One of the main differences between academic writing and other types of writing is the level of critical thinking required to succeed at university level.
Being critical does not mean being negative. Being critical can be positive or negative. Being critical involves questioning the theories, ideas, and evidence that you read and what you hear. Critical thinking is about having an open mind and showing that you can weigh up different ideas and arguments. It is also about showing that you can use evidence to form your own opinions and arguments.
Critical thinking involves being aware of potential bias. Not every source you come across will be neutral, it is important to evaluate sources by considering the following:
Who wrote it?
Why did they write it?
When was it written?
Where was it written?
Has it been peer-reviewed?
You will already be used to weighing up information and making decisions. Likely, you thought critically about where to study, you probably did some research into courses, weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of studying at different institutions, and perhaps considered the views of family and friends before deciding to come to UCSD to study your chosen course.
Click here to read more about starting to think critically.
Follow this critical thinking model to ensure you think critically while working towards your assessments.
For further support with critical thinking, make an appointment with your HE study partner.