Keys to Academic Success: The Importance of Critical Reflection


Having set up a functional time-frame for study, and with your neatly organized notes at hand, you have already made much progress in preparing to write a first-rate essay. But what’s the best way to go about it, you may now ask?

Your home tutors provide you with valuable educational input that you should carefully study and use in your writing. In addition, it is very useful to do your own textbook reading and choose the material that is most relevant for a brilliant essay. In order to do so, you need to be able to reflect critically on what you read. Critical thinking is vital for academic success, but unfortunately its significance is sometimes overlooked. The ability to evaluate the information you are presented with from a variety of sources is not only a precious academic skill, but an important life-long learning skill as well. When you critically assess a situation, you can more lucidly decide upon the best course of action for excellent results.

From an academic perspective, active reading can be very helpful here. When you read with a specific purpose in mind, you focus on finding keywords and appropriate information. Successful reading is a two-way process, whereby you engage in dialogue with your texts. In addition, scanning and skimming texts for specific information are reading strategies that can lead to a very productive reading process.

When you have identified the data you need to focus on, it is a good idea to try to explain your findings in your own words, so that you can be sure you have fully understood everything. Then you need to think about how you feel about what you have read. Passive acceptance and plain memorization are not always the best strategies; it is good practice to look for meaning, ask questions, try to clarify any points that are ambiguous and present your own ideas. Critical thinking also enables you to make comparisons and discover links in several areas of your study, even among diverse courses. This way, you can actively and autonomously engage with your learning material, immersing yourself into an exciting learning experience under the guidance of your home tutors.

 

See more by

Connect with Oxford Home Schooling