and creative exercises (or forming a study group with those are more comfortable with analytical and creative thinking) can help broaden your perspective, understand the bigger picture, and improve your performance in ways you might not initially imagine.