Critical thinking is a skill, so develop the following habits to help develop your critical thinking skills:
Check the requirements of your courses
What are the lecturers' expectations of their students? What types of assessment are used? What grading criteria are used? What are the learning outcomes of each course? For more on understanding the task see - Answering assignment questions.
Look at the title, abstract, summary, introduction, and conclusion of your readings to decide whether you need to read all of the text, only some of it, or whether you can skip it altogether. For more on critical reading strategies see - Tips for effective reading.
Make notes as you read
Make notes as you read, using your own words. Always note the source of the text: by whom, where and when it was published. Write down any questions you have, or possible problems with the writer's ideas. For more on note-making see - Taking notes from your reading.
Work with classmates to discuss ideas
You should always write your own assignments, but you can improve your understanding by discussing ideas and information with your peers and your tutors. For more information see - Group work.
Write regularly about your own ideas
Write regularly about your own ideas, thoughts and feelings on a topic. Writing helps you clarify your thinking in terms of relevance, reasoning, and accuracy. Some professional courses may also require reflective writing assignments, such as built environment, education, engineering, medicine and social work. For more on reflective writing see - Reflective writing.
Find your voice
Express your ideas and do not be afraid to take risks. The best assignments show original thought, even if your ideas differ from the marker's ideas. Remember to support your views with valid reasons and solid evidence. For more on analysing and evaluating texts see - Some general criteria for evaluating texts.