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Critical Thinking Developing your skills

Group of critical thinking students sat outside

Critical thinking skills are vital to university life and beyond. You need to know how to construct arguments, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of information, and how to implement these skills in your own writing.

This course has been designed to help prepare you for successful academic progression into university and will help you gain confidence in your essay writing. Whether you want to advance your ability to create an effective argument, or you’re needing to improve your writing skills, NEC’s Critical Thinking course will open your mind to different ways of thinking. You will learn how to think, not what to think, allowing you to develop lateral thinking skills. 

Applying for Cambridge or Oxford? This course is designed to help students prepare for:

  • Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) (Section 1)
  • Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) (Section 1)

No matter your university of choice, studying critical thinking will enhance your application.

This self-study course includes around 20 hours worth of interactive online learning materials and quizzes designed by subject matter experts. Your enrolment will give you access to the course for 12 months, meaning that you can revisit topics as and when you need a refresher, even if you have completed the course.

Want to develop your logical and mathematical problem solving skills? Learn more about our online Problem Solving course.

What will I be studying?

The course is divided into two sections with an online assignment in each to help you track your progress.

Learning outcomes

When you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • explain what is meant by critical thinking
  • list the elements of an argument
  • identify the conclusion or conclusions in an argument
  • draw conclusion(s)/inferences from a line of reasoning
  • recognise the implicit assumptions within an argument
  • assess whether further evidence weakens or strengthens an argument
  • identify appeals in reasoning
  • identify flaws in reasoning
  • identify similarities in the structure of different arguments
  • identify principles in arguments and identify arguments which rely on the same principle.

Section 1 Arguments in critical thinking

Topic 1 What is critical thinking?

Topic 2 Argument

Topic 3 Drawing an inference

Topic 4 Identifying implicit assumptions

Online assignment 1

Section 2 Evaluating arguments

Topic 1 Assessing the impact of additional evidence

Topic 2 Identifying appeals to external evidence

Topic 3 Identifying flaws in reasoning

Topic 4 Matching arguments

Topic 5 Applying principles

Online assignment 2

There are two online assignments in this course which are computer-marked and will give you feedback.

How long will this Critical Thinking course take?

Everyone studies at a different pace but we recommend that the course will take approximately 20 hours to complete. You will have access to the course for 12 months so you can study at your own pace and revisit topics if you need to.

Will I receive a certificate?

If you gain 50% or more on the two online assignments, you will receive a digital certificate.

Will this prepare me for any formal qualifications?

This course is designed to help students prepare for:

  • Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) (Section 1)
  • Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) (Section 1)

These tests are administered by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing: https://www.admissionstesting.org/

Additional support if you are under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies.  In our experience, learning online works best when the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.

This includes:

  • Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
  • Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
  • You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
  • Dedicated Progress Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.