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Critical Thinking: Basic Questions & Answers

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85 Fun Critical Thinking Questions for Kids & Teens

students laughing as they answer critical thinking questions

Have you ever thought about using fun questions to practice critical thinking?

Students may need a little guidance to think their way through questions that lack straightforward answers.

But it is that process that is important!

How the Right Questions Encourage Critical Thinking

Every parent knows how natural it is for children to ask questions. 

It should be encouraged. After all, asking questions helps with critical thinking.

As they grow older, however, training them to answer questions can be equally beneficial.

Posing questions that encourage kids to analyze, compare, and evaluate information can help them develop their ability to think critically about tough topics in the future. 

Of course, critical thinking questions for kids need to be age-appropriate—even better if you can mix a little fun into it!

That’s what I hope to help you with today. I’ve organized the questions below into three different ages groups:

20 Questions: Exercises in Critical Thinking

Get a Question-Based Critical Thinking Exercise—Free!

Introduce critical thinking gently & easily with thought-provoking exercises.

Upper Elementary

Students in upper elementary grades can be reluctant to put themselves out there, especially with answers that seem weird. 

In some cases, such hesitancy is actually fear of differing from their peers (and a barrier to critical thinking ). 

But that’s exactly why it’s important to practice answering ambiguous questions. 

We want our children to stand firm for their beliefs—not cave to peer pressure. 

Additionally, students may feel uneasy about answering serious questions, uncertain of tackling “big” problems. 

However, with careful use of creative questions for kids, it’s possible to engage even the most reluctant children in this age group. 

The idea is to simply get them interested in the conversation and questions asked.

If you have an especially reserved student, try starting with the funny critical thinking questions. 

Humor is a natural icebreaker that can make critical thinking questions more lighthearted and enjoyable. 

Of course, most younger kids just like to be silly, so playing upon that can keep them active and engaged.

With that said, here are some great questions to get you started:

1. Someone gives you a penguin. You can’t sell it or give it away. What do you do with it?

2. What would it be like if people could fly?

3. If animals could talk, what question would you ask? 

4. If you were ice cream, what kind would you be and why?

5. Do you want to travel back in time? If yes, how far back would you go? If no, why not?

6. What could you invent that would help your family? 

7. If you could stay up all night, what would you do?

8. What does the man on the moon do during the day?

9. What makes something weird or normal? 

10. Can you describe the tastes “salty” and “sweet” without using those words?

11. What does it feel like to ride a rollercoaster?

12. What makes a joke funny?

13. What two items would you take if you knew you would be stranded on an island and why?

14. Do you have a favorite way of laughing?

15. What noise makes you cringe and cover your ears? Why?

16. If you could be the parent for the day, what would you do?

17. If you could jump into your favorite movie and change the outcome, which one would you pick and why?

18. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

19. What makes a day “perfect”?

20. If you owned a store, what kind of products would you sell?

21. If your parents were your age, would you be friends with them?

22. Would you still like your favorite food if it tasted the same as always, but now had an awful smell?

23. What would you do if you forgot to put your shoes on before leaving home?

24. Who would you be if you were a cartoon character?

25. How many hot dogs do you think you could eat in one sitting?

26. If you could breathe under water, what would you explore?

27. At what age do you think you stop being a kid?

28. If you had springs in your legs, what would you be able to do?

29. Can you describe the color blue to someone if they’re blind?

Middle School

At this point, students start to acquire more complex skills and are able to form their own conclusions based on the information they’re given. 

However, we can’t expect deep philosophical debates with 12 and 13 year olds. 

That said, as parent-teachers, we can certainly begin using more challenging questions to help them examine and rationalize their thought processes. 

Browse the fun critical thinking questions below for students in this age range. 

You might be surprised to see how receptive middle school kids can be to such thought-provoking (yet still fun) questions .

