AS Critical Thinking for AQA  book cover
1st Edition

AS Critical Thinking for AQA

ISBN 9780415559256
Published August 11, 2011 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

 AS Critical Thinking for AQA is the definitive textbook for students of the current AQA Advanced Subsidiary Level syllabus. Structured very closely around the AQA specification, it covers the two units of the AS level in an exceptionally clear and student-friendly style.

The chapters are helpfully subdivided into short digestible passages, and include:

  • intended learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter
  • student exercises at the end of each section with a ‘stretching activity’ for more advanced learners
  • exam orientated questions
  • key point summaries at the end of each section
  • cross references.

In line with the AQA specification, there is a heavy emphasis on more imaginative forms of source material, for example, music, film, artwork, historical documents, adverts, moral dilemmas and scientific debates, as a means of illustrating key points. A great deal of emphasis is also placed on ‘live’ or ‘real’ arguments, taking topical examples from the world of science, politics, entertainment and sport.

The book is accompanied by a companion website with extensive resources for both instructors and students.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Critical Thinking: What is it, and why do we need it?


1) [3.1.1] Recognising when reasoned argument is taking place:

2) [3.1.2] Recognising the area of discourse to which a particular argument or debate belongs

3) [3.1.3] Classifying and evaluating different kinds of claim

4) [3.1.4] Analysing and interpreting texts

5) [3.1.5] Identifying assumptions [

6) [3.1.6] Evaluating arguments

7) [3.1.7] Considering consequences and their impact on arguments

8) [3.1.8] Considering the impact on arguments of additional evidence, counter-examples and analogies

9) [3.1.9] Identifying ambiguity and vagueness and understanding the importance of clarifying terms.

10) [3.1.10] Distinguishing between reasoning and the use of persuasive language.

11) [3.1.11] Recognising flaws and identifying what’s wrong with them

12) [3.1.12] Drawing comparisons and contrasts

13) [3.1.13] Using your experience of analysis and evaluation to present a cogent argument

14) Preparing for the Unit 1 exam

Unit 2:

1) [3.2.1] Appreciating the various ways in which information or evidence can be presented

2) [3.2.2] Understanding (following and applying) basic methods of numerical and statistical reasoning

3) [3.2.3] Recognising significant patterns and correlations

4) [3.2.4] Plausible explanations

5) [3.2.5] Judging what can (and cannot) be safely inferred from a given body of information/evidence

6) [3.2.6] Using information and data provided to draw conclusions of your own and constructing reasoned arguments to support or justify them

7) Preparing for Unit 2 exam

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Oliver McAdoo is Head of Critical Thinking at Godalming College. He is part of the team that helped develop the new philosophy specification for the exam board beginning in 2009. He has also created specimen assessment material for this new specification. He is senior examiner and scrutineer in philosophy and co-author of the official exam board textbook.


'I am very impressed; it has good clear explanations and signposts the expectations of the examination.  I think the author has done a particularly good job of linking the arguments in to other disciplines such as the examples from Philosophers, Psychology and Law.  I would fully recommend and use the text.' - Tara Baker, Head of Religious Studies, Peter Symonds College

'I think it is appropriate, clear and well-written. The arguments chosen are interesting and accessible, and the activities are excellent.' - Cressida Tweed, Woodhouse College, Finchley