The body of the following cognitive abilities is regarded as particularly important for a successful study. Above all, it is important to combine various skills in order to meet the demands placed on you.
The original meaning of the word 'analysis' in the sense of 'dissolution' already suggests the character of this kind of skill. The focus is on the resolution and decoding of complex facts and contents. Here one means above all the multi-layered penetration of a problem and the ability to break it down into different elements and to classify them or to establish connections between individual components. As with a poetry analysis, in which all components are examined in detail and then put into relation again, these analytical skills are required in every university course. Because it is precisely the task of research to clarify and decipher and prepare complex facts.
The competence to derive and identify something general and generalising from a single phenomenon describes the ability to think abstractly. This also means recognising basic characteristics and tendencies in a concrete example. In history, for example, this would mean deriving characteristics of the thematic complex of revolutions from the French Revolution, which can be regarded as prototypical. The and ability to think abstractly is particularly important in order to gain basic insights through the processing of one or fewer examples, instead of requiring a long and laborious working process. This way of working is especially important during studies, as one often cannot acquire a comprehensive understanding of a complex of topics. Accordingly, the ability to think abstractly is essential for exemplary learning.
A differentiated approach means the perception of the smallest differences down to the smallest detail. Recognising subtleties and nuances enables a subject to be presented in a multi-perspective and polycausal way. Specifically, therefore, it is a matter of replacing the thinking in 'black-and-white categories' that often predominates in everyday life with a more 'sensible grey'. Seldom are topics of any kind, just think of the field of politics, monocausal and one-dimensional. It is precisely the ability to differentiate oneself that is of extraordinary relevance in forming opinions. The sharpening of awareness for the recognition of the smallest differences and a critical attitude towards generalisations characterise a differentiated way of working.
The synthesis is essentially the reverse operation for analysis. Various individual elements are combined to form a whole. It is essential to be able to link individual building blocks with each other. In a poetry analysis, this meant linking the individual components obtained through the analysis in order to construct an overall statement. So it is by no means only about deconstructing problems, but also about constructing new complexes, about gaining knowledge. To discover the unifying character in the multitude describes the ability of synthesising.
Transferability means being able to apply existing knowledge safely to different tasks and to transfer it to new situations. The ability to transfer goes hand in hand with the ability to act, because you can only act confidently and purposefully if you are able to apply and adapt what you have learned. Transferability thus describes the constant practical use of expertise, regardless of how much time has passed since the acquisition of a certain competence. In a university context, transferability is extremely important for you as a student because you are always required to be able to transfer and apply your knowledge to other areas. Again, 'exemplary learning' is relevant here. Often a situation is explained to you on the basis of a certain example and you must then be able to transfer the knowledge gained to a similar situation.
Universities are places of thought. In addition to the 'formal' thought operations described so far, creativity, a very individual characteristic, is also important. Creativity is generally understood as the creation of something new. It is not primarily a matter of creating something extravagant or crazy. Creativity is also profanely related to the ability to solve problems and to discover one’s own ways of gaining knowledge. Of course, there are courses of study where creativity is more in demand than in others, but you should still give your individuality space and preserve the freedom of your thinking.
The ability to express oneself correctly in word and writing is essential to successfully complete a course of study. The success of all examinations, whether written or oral, always depends to a considerable extent on how well you are able to present the content. It is important that you learn the language used at a university, especially for the subjects you are studying. You will need to familiarise yourself with the subject vocabulary. Only then will you be able to really understand subject-specific texts and, on the other hand, to prepare and present content in an appealing way yourself. The ability to express yourself linguistically will enable you to present yourself confidently in the many challenges that are placed on you.