30. What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?

31. What does it mean to be lucky?

32. If you woke up in the middle of a dream, where would you be?

33. Is it ever okay to lie? Why or why not?

34. If you were solely responsible for creating laws, what one law would you make?

35. What makes a person a good friend?

36. What do you think is the most important skill you can take into adulthood?

37. If you had to give up lunch or dinner, which would you choose? Why?

38. How much money would you need to be considered rich?

39. If you knew you wouldn’t get caught, would you cheat on a test?

40. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

41. What is your greatest strength? How is that an asset?

42. If you had an opportunity to visit the International Space Station, would you do it?

43. Is it better to keep the peace or speak your mind?

44. Imagine yourself as your favorite animal. How would you spend your day?

45. Would you be friends with someone who didn’t have the same values as you?

46. How much screen time do you think is too much?

47. Can you describe your favorite color without naming it?

48. If you suddenly became blind, would you see things differently?

49. Would you ever go skydiving?

50. Describe the time you were the happiest in your life. Why did this make you happy?

51. If you had a million dollars, what would you do?

52. If you had to move to a new city, would you change how you present yourself to others?

53. What do you need to do in order to be famous?

54. If you could rewrite the ending of your favorite book or movie, what changes would you make?

55. How would you tackle a huge goal?

56. How would you sell ice to an eskimo in Alaska successfully?

57. What makes you unique?

High School

Critical thinking takes on an entirely different role once students reach high school. 

At this age, they have a greater sense of right and wrong (and what makes things so) as well as a better understanding of the world’s challenges.

Guiding teens to delve deeper and contemplate such things is an important part of developing their reasoning and critical thinking skills. 

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

Whether it’s fun questions about hypothetical superpowers or tough critical thinking questions about life, older teens typically have what it takes to think their way to a logical conclusion . 

Of course, use your discernment as you choose discussion topics, but here are some questions to help get you started:

58. How can you avoid [common problem] in the future?

59. Do you think it’s okay to take a life in order to save 5, 10, 20 or more people?

60. If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?

61. Is it better to give or receive a gift?

62. How important is it to be financially secure? Why?

63. If it was up to you, what one rule would you change in your family?

64. What would you do if a group of friends wanted to do something that you thought was a bad idea?

65. How do you know that something is a fact rather than an opinion?

66. What would it take to get you to change your mind?

67. What’s the most important thing in your life?

68. If money were of no concern, what job would you choose and why?

69. How do you know if you’re happy?

70. Do you think euthanasia is moral?

71. What is something you can do today that you weren’t able to do a year ago?

72. Is social media a good thing or not?

73. Is it right to keep animals in a zoo?

74. How does your attitude affect your abilities?

75. What would you do if you found out a friend was doing something dangerous?

76. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?

77. What will life on Earth look like in 50 years?

78. Which is more important, ending world hunger or global warming?

79. Is it a good idea to lower the voting age to 16? Why or why not?

80. If the electrical power went out today, how would you cook if using wood wasn’t an option?

81. If you could magically transport yourself to any other place, where would that be and why?

82. When should teenagers be able to stay out all night?

83. Does the number zero actually exist?

84. What defines a generous person?

85. Does an influential person influence everyone?

Feel free to print out these fun critical thinking questions and incorporate them into your homeschool week!

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

will your children recognize truth?

About the author.

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Jordan Mitchell


Critical And Creative Thinking MCQ Quiz


Are you confident about your critical thinking skills? Let's your skills with this 'creative and critical thinking MCQ quiz. ' Are you interested in solving today's big problems? If so, you will need to develop an inquisitive mind and strong investigation skills. Are you able to ask powerful questions? Do you have the skills necessary to imagine new solutions and create action plans? Take this assessment and find out how strong creative and critical thinking abilities you have.

How much money can I make?

Who is responsible?

Can I accomplish this?

Analyzing problems and evaluating outcomes...discovering different perspectives and brainstorming ideas.

Finding objective answers...coming up with subjective answers.


Shallow thinking...deeper-level thinking.

What do I hear/see/smell?

Who is to blame?

What is my gut reaction?

