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Mr Chen's anecdotes.

Strategies to Become a Student who can Exercise Critical Thinking Effectively

As students, we've often been told that we need to think critically. Yet how many of us actually know what critical thinking means, and how to even become an effective critical thinker?

Here are 7 ways that can help you become a better critical thinker.

1. Ask Questions

Start by questioning the information presented to you in your textbooks, notes, and other learning materials. Ask yourself why something is true, how it's relevant, and whether there are alternative perspectives. Think through the arguments, evidence, and assumptions presented. In other words, read and absorb information analytically. Don't just passively absorb the information.

My favourite way of getting students to think is by asking them this:

"What do you think is the author's (or your teacher's) intention for writing something in this way?"

2. Engage Actively in Class

Students in Asian cultures tend to shy away from engaging actively in class. We tend not to ask questions, contribute to discussions, or challenge ideas for the fear of making mistakes.

Not engaging actively in class is the biggest mistake of all.

Participating in class helps you understand the material better by encouraging you to analyse and evaluate information in real-time.

3. Seek Diverse Perspectives

Expose yourself to a wide range of perspectives on any given topics. This could involve reading articles from different sources, discussion and debating of ideas with classmates, teachers, or tutors, or watching experts speak about the topic. In other words, practice cross-referencing.

Make full use of the resources available to you. We are living in the information age, and that makes good, credible materials readily available.

4. Develop Problem-Solving Skills

The first step to developing problem-solving skills is to have the right mindset, by approaching your assignments, homework and projects as opportunities to solve problems creatively.

When encountering a complex problem, consider breaking it down into smaller parts or to look at different approaches to solve the problem.

5. Practice Reflection

Take time to reflect on your own thinking process and learning experiences. Consider what strategies were effective, what challenges you faced, and how you can improve your critical thinking skills moving forward.

By doing so, you can identify what worked for you and what didn't.

6. Write Analytically

Writing is a powerful tool for developing critical thinking skills. It forces your brain to make connections and to structure your thoughts into coherent themes.

For instance, rather than making notes, force yourself to write marginalia instead. Use 10 words or less to describe what the main point of a sentence was, or what you've understood from the sentence.

7. Practice Regularly

Like any other skill, critical thinking improves with practice. Make a conscious effort to incorporate critical thinking into your daily revision, whether it's reading, writing, discussing, or problem-solving.

A sign that says take a little time to think

Are you ready to become a student who can exercise critical thinking effectively?

By incorporating the above strategies into your daily study routine, you can enhance your critical thinking skills as a student and better prepare yourself for academic success and lifelong learning.

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