Critical thinking skills are imperative for young students and even adults to perform well academically and professionally. Critical thinking skills are usually separated into three categories: affective, cognitive strategies encompassing macro-abilities and cognitive strategies for micro-skills. These skills will help you to understand yourself and the people you interact with, and you will also be able to utilize information better.

Affective Strategies

Critical thinking is not a purely academic skill. Affective strategies address the need to control emotions and exercise them to our advantage. Affective strategies can also be used to judge and respond to the emotions and values of others. For example, dimension S-2 of critical thinking strategies lists "developing insight into egocentricity or sociocentricity," meaning the development of self-awareness and recognizing that your reality might not be your neighbor's.

Other dimensions include exercising fair-mindedness, developing intellectual courage, confidence in reason and intellectual humility and suspending judgment. All affective strategies allow us to develop more mature ideas and also understand other people's ideas.

Cognitive Strategies Macro-Abilities

Macro-abilities in terms of cognitive strategies are mostly information-based. They include how a person finds information and decides if that information is valuable to his needs. This can be through critically listening, reading, discussing, analyzing and evaluating. These skills can be used in school when writing papers or understanding a book or at work when trying to solve a problem. Specific dimensions of this strategy include making interdisciplinary connections, clarifying and analyzing the meanings of words or phrases and reasoning dialectically and evaluating perspectives, interpretations or theories.

Cognitive Strategies Micro-Skills

Micro-skills are generally more specific to the thought and use of certain information. Examples of these skills include comparing and contrasting two different works of art from the same artist or gathering results from a science experiment to create an original theory or solution. Specifically, dimensions of this type of thinking are "noting significant similarities and differences", "evaluating evidence and alleged facts" and "exploring implications and consequences," says CriticalThinking.org.