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.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Critical Thinking

Benjamin Bloom formulated a pyramid made of six key elements of critical thinking. The framework suggests that to excel in critical thinking, one has to go through the levels mentioned in the pyramid.

The six key elements of bloom’s critical thinking framework (revised) are:

  1. Knowledge/Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Applying
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating
  6. Creating

Level 1: Knowledge/Remembering

An individual’s ability to:

· Grasp basic concepts

· Recall facts

· Define problems

· Remember from memory

· Ability to repeat or recollect information

Level 2: Understanding

An individual’s ability to identify, describe and define a problem. Also, this level is where an individual classifies and explains problem-associated factors. And recognize the key reasons behind problems.

Level 3: Applying

The ability to execute tasks or implement solutions the right way!

This level is where critical thinkers resolve, interpret, and schedule tasks and solutions.

Level 4: Analyze

This level is where an individual:

  • Draws correlations
  • Ask questions
  • Does examinations
  • Experiments multiple ideas
  • makes comparisons
  • Review previous groundworks

The actual Problem scenario gets shaped at this level.

Level 5: Evaluate

You have analyzed all the variables and have come to the last stand. On this fifth level, defend and justify your eventual decision/stand.

You should argue, defend, add value, add support, and explain why this last solution is right for the problem.

Level 6: Create

You resolve the problem by applying the final-solution. This level is where you implement your original ideas and works into assembly after justifying it.

How Bloom’s Taxonomy is related to Critical Thinking?

Bloom further divided the six key elements of critical thinking into two major categories called:

  1. Lower Order Thinking Skills: Knowledge, Remembering, Understanding, Applying
  2. Higher-Order Thinking Skills: Analyze, Evaluate, Create
Bloom suggests that to become a good critical thinker, one has to develop both Higher-Order and Lower Order thinking skills.