Both a and c

Solve it as soon as possible.

Take time to observe the situation and discover the cause of the issue.

Walk away; it is most likely not your responsibility.

Ask your friends what they would do.

Silently observing the situation.

Writing up an action plan.

Taking a moment for silent contemplation.

Asking questions.

Narrows the scope of the conversation.

Is less reliable than a yes or no question.

Is open-ended and expands your thinking.

Calls for a one-word response.

A perspective you may have.

An idea you take for granted.

A piece of information you have researched.

The answer to a question.

Compare, contrast and connect.

Prioritize, pursue and persuade.

Question, quiz and quarrel.

Navigate, nurture and negotiate.

Very active; I am always daydreaming.

Somewhat active; I invent things in my head from time to time.

Not active at all; I'm too logical.

I'm actually not sure.

Laurel wants to know which books will give them answers.

Henry is curious about which rules can be broken.

Dolores is brainstorming a list of whom they can ask for help.

Stevie is ready to give up.

Sometimes, but not regularly.

Never; I just go with the flow.

All the time; I'm always aware of my achievements and where I need to improve.

What does that mean?

On stage, when you are in the school play.

On the football field, when you fumble the ball.

In the lunch room, when you are allowed to sit with the popular crowd.

On your report card through grades and comments.

Could often be prevented by planning ahead.

Don't serve a purpose.

Are never beneficial.

Usually can't be avoided.

Blame the others involved.

Don't think about it ever again.

Examine what you learned from it.

Lecture others about it.

Job skills: they are what will get you hired.

Both are equally important.

Thinking skills: you can use them to learn a variety of job skills when you are ready to enter the workforce.

Neither: it is more important to be a nice person.

Communication skills.

Managerial skills.

Interpersonal skills.

All are equally important.

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The Hun School of Princeton

15 Questions that Teachers and Parents Can Ask Kids to Encourage Critical Thinking

Each student walks across the graduation stage, diploma in one hand and a proverbial toolbox in the other. Inside the box is every skill and piece of knowledge they've learned throughout their childhood. The contents of this toolbox will be their building blocks to success beyond high school.

In addition to impressive classroom discoveries — like producing electricity from potatoes or building their own paper mache volcano — there's a vital skill every student should possess: critical thinking. They'll use this skill to assess, critique, and create, propelling them to thrive in the real world as they participate in engaging conversations and offer constructive solutions to real-world issues.

Fortunately, this valuable skill can be developed both inside and out of the classroom. Teachers and parents can encourage kids to think deeply and critically about the world by asking good questions. We'll explore why, as parents and teachers, the questions we ask our kids matter — and what we can be asking to help them excel.

How Questions Guide Young Students’ Critical Thinking 

Critical thinking is about so much more than simply knowing the facts. Thinking critically involves applying reason and logic to assess arguments and come to your own conclusions. Instead of reciting facts or giving a textbook answer, critical thinking skills encourage students to move beyond knowing information and get to the heart of what they really think and believe. 

15 Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking

What is one of the best ways to encourage critical thinking? By asking excellent questions! 

We have compiled a list of 15 questions that you, as a teacher or parent, can ask to encourage kids to think outside the box. Let's dive in.

1. How Do You Know This? 

Whether it was by word of mouth, classroom knowledge, or a news report, this question prompts students to consider whether their source of information is reputable.

2. How Would Your Perspective Be Different If You Were on the Opposing Side?

This question encourages kids to role-play from an opposing person’s viewpoint and discover a perspective outside their own so that they can better understand the broader situation. Extracurriculars like debate class — mandatory for all Hun middle school students — is a powerful way to accomplish this goal, as students must thoughtfully anticipate their opposition's arguments in order to counter them.

3. How Would You Solve This Problem?

Finding creative solutions to common problems is a valuable life skill. This question is the perfect opportunity to encourage young minds to wander!

4. Do You Agree or Disagree — and Why?

Choosing a side in any debate challenges students to consider both perspectives, weigh the arguments, and make an informed choice. 

