The first week of most college classes is very overwhelming. You have to scan multiple syllabi, documents, chapters, and handouts - and the deadlines mount!
The author of Becoming a Strategic Thinker, James Potter, explains the thinking process and how we obtain knowledge. No matter which topic we major in - all of it begins with our minds ability to process information. That's the cornerstone of any successful critical thinking course.
First off, learn your vocabulary!
Potter pulls important terms and phrases out into the margins of his book and encourages everyone to commit them to memory.