Thinking outside the box can mean visualizing the mental tools used for building ideas, arguments, and essays as the contents of a study’ toolbox.’

Studying at any level and for any purpose can be an immense and overwhelming experience. The overload of information, exposure to resources, and demand for fresh thinking is an exhausting experience aurally, visually, and mentally. Finding strategies to deal with everything you need to learn can be a slow process. One helpful method is conceptual and visual: the idea is to think about how you collect, organize and use your study material mentally as a visual image. It can help control and cement your creative processes and information accumulation and give you a clear handle on what you need to use to accomplish study tasks and achieve academic goals.

Using an Ideas Tool Box for Writing and Study

By studying, you are building and filling a conceptual academic toolbox. Take the time to visualize it for a moment, and think about the tools you’re putting into it.

These tools are the:

  • Concepts
  • Methodologies
  • Key terms
  • Thinking/writing/creating processes
  • Information

You acquire when studying. They are not only the essential elements of what you’re learning, but they are also the strategies that help you check.

Some tools are essential: you’ll use them constantly, and they will become very familiar to you.

Some will be specialist tools: you’ll hang on to them to learn about and use later for specific, focused tasks.

Some tools are a fad or will not suit you personally: it’s good to know of them, but lay them aside if they’re not useful.

A proper definition, a core concept, a particular thinking process, and an introduction to a specific topic – these are the tools you will use to build an argument, construct an essay or report, or fill in the gaps of an exam.

Your study toolbox is extensive, and like any builder’s kit, you will regularly add new tools and replace or update old ones to finish projects more successfully or efficiently. As a craftsman, the sense of yourself physically building something from mental tools is a way to gain intellectual control over tasks and information.

And consciously creating and stocking an ideas toolbox for yourself in your head is the most beneficial study aid you’ll ever possess.


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