5. Why? Why? Why?

Just like when you were a young kid, ask why repeatedly to push students beyond a simple first, second, or even third answer, to get to the real depth. Be careful, though, not to ask them to the point of frustration — you want learning and exploring to be a positive experience.

6. How Could We Avoid This Problem in the Future?

Ask students to apply critical thinking by analyzing how they could prevent a certain issue from reoccurring.

7. Why Does It Matter?

Whether they're learning about a historical event or a mathematical concept, it's important to understand why the topic is relevant today.

8. What's Another Way to Look at This Issue?

It can be easy to learn one worldview and automatically believe it is the only, or the best, way. Challenging kids to think of a creative alternate perspective encourages them to think more broadly.

9. Can You Give Me an Example?

Inventing an example, or pulling from experience to share a real one, is an excellent way to apply critical thinking skills.

10. How Could It Have Ended Differently?

It takes some innovation and careful analysis to storyboard a different ending, considering "what could have been" rather than "what is." 

11. When Will We Be Able to Tell If It Worked?

Kids will be pushed to consider what constitutes success and how it can be measured in scenarios where the results aren't set in stone.

12. Why did you ask that question?

Instead of answering a question at face value, this question encourages kids to think about what the merits of the question may be.

13. Who Would Be Affected by This?

Students as the next generation of leaders and game-changers. When making any decision, it's important to consider who will be impacted and how.

14. What Can This Story Teach Us About Our Own Lives?

From literature to social studies, students interact with all kinds of different stories. Help them take these narratives one step further by examining how it relates to their lives.

15. Why Is This a Problem?

Analyzing why something is a problem — rather than just accepting that it is — will help students develop strong problem-solving skills of their own.

The Hun School of Princeton Teaches Critical Thinking

At the Hun School of Princeton, our teachers ask these questions, and more, in combination with our student-centered learning approach that helps kids of all ages think critically about what they’re learning. 

As a premier private school in Princeton, NJ , we aim to help students think deeply and develop well-rounded skill sets through immersive, problem-based learning . 

Schedule a tour today to see our program in action!

Schedule a Tour


15 Creative And Critical Thinking Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position where Creative And Critical Thinking skills will be used.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

Creative and critical thinking are important skills for success in any field. When you’re interviewing for a job, employers will want to know if you have these skills.

To assess your creative and critical thinking abilities, interviewers may ask you questions about how you handle problems or challenges, what kind of outside-the-box solutions you’ve come up with in the past, or how you go about generating new ideas.

If you can demonstrate that you have strong creative and critical thinking skills, you’ll be one step closer to landing the job you want. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of creative and critical thinking interview questions and sample answers.

1. What is creative and critical thinking?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of these skills in your role. You can define creative and critical thinking, explain why they’re important and give examples of how you’ve used them in previous roles.

Example: “Creative and critical thinking are two essential skills for any marketing professional. Creative thinking allows me to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems while critical thinking helps me evaluate those ideas and determine which ones will be most effective. In my last position, I was tasked with creating a new campaign for one of our clients. I first thought about what their target audience would want from the campaign and then evaluated different strategies we could use to reach them.”

2. Can you explain what lateral thinking means in the context of solving problems creatively?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the creative process and how you apply it in your work. Use examples from previous experiences where you used lateral thinking to solve problems creatively.

Example: “Lateral thinking is a problem-solving technique that involves looking at things from different perspectives or angles. It’s important to use this method when solving complex problems because it helps me look beyond what I already know about a situation. In my last role, we were tasked with creating an ad campaign for a new product launch. We had to come up with ideas that would appeal to our target audience while also being unique enough to stand out among other brands.

I decided to take a step back and think about what makes people buy products. After some research, I realized that most consumers make their purchasing decisions based on emotion rather than logic. So, I came up with an idea to create a series of ads that showed real customers using the product and talking about how much they loved it. The client was very happy with the final result.”

