College Major Assessment: Examining MBTI® Writing Styles for College

Leon Jesmanowicz, Vice-PresidentCollege Prep, MBTI

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student studying for a college major assessmentThe College students of today face a highly competitive environment where there never seems to be enough time to catch up on everything that needs to get done.  Outside of studying for tests, a college student will spend a large amount of their collegiate time writing papers and reports. Keeping this in mind, it is in a college students’ best interest to find their optimal writing style in order to make the writing process as efficient and enjoyable as possible. All 16 MBTI® types are capable of writing clearly and well, but they each have different methods of doing so. One way to find out your writing type is by taking a college major assessment. Today we will discuss eight different writing approaches based on the eight primary preferences of the MBTI dichotomies.

Before going over the specifics of each writing approach it is good to heed an important bit of college writing advice.  We all have different preferred writing types, but when it comes to writing for a letter grade from a professor, it is important to take into account your professors expectations.  A good strategy is to first trust your preferred style and use the techniques you need in order to get yourself writing and past any “writer’s block”. When you approach your final draft(s) revise your paper according to your instructor’s expectations.  Often times, minor revisions can maximize the chances of a positive response from the teacher in question.

The eight MBTI preferences (Extraversion, Introversion, Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, Feeling, Judging, and Perceiving) each have a specific writing approach. You can use the techniques of any one or more preferences to effectively write your papers and get over any obstacles.  For example, if the MBTI test told you that your type is ISFP, you may use the techniques associated with Introversion and Sensing for a technical paper that you need to write. You can think of the different styles as tools that you can use depending on the type of paper you need to write. The eight different writing styles are:

Extraverison Preference – The Active Writer

 Students who have a preference for extraversion utilize a writing style called the Active Writer style.  They like to talk about the theme of the paper before beginning to write. Once started, they will leap right into writing, basing their writing on their experience. Active Writers also tend to take breaks for outer stimulation whenever they feel like they are losing motivation.

Introversion Preference – The Reflective Writer

The Reflective Writer approaches writing a lot differently than the Extraverted Active Writer. They will jot down ideas for their papers before starting and then base the writing off of those notes. Reflective writers will also take breaks to think ahead of what they will write. The right environment is also very important to a Reflective Writer and they prefer a quiet atmosphere where they will not be interrupted.

Sensing Preference – The Realistic Writer

Students that prefer the Sensing preference use the Realistic writing style. They will identify a format that worked for the in the past and use it as a basis for their writing. They report factual information in a clear, simple, and direct way. Realistic Writers also focus on the basic mechanics of their writing and make sure to adhere to the strict instructions that they were given for the given paper or project.

Intuition Preference – The Imaginative Writer

Those that have a preference for Intuition tend to use the Imaginative writing style. Imaginative Writers like to discuss concepts and implications in their writing. They also like to try out new approaches and are not afraid of change.  Imaginative Writers also find joy in attending to the interesting complexities that emerge when using new approaches. Their writing is creative and subtle.

Thinking Preference – The Analytical Writer

The Analytical Writer always strives to be objective in their writing. They want their writing to have a predictable flow based off of logical organization. They will often have the focus of their writing be on critically analyzing an argument. The goal of their writing is guided by criteria for a “competent” end product.

Feeling Preference – The Personal Writer

Personal Writers, not surprisingly, like to communicate their personal viewpoints within their writing. They make a habit of enlivening their content with human examples that brings their writing to life. They have a knack for anticipating the reader’s reaction to their writing and use this information to create a sense of flow and an overall feeling tone.

Judging Preference – The Decisive Writer

The Decisive Writer likes to start their writing by quickly narrowing options and deciding on their topics without too much back-and-forth over-analysis. They have a set schedule that they follow through completion. Decisive Writers like to work from present materials, and they don’t like splitting their time, preferring instead to focus on one project at a time.

Perceiving Preference – The Inclusive Writer

The Inclusive Writer likes to write with an inherent freedom to move from project to project.  It’s not uncommon for an Inclusive writer to be working on numerous projects at a time and they primarily use deadlines to motivate the completion of one project over another. This flexibility also works itself into their writing.  They like to stay flexible and keep their topic options open when possible. Inclusive writers also tend to spend a sizeable amount of time searching for related facts or ideas during a writing project.

If you would like to find out which writing style fits your personality best then you can start by figuring out your personality type through taking the MBTI test. Cross reference your four letter type with the eight writing preferences in order to help make your college writing experience smooth and enjoyable.


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[MBTI writing-based information was taken from the following publication: (Hammer & Ditiberio, 1993, CPP Inc.)]