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Critical Thinking Skills: Just the Facts

In the 1950s, educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom identified a hierarchy of cognitive skills. He emphasized the importance of understanding that each cognitive skill builds on previous skills. Take a look at a short descriptor of each of the six cognitive skills identified by Bloom.

  • Knowledge—the recall of information
  • Comprehension—the translation or interpretation of knowledge
  • Application—the application of knowledge to a new situation
  • Analysis—the ability to break down information into parts and show relationships among the parts
  • Synthesis—the ability to bring together elements of knowledge to form a new whole and build relationships for new situations
  • Evaluation—the ability to make judgments about the value and sufficiency of information and methods for a specific purpose

Now it is time to take a deeper look at five of the skills listed above. The GED Tests do not include questions based directly on recall of information, but rather begin with comprehension skills. However, students do need basic background in the content areas so that the contexts for the questions are familiar.