Bolton School Sixth Form Boys

Critical Thinking (AS Only)

What will I study?

Critical thinking is the analytical thinking which underlies all rational conversation, argument and enquiry.  It is characterised by a meticulous and rigorous approach to the nature of the argument being discussed.  It involves the analysis and evaluation of information and the development of a range of intellectual skills that aid the use of reasoning to reach clear, logical and coherent judgements (conclusions) within a given context.

During the course you will much improve your ability to analyse any argument presented to you - see what the conclusion is, what reasons are being presented, any assumptions used and any flaws (errors) in the reasoning.

You will be able to:

  • understand the importance of examining knowledge critically
  • recognise, analyse and evaluate your own and others' claims in a variety of contexts
  • recognise and evaluate assumptions
  • evaluate reasoning of different kinds
  • make connections and synthesise information and arguments
  • generate your own arguments and express them clearly


How will I be assessed?

AS Unit F501:Introduction to Critical Thinking
50% of the total 1.5 hour written paper 75 marks
You will be presented with two or more passages and material presented in the form of diagrams or images.  You are required to analyse a simple argument by responding to short-answer questions.  You are also required to produce an analysis of the credibility of sources (individual characters and organisations) within a scenario.

AS Unit F502:Assessing and Developing Argument
50% of the total 1.5 hour written paper 75 marks
This paper has two sections and candidates answer all questions.


Desirable requirements        

To enjoy and do well at Critical Thinking you will need to enjoy lessons that are largely discursive and that require thought just as much as diligence to achieve results.  It is likely that you will be expecting to get A and A* grades at GCSE in most of your subjects and you will feel able to cope comfortably with your mainstream AS subjects.

Where will it lead?

By studying this course you will have opportunities to demonstrate and apply a wide range of thinking skills (especially reasoning skills) in a range of contexts; develop an ability to transfer these skills and make connections; integrate ideas and develop concepts; use arguments; make judgements and evaluate evidence; and examine questions from a broad standpoint.  These skills are invaluable in everyday life in the work place, underpin much of academic study, form a good preparation for many reasoning tests used by some Universities such as Oxbridge and should allow you to be more eloquent and coherent at any interview.