It’s the last day of fall break before classes resume again, and while GREs studying, I’ve stumbled upon two answer choices: “critical” and “analytical”. The process of elimination- it’s 50/50, life or death.
It was a simple test practice test question, but it made me wonder. What really was the difference between these two words? (Side note: Not a good idea to think about this when I actually take the GREs) To me, they seemed interchangeable with lots of murky overlap in between, like “advertising” and “marketing”, or “sociology” and “anthropology”. After painstakingly scrutinizing searches on Google, I guess the gist went something like this: although both are interdependent on one another, a “critical” approach implies a more subjective or deliberate interpretation, while an “analytical” process simply deals with the facts and concluding inferences from the data given.
In an aspect, this relates to the essence of a liberal arts education. It fascinates me when I ask what major someone is, because it reveals whether they’re “critical” (for instance, English or Politics) or “analytical” thinkers (such as Biology or Economics). At a liberal arts institution like Bates, we’re all thrown into the mix and can’t have one without the other. Similarly, a job environment can’t exist without both. For example, if a company occupies too much analysis, then there’s not much room for improvement. Yet if it’s too critical in finding fault with a product, then efficiency cannot be achieved either.
So what would I classify myself as? I think I’m a little bit of both- and this is why I’m here. Process of elimination.