A medical student looking for advice

Methods and means of supporting critical thinking in education
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A medical student looking for advice

Postby SkepticNewbie » Sun May 24, 2015 6:34 am

First of all, I'd like you to excuse my English skills since it is not my first language and quite different from my mother one. Fortunately, it has been surrounding me from a very young age and I had good basics of it but some details seem to get away with me. Well, nevermind that!

Hello, world of skepticism. If I say that I never use critical thinking, I would be definitely lying. But it is a shame how rare I use it actually. I'm a medical student from Europe who is in the middle of her education. Throughout my studies I have always tried to learn most of the material by heart and cramming it in before the exams. I always knew the idea of critical thinking and liked it but never applied it. So my question is: how do I do that? Is it possible, in your opinion, to fill in the gaps I've had in my education?

If my explanations were unclear, please ask me about what you want me to explain - I'll do it.

Matthew Ellard
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Re: A medical student looking for advice

Postby Matthew Ellard » Sun May 24, 2015 1:07 pm

I think that critical thinking can be described as, the acquired skill of observing a problem or reviewing a hypothesis and then considering whether the solution or theory is probably true or not true, according to the strict application of the Scientific Method.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

I understand that you are studying and absorbing large amounts of information by memory. "Cramming for exams". That is equally as important as critical thinking. A good critical thinker can think of scenarios that he already knows ("cramming") and other real word examples of good science & evidence, and apply those existing solutions to new similar problems.

However, on this forum, you will see examples, that it is rare to fully assess evidence or complete theories. A person will post a video of something and simply claim it's a UFO. That's bad evidence. Another person will say they have discovered a source of perpetual energy but never explain how it works. That's not a working theory. Therefore critical thinking includes assessing if there actually is a theory or problem. I imagine your textbooks are substantially verified, so it's nose down and more study for you.
:D

(PS The hardest part about critical thinking is when a forum member has to admit they were wrong after a long argument on the forum. Everyone does it a couple times.)
:D

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Re: A medical student looking for advice

Postby Poodle » Sun May 24, 2015 1:40 pm

I think it is a truism that the major skill demonstrated in exam situations is, unfortunately, memory. Critical thinking skills are useful, certainly, in understanding what you're memorising, and there may even be parts of the exam which instruct you to show those skills - but in the main, your memory is your best friend.

Sorry to be a wet blanket.

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Re: A medical student looking for advice

Postby xouper » Sun May 24, 2015 3:01 pm

SkepticNewbie wrote:... I always knew the idea of critical thinking and liked it but never applied it. So my question is: how do I do that? Is it possible, in your opinion, to fill in the gaps I've had in my education?

Yes, it is possible.

As with any skill, getting better at it requires knowledge and practice. There are many textbooks on critical thinking that you can use for self teaching, and I suspect it doesn't matter much which one you start with. Your library probably has something suitable. There are also practice questions on the internet.

And you can ask questions here. If you find an example of something that looks like it needs critical thinking, such as something you read in the news, you can post it here and ask, how do I apply critical thinking to it.

Word of caution: On this forum there is a wide range of skill levels in critical thinking -- from professionals to complete morons -- and as a result, you may get conflicting answers to your questions.

Anyway, welcome to the forum. I hope you find something useful here.

:wel:

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Re: A medical student looking for advice

Postby SkepticNewbie » Sun May 24, 2015 4:04 pm

Matthew Ellard wrote: I imagine your textbooks are substantially verified, so it's nose down and more study for you.
:D


Well, this is the problem. Even though the textbooks should be substantially verified, I feel like I have to still check on various things for myself and be skeptical about them.

Matthew Ellard wrote:(PS The hardest part about critical thinking is when a forum member has to admit they were wrong after a long argument on the forum. Everyone does it a couple times.)
:D


There's nothing wrong with admitting you are wrong. I never found it problematic. The problem comes when a person argues about something they do not have solid data for and claim it is true without checking and analyzing their sources. That part gets me.

xouper wrote:As with any skill, getting better at it requires knowledge and practice. There are many textbooks on critical thinking that you can use for self teaching, and I suspect it doesn't matter much which one you start with. Your library probably has something suitable. There are also practice questions on the internet.


I enrolled with iversity.org's online course of Critical thinking, I haven't had the time to check on the guy who is leading it but I think it might get useful as a skill eventually.

xouper wrote:Anyway, welcome to the forum. I hope you find something useful here.


Aw, thank you! It is good I found this place!

Poodle wrote:I think it is a truism that the major skill demonstrated in exam situations is, unfortunately, memory. Critical thinking skills are useful, certainly, in understanding what you're memorising, and there may even be parts of the exam which instruct you to show those skills - but in the main, your memory is your best friend.


I am not denying that memory isn't required. But it needs to be built on solid grounds and those grounds need to be verified. This is the reason I want to use more skepticism and critical thinking in my life.

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Re: A medical student looking for advice

Postby Poodle » Sun May 24, 2015 4:47 pm

Then you've come to the right place. Best skeptic forum this side of the ... errr ... Great Skeptic Forum Divide.

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Re: A medical student looking for advice

Postby Gord » Mon May 25, 2015 1:55 am

:wave: hi
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
#ANDAMOVIE


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