3. How do you use brainstorming to generate new ideas?

Brainstorming is a common technique used in creative and critical thinking. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with brainstorming and how you use it to generate new ideas. In your answer, explain what brainstorming is and give an example of when you’ve used it successfully in the past.

Example: “Brainstorming is a method I use to generate new ideas by combining different concepts together. For instance, at my last job, we had a client who wanted to create a new logo for their company. We started our brainstorming session by asking ourselves questions about what the client was looking for in their logo. From there, we came up with several ideas that we could combine to make something unique.”

4. Can you give me some examples of how you’d apply creative thinking in your work?

This question is a great way to show the interviewer how you use your creative and critical thinking skills in your work. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide examples of how you used these skills to solve problems or create solutions for clients.

Example: “In my last role as an advertising copywriter, I was tasked with creating a campaign that would encourage more people to sign up for our client’s online service. After conducting research on what made other companies successful at attracting customers, I developed several different ideas for advertisements that we could run through social media channels. My team and I then tested each ad idea by running them through various platforms to see which ones were most effective.”

5. What are some ways to come up with innovative solutions for a problem?

This question can help the interviewer understand your creative and critical thinking skills. Showcase how you use these skills to solve problems in a unique way.

Example: “I find that brainstorming is one of the best ways to come up with innovative solutions for a problem. I usually start by writing down all my ideas, no matter how silly they may seem. Then, I organize them into groups based on similar concepts or themes. From there, I look at each idea and decide which ones are worth exploring further. This process helps me think critically about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to solving a problem.”

6. What are the stages involved in generating creative ideas?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you understand the process of generating creative ideas. It also allows you to demonstrate how you use critical thinking skills to generate innovative solutions and ideas.

Example: “There are five stages involved in generating creative ideas. The first stage is preparation, where I gather information about the problem or challenge at hand. Next, I brainstorm possible solutions to the issue. Then, I evaluate each solution for its feasibility and cost-effectiveness. After this, I implement the best solution into my work environment. Finally, I assess whether the solution worked as expected.”

7. Can you name some real-world applications of creative thinking?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you apply your creative and critical thinking skills in your daily life. You can use examples from your personal or professional life to show how these skills have helped you solve problems, make decisions or develop new ideas.

Example: “In my previous role as a graphic designer, I used creative thinking every day when coming up with new designs for clients. For example, one client wanted a logo that was modern but also conveyed their company’s history of being family-owned. I started by researching other logos that had both elements, then created several different versions of the design using different colors and fonts. After showing them the options, they chose one that incorporated the best aspects of each.”

8. What’s the difference between divergent and convergent thinking?

This question tests your ability to apply critical thinking skills in a work environment. Your answer should show the interviewer that you can use divergent and convergent thinking appropriately for different situations.

Example: “Divergent thinking is when you generate many ideas, while convergent thinking is when you choose one idea from several options. Divergent thinking is useful when I’m brainstorming new ideas or trying to solve problems with no obvious solutions. Convergent thinking is helpful when I need to make decisions based on facts and data.”

9. What is the importance of creative thinking in data science?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of creative thinking in data science. Use examples from your experience or education to explain how critical and creative thinking skills are important for success in this role.

Example: “Creative thinking is an essential skill for data scientists because it allows us to find new ways to solve problems, generate ideas and create solutions. In my previous position as a data scientist, I was tasked with finding patterns in customer behavior to help develop more effective marketing strategies. Using creative thinking, I was able to identify trends in customer purchases based on their location and time of day. This information helped our company develop targeted ads that increased sales by 10%.”

10. What are some methods that can be used to encourage creative thinking among team members?

This question can help the interviewer understand your ability to lead a team and encourage creativity. Showcase your leadership skills by providing examples of how you’ve encouraged creative thinking in the past.

Example: “I believe that one way to encourage creative thinking is through brainstorming sessions. I have led many brainstorming sessions with my teams, and they are always beneficial for generating new ideas and solutions to problems. Another method I use to encourage creative thinking is encouraging employees to take time off from work to pursue their own interests or hobbies. This helps them think outside of the box and come up with unique ideas.”

