The Nerd Side Of Life

Improve Your Study Strategy With Higher-Order Thinking Skills

As students progress through education levels, they have to develop new study strategies to be able to meet the requirements of a curriculum that gets more and more rigorous every year. It means building higher-order thinking skills. 

In high school or college, you can no longer use the read and retell learning strategy to do homework. Instead, you’ll need more meaningful engagement with the material. It involves understanding ideas, comparing and contrasting them in unconventional ways, categorizing and making connections between facts, examining their value, and using the drawn conclusions to create. This is why higher-order thinking is an inherent part of quality education.

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How Higher-Order Thinking Helps You Study

Education isn’t about accumulating knowledge. Your goal is to learn how to work with the information you get in school and apply it to solve problems. Higher-order thinking makes it possible. 

Have you ever considered how many thinking processes you apply when crafting a basic essay? You need to:

  • show knowledge of the subject by introducing and explaining factual evidence;
  • build connections between ideas;
  • evaluate evidence;
  • offer analysis of the subject matter;
  • approach a problem from a unique perspective;
  • use what you’ve learned to synthesize an argument.

All these processes require higher-order thinking. Thus, if you want to perform better in school, work on widening your thinking patterns.

Reevaluate your attitude to coursework. You’ll need to exercise deep thinking even when you’re working on simple tasks like readings and taking notes. It’ll help you push your understanding deeper and approach learning material from new angles. Grading rubrics for most written assignments include higher-order thinking as criteria for good and excellent grades. Therefore, by learning more about these skills, you’ll understand how your professors assess papers.

Consider the following sample assignments that require students to use higher-order thinking:

  • write an alternative ending to Romeo and Juliet;
  • analyze motives behind the actions of Mr. Heathcliff;
  • compare and contrast social and political institutions;
  • design a new product that will make student lives better.

If you’re struggling with these types of assignments, we have good news for you. You can use a domyessay reviews and get a paper with substantive analysis and evaluation. Besides, like any other skill, higher-order thinking can be developed. If you practice long enough and learn from drafts delivered by qualified writers, you’ll increase your skill level in no time.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Let’s take a closer look at higher-order thinking development based on the updated Bloom’s Taxonomy. It was first developed by Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues in 1956. The taxonomy included six categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. In 2001, Anderson and Krathwohl revised it, removing Synthesis and adding Creation as the highest cognitive process. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a comprehensive framework for embracing deeper levels of thinking. 


The basic level of thinking skills is remembering. It involves the ability to memorize and recall information like dates, concepts, formulas, terms, and definitions. At this level, assignments don’t require anything more than direct answers to questions. 

Action verbs: Define, Recognize, Find, List, and Match. 

How to develop: To remember information, you can use basic study methods like flashcards, lists, reading notes, diagrams, etc. 


Understanding is more profound than remembering. It requires students to understand the main idea of the learning material. It means they’re able to interpret, explain, and summarize it in their own words. Assignments that aim to check understanding remain straightforward, but they may allow different interpretations. This level is a transition from lower- to higher-order thinking. 

Action verbs: Interpret, Classify, Explain, Exemplify, and Summarize.

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How to develop: Study methods that work well to improve understanding include discussions, writing summaries of chapters, and creating comparison tables.


At this level, students have to think critically to apply their knowledge in order to solve a particular problem. It involves creating methods and strategies based on previously learned material. Assignments that involve application usually have more than one possible answer.

Action verbs: Execute, Implement, Examine, Experiment, and Modify.

How to develop: To practice application skills, focus on practice exercises and write how-to guides. 


Analysis involves the ability to break down concepts and examine their components. It helps to identify structures and connections between ideas. 

Action verbs: Determine, Organize, Attribute, Illustrate, Select, and Transform.

How to develop: To become better at analysis, look at the subject matter from different angles, classify contributing factors, and categorize concepts.


Evaluation is based on one’s ability to make judgments based on facts and evidence. It involves assessing whether an argument or opinion responds to certain criteria, rubrics, or standards. Assignments that involve evaluation usually have no right or wrong answers as they’re based on one’s individual perception of a situation or experience.

Action verbs: Check, Critique, Argue, Defend, Judge, and Verify.

How to develop: To make objective judgments, learn to build and present arguments, write essays, and participate in discussions. 


The highest level of thinking skills is associated with the ability to form new understandings and offer innovative solutions. It involves putting different components together to create something new. This process has no limits as you can create anything you want and apply any combinations of components.

Action verbs: Generate, Produce, Create, Device, Build, and Lead.

How to develop: To learn how to create, work on projects, practice storytelling, design products, and experiment. 

The Bottom Line

As a student, you need to work on improving your study habits by integrating higher-order thinking into them. As you move on to sophisticated learning materials, you’ll have to do much more than memorizing and understanding information. Effective learning involves the ability to analyze, evaluate, and apply knowledge to be able to create something new and innovative. 

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