How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is an important skill that you will need to succeed in life. Being able to think critically will make you a better learner. And as you know, being a good learner is helpful not only in school, but in all aspects of your life! Being a good critical thinker will also help you in the workplace.

The dictionary defines "critical" as "characterized by careful analysis." It also points out that the word critical "implies an attempt at objective judging so as to determine both merits and faults."

In education, the term "critical thinking" describes special teaching and learning methods, used in all sorts of courses. These methods were developed in response to concerns that students were not thinking effectively.

Since then, the term has been incorporated into the titles of many college courses, where it has been substituted for what used to be called philosophy or logic courses. This has caused some controversy, as people dispute the relationship between critical thinking and what is known as "formal logic."

In this article we will take a look at critical thinking as a common-sense term for day-to-day learning and decision making. We will examine what activities are encompassed by critical thinking and apply these activities to thinking critically about a specified topic.

Learning Goals

When you're finished reading this article, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of critical thinking skills
  • Describe several specific ways in which the term "critical thinking" is used currently
  • Learn a 13-step method for thinking critically
  • Use the included Internet links to get additional information about the topics of critical thinking, logic and skepticism