Critical Thinking A Level


Fast Track A Level in Critical Thinking (Full AS+A2) H052 H452

Critical Thinking A Levelcritica-thinking-A-level

A Level Critical Thinking offers students the opportunity to explore a wide-range of real-world texts in a critical way. Critical Thinking is concerned with analysing and evaluating arguments that we find in our everyday lives. Central to critical thinking is the skill of looking for evidence provided in written arguments.  As well as being a lively and engaging subject, Critical Thinking can be a very useful way to support the study of other subjects and improve your performance in other subjects, as it develops your understanding of how a persuasive argument may be made w.

The structure of the course also provides opportunities to undertake wider reading and independent critical research. The course encourages students to develop their interest and enjoyment of Critical Thinking, as they:

  • Analyze arguments
  • Judge the relevance and significance of information
  • Evaluate claims, inferences, arguments and explanations
  • Construct clear and coherent arguments
  • Form well-reasoned judgements and explanations
  • The course provides a challenging and exciting introduction to higher level literary study, through analysis of a wider range of literary and critical texts.
  • The A level is divided into 4 study units. Units 1 and 2 of the qualification form what is known as the AS part of the course, while Units 3 and 4 form what is known as the A2 element of the course. The progression from AS to A2 is outlined below. Should you be unable to complete your studies, completion of Units 1 and 2 currently enable you to attain an AS qualification in the subject, so both A-level and AS percentages for skills are given below.
  • In addition to course materials and a dedicated web based platform provided by Oxford College, you will also receive unlimited tutor support for 24 months. Your tutor will respond to any questions and mark tutor marked assignments (TMAs) within 5 days of receipt.

What’s Included

Online Learning Documentation, Online Resources,plus priority Tutor support for 1 year.

Entry Requirements

Though the A-level builds on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking this A-level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literary and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE, though full tutor support is given throughout.

Study Hours

Approximately 90 hours per unit

The format of the Examinations

PLEASE NOTE: All exams will be held during the May – June exam period.

International Students

If you are based outside the UK, it may be possible to sit your examination through your local British Council, depending on your location. Please contact the examination board OCR for details on examination centres in your country.

Further Information

Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.

In the student ‘On Campus’ area you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community. After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 3 working days.

Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.

Materials and support provided by Oxford Learning.


All distance learning students should download the Private Candidates Handbook from AQA’s website which gives you guidance on finding an examination centre and registering. Likewise, International students need to download the specific handbook for them, which will give alternative examination arrangements etc.

The AS Units

Unit 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

Unit 1 is worth 20% of the A-level (or 40% if student chooses to complete AS only).

Assessment is by written examination in May/ June of year of study.  The examination lasts1 hour 30 minutes.

You will be provided with at least TWO texts in a source booklet. The written examination is in two sections.

In Section A, you will be analysing a source text and providing short answer questions on reasoning, structure of arguments and types of evidence.

In Section B, you will produce longer, critical responses in which you assess the credibility of a range of evidence from the source booklet.

The unit is based upon the forms of arguments in critical thinking. You will begin the unit by identifying reasons, assumptions and conclusions, before progressing to evaluation of the credibility of various forms of evidence such as reports, eye witness accounts, credibility and bias. In this unit you will also be introduced to the processes of judging a case, such as identifying sides, weighing up evidence and making a judgement. You will begin to consider different types of statistical evidence, including percentages, numbers, rates and timescales.

Unit 2 Assessing and Developing Argument

This unit carries 30% of the total marks (or 60% if the student chooses to complete AS only).

Assessment is by written examination in May/ June of year of study.  The examination lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The paper has 3 sections. In Section A, there are a series of multiple choice questions. In Section B, you will be required to provide short analytical responses to an unseen passage. In Section C, you will present short answers and attempt to construct an argument.

For this unit you will be evaluating arguments using the terminology applied when thinking critically. This will include developing an understanding of the following terms: Post hoc, ad hoc, circular arguments and ‘the Straw Man’. You will examine texts for irrelevant appeals such as appeals to popularity, authority or reader’s empathy or pity. You will scrutinise the content of the argument, learning to identify features such as analogy, counter-argument, principles, and hypothetical arguments, necessary and sufficient conditions. Finally, you will produce your own argument, weighting reason against conclusion and providing both hypothetical and actual reasons, intermediate conclusions and counter arguments.

The A2 Units

Important note: A2 is not a standalone qualification. You need to have taken units 1 and 2 with Units 3 and 4 to achieve the full A-level.

 Unit 3 Ethical Reasoning and Decision Making

Unit 3 is worth 25% of the A-level.

Assessment is by written examination in May/ June of year of study.  The examination lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The paper is based on a source booklet of evidence, including written statements, graphs, statistics and images. You will respond with short answers demonstrating analysis and evaluation of these materials. The focus will be on general and ethical principles.

In this unit you will identify what a critical dilemma is, based on the criteria and continuum of choice. You will learn to identify problematic terms. You will be able to evaluate the resolution of dilemmas.

This unit also provides background knowledge on key ethical theories and perspectives, namely utilitarianism, deontological ethics and libertarianism.

Unit 4 Critical Reasoning

This unit carries 25% of the total marks for the A Level.

Assessment is by written examination in May/ June of year of study.  The examination lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

As with Unit 3, it is a series of short written responses to an unseen source booklet.

The final unit of the qualification considers the complexity of critical thinking. You will explore a range of dilemmas and their implications. You will consolidate your ability to identify affirming consequences, chain arguments and denials. Working with a range of texts you will critically evaluate the significance of information and how it is presented, the consistency and Inconsistency present in any argument and charity principles. Finally, you will distinguish between being rhetorical and being logical.

Additional resources – What else will I need?

The course is self-contained but some distance learning students may feel it useful to purchase additional study guides to support learning and revision. Below are some titles which will support learning for OCR Critical Thinking.

Study Guides

  • OCR AS Critical Thinking Student Unit Guide: Unit F501 Introduction to Critical Thinking: Unit 1 Roy van der Brink-Budgen. Phillip Allan Publishing 2012 ISBN-13: 978-0340969342
  • OCR AS Critical Thinking Student Unit Guide: Unit F502Assessing and Developing Argument: Unit 2 Roy van der Brink-Budgen. Phillip Allan Publishing 2012 ISBN-13: 978-1844895540
  • Critical Thinking for A2 Roy van der Brink-Budgen. How to Books. ISBN-13: 978-1845280956


The titles of the qualifications as will appear on certificates are:

OCR GCE A Level in Critical Thinking

Both AS and A2 level courses and examinations must be successfully completed to gain a full A level.

Specification:  OCR NACT

Course Fee



Full AS+A2 in Critical Thinking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *