With the math, English, and science classes filling up a student's school schedules, it's easy to overlook the most important skill needed for each of these subjects: critical thinking.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking requires a student to approach an issue both literally and figuratively, subjectively and objectively, to reason dispassionately, demanding claims to be backed up by evidence, and to infer conclusions available from facts and problem solving.
Why is Critical Thinking So Important?
Attending school and scoring well in classes will not guarantee that a student will graduate with the effective critical thinking skills needed to be successful in college and beyond. Students need strong critical thinking skills to be strong academically, especially when preparing for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Strong critical thinking skills enables a student to be a more versatile performer.
SAT/ACT, the last piece to a successful academic career.
I've had students who were very high performers in school: taking multiple AP classes, high GPA, and phenomenal resumes, but their SAT and ACT scores are not competitive. One specific student I had was stuck scoring a 28 on the ACT. She was able to increase her score to a 32 just by learning how to switch between literal and abstract thinking in order to use proper and effective deductive reasoning.
Although altering her approach helped her, finding her natural approach and adapting to it is what took time. For a student to be an effective critical thinker, what first must be understood is the type of learner he or she is. Any student can memorize and learn a concept, but applying that concept in any situation requires critical thinking.