Term Definition
critical thinking

Critical thinking is a type of reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do.   It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. Critical thinking can be traced in Western thought to the Socratic method of Ancient Greece and in the East, to the Buddhist kalama sutta and Abhidharma. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is a part of the formal education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope.


Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be. “Equal rights for all”, "Excellence deserves admiration", and “People should be treated with respect and dignity” are representative of values. Values tend to influence attitudes and behavior. For example, if you value equal rights for all and you go to work for an organization that treats its managers much better than it does its workers, you may form the attitude that the company is an unfair place to work; consequently, you may not produce well or may perhaps leave the company. It is likely that if the company had a more egalitarian policy, your attitude and behaviors would have been more positive.

action plan

A sequence of steps that must be taken, or activities that must be performed well, for a strategy to succeed. An action plan has three major elements (1) Specific tasks: what will be done and by whom. (2) Time horizon: when will it be done. (3) Resource allocation: what specific funds are available for specific activities. Also called action program.


Natural or artificial separations or divisions between adjoining properties that show their limits.

career path

A progression of jobs within an organization, each of which develops business or technical skills necessary for the next position.

College fair

A gathering of representatives of post-secondary institutions that allows students to interact with admissions officers to discuss course offerings, admission and financial aid requirements, general college life, and other information pertinent to the college selection, application, admissions and financial aid processes.


Related to language.

Pell Grant

A Pell Grant is money the U.S. federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Federal Pell Grants are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor's degree or who are not enrolled in certain post-baccalaureate programs, through participating institutions.


The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the United States. This test is offered by the College Board. Approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT/NMSQT each year. In 2008, 1.59 million high school sophomores and 1.52 million high school juniors took the PSAT. Some freshmen and eighth and seventh graders also take the test. The scores from the PSAT/NMSQT are used (with the permission of the student) to determine eligibility and qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


 The SAT is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still administers the exam. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college. It was first introduced in 1926, and its name and scoring have changed several times. It was first called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, but now SAT does not stand for anything, hence it is an empty acronym.

The current SAT Reasoning Test, introduced in 2005, takes three hours and forty-five minutes to finish, and costs $50 ($81 International), excluding late fees. Possible scores range from 600 to 2400, combining test results from three 800-point sections (Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing).

Taking the SAT or its competitor, the ACT, is required for freshman entry to many, but not all, universities in the United States.

study skills

Study skills or study strategies are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school, considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one's life.

There are an array of study skills, which may tackle the process of organizing and taking in new information, retaining information, or dealing with assessments. They include mnemonics, which aid the retention of lists of information, effective reading and concentration techniques, as well as efficient notetaking.

While often left up to the student and their support network, study skills are increasingly taught in High School and at the University level. A number of books and websites are available, from works on specific techniques such as Tony Buzan's books on mind-mapping, to general guides to successful study such as those by Stella Cottrell.

More broadly, any skill which boosts a person's ability to study and pass exams can be termed a study skill, and this could include time management and motivational techniques.

Study Skills are discrete techniques that can be learned, usually in a short time, and applied to all or most fields of study. They must therefore be distinguished from strategies that are specific to a particular field of study e.g. music or technology, and from abilities inherent in the student, such as aspects of intelligence or learning style.

test taking skills

 Before you Begin:

  1. Preview the test before you answer anything. This gets you thinking about the material. Make sure to note the point value of each question. This will give you some ideas on budgeting your time.
  2. Do a mind dump. Using what you saw in the preview, make notes of anything you think you might forget. Write down things that you used in learning the material that might help you remember. Outline your answers to discussion questions.
  3.  Quickly calculate how much time you should allow for each section according to the point value. (You don't want to spend 30 minutes on an essay question that counts only 5 points.)

Taking a Test:

  1. Read the directions. (Can more than one answer be correct? Are you penalized for guessing? etc.) Never assume that you know what the directions say.
  2. Answer the easy questions first. This will give you the confidence and momentum to get through the rest of the test. You are sure these answers are correct.
  3. Go back to the difficult questions. While looking over the test and doing the easy questions, your subconscious mind will have been working on the answers to the harder ones. Also, later items on the test might give you useful or needed information for earlier items.
  4. Answer all questions (unless you are penalized for wrong answers).
  5. Ask the instructor to explain any items that are not clear. Do not ask for the answer, but phrase your question in a way that shows the instructor that you have the information but are not sure what the question is asking for.
  6. Try to answer the questions from the instructor's point of view. Try to remember what the instructor emphasized and felt was important.
  7. Use the margin to explain why you chose the answer if the question does not seem clear or if the answer seems ambiguous.
  8. Circle key words in difficult questions. This will force you to focus on the central point.
  9. Express difficult questions in your own words. Rephrasing can make it clear to you, but be sure you don't change the meaning of the question.
  10. Use all of the time allotted for the test. If you have extra time, cover up your answers and actually rework the question.
time management

Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity. Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects and goals complying with a due date. This set encompasses a wide scope of activities, and these include planning, allocating, setting goals, delegation, analysis of time spent, monitoring, organizing, scheduling, and prioritizing. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually the term broadened to include personal activities as well. A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. Usually time management is a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope.