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Improving critical thinking skillsWEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014 13:38 PM

Improving critical thinking skills IQ assessments test verbal and mathematical skills, spatial abilities, pattern recognition and other cognitive functions. Although these categories might seem completely independent of one another, they actually have something in common: the use of critical thinking. People who score high on IQ tests have huge stores of knowledge as well as a keen sense of analysis that they can apply to many IQ questions. Here are a few daily exercises you can use to develop critical thinking skills in everyday life:

Identify goals
Throughout the day, you will be tasked with decision making. Determine the purpose or goal of each decision. You should try to be as clear and concise as possible when identifying your purpose. It is just a starting point for further analysis, not the final step of the process.

Find ways to make use of time
People often use the phrase "killing time" to describe a period when there is no productivity occurring at that moment. These are great opportunities to practice critical thinking skills. You can spend this time doing self-evaluations. Ask yourself questions like: At what point during the day did I really think through a decision? When did I make poor choices? What types of thoughts crossed my mind today? Did I do anything to get closer to my long-term goals?

Evaluate recurring biases
When people face a problem that is difficult to solve, they often look at it from only one perspective. They do not see the value in looking at the situation from two or even three different angles. The next time you are faced with a challenge, try to think how another person might see the problem. This could be a parent, role model, colleague or student. You could also use a famous person from history known for their intelligence. When you practice looking at a situation from different points of view, you don't let biases cloud your judgment. Take some time to think about each particular challenge. What assumptions are you making in the context of this problem? Removing biases from your thought process can really help you make rational decisions.

Solve a problem a day
Try to systematically work through a problem or challenge each day. Use logic to identify the different factors that play into the situation. Define the problem in a way that you can understand. Determine how the challenge relates to your goals, values and needs.


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