What are Lower Order Thinking Skills?

Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) are the foundational skills and practices you need to have to move to Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).

Lower order thinking skills are basic qualities a person develops as they grow like:

  • Observing
  • Memorizing
  • Recollecting
  • Understanding

We develop them through our basic educational levels.

A scientifically proven fact is “The more skillful you are at Lower Order thinking, the more capable you become at Higher Order Thinking”.

3 Levels of Lower Order Thinking Skills

Based on Bloom’s taxonomy of critical thinking, The Lower Order Thinking Skills have three levels. They are:

  1. Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Applying

Level 1: Remembering - How good you are at recalling and remembering data form your brain?

Qualities like, an individual's ability to:

  • Define
  • Recall
  • Recognize
  • Comprehend
  • Identify
  • Become selective in approaches are basic qualities of this LOTS level.


  • You should be able to identify a problem when you see it.
  • Your recalling ability and finding patterns or similarities that you experienced before.

Level 2: Understanding - How well can you explain what you perceived from Level1?

The understanding level is about your capability of

  • Explaining
  • Describing
  • Paraphrasing
  • Inferring
  • Summarizing
  • Classifying
  • Comparing data.

Understanding levels is critical in Lower Order Thinking because you summarize the actual problem scenario.

Level 3: Applying – How to Use the Inference from L1 and L2?

Applying level is about

  • Solving,
  • Operating,
  • Executing,
  • Choosing,
  • Demonstrating your ideas inferred from previous levels.

You come up with a solid idea to proceed to further levels of higher critical thinking.


To climb a mountain, start from the mountain’s foothills first. Same way, if you like to build good critical thinking skills, you need to improve your Lower Order Thinking Skills. And then move on to HOTS.