11. What do you understand about cognitive biases? Have you ever seen them affect decision making at any time during your career?

Cognitive biases are common errors in thinking that can affect decision making. This question helps the interviewer understand how you apply critical thinking skills to your work and assess situations for potential bias. In your answer, explain what cognitive biases are and give an example of a time when you recognized one during your career.

Example: “Cognitive biases are natural tendencies we have to make decisions based on our emotions or preconceived notions rather than facts. I’ve seen this happen at previous companies where people would make assumptions about others’ intentions without asking questions first. For example, if someone was late to a meeting, some coworkers might assume they were being lazy instead of checking in with them to see if there was a valid reason.”

12. What is the role of creativity in the problem-solving process?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your understanding of the importance of creativity in problem-solving. This is because creative thinking can help you come up with new solutions and approaches to problems that you might not have considered otherwise. In your answer, try to explain how creativity helps you solve problems.

Example: “Creativity plays a vital role in the problem-solving process. When I’m trying to find a solution to a problem, I first look at all possible solutions. Then, I use my critical thinking skills to evaluate each option and decide which one will be most effective. Finally, I use my creative thinking skills to develop an innovative approach to solving the problem.”

13. Is it possible to train people to think more creatively? If yes, then how?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the creative process and how you can help others develop their own creativity. When answering this question, consider what methods you’ve used in the past to encourage creativity in yourself or others.

Example: “Yes, it’s possible to train people to think more creatively. In my last role as an art teacher, I had students complete a series of exercises that helped them learn new techniques for drawing and painting. For example, one exercise involved having students draw something without looking at their hands. This forced them to use their imaginations rather than copying from memory.”

14. What is De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats method? How does it help solve problems?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of critical thinking and creative problem-solving. It also shows the interviewer that you can apply what you’ve learned in the past to new situations.

Example: “De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats method is a framework for solving problems by using different perspectives. The six hats are White Hat, Black Hat, Red Hat, Yellow Hat, Green Hat and Blue Hat. Each hat represents a different perspective on a situation or problem. For example, if I was working with a team to create an advertising campaign, we could each wear one of the hats to represent our individual ideas about the project. Then, we would discuss our ideas and combine them into a cohesive plan.”

15. Can you explain what abductive reasoning is?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of critical thinking. Abductive reasoning is a type of deductive reasoning that helps you make logical conclusions about the information you have available. You can use this opportunity to show how you apply critical thinking skills in your daily life and work.

Example: “Abductive reasoning is a method of deduction where I look at all possible explanations for something, then choose the one that makes the most sense based on the evidence. For example, if I were trying to figure out why my car wouldn’t start, I would first consider whether it was because of a dead battery or an issue with the starter. If I ruled out those two options, I would know that there must be another reason why my car isn’t starting.”

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Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers

We Are Teachers

100+ Critical Thinking Questions for Students To Ask About Anything

Critical thinkers question everything.

WeAreTeachers Staff

In an age of “fake news” claims and constant argument about pretty much any issue, critical thinking skills are key. Teach your students that it’s vital to ask questions about everything, but that it’s also important to ask the right sorts of questions. Students can use these critical thinking questions with fiction or nonfiction texts. They’re also useful when discussing important issues or trying to understand others’ motivations in general.

“Who” Critical Thinking Questions

Questions like these help students ponder who’s involved in a story and how the actions affect them. They’ll also consider who’s telling the tale and how reliable that narrator might be.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

“What” Critical Thinking Questions

Ask questions that explore issues more deeply, including those that might not be directly answered in the text.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

“Where” Critical Thinking Questions

Think about where the story is set and how it affects the actions. Plus, consider where and how you can learn more.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

“When” Critical Thinking Questions

Think about timing and the effect it has on the characters or people involved.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

“Why” Critical Thinking Questions

Asking “why” might be one of the most important parts of critical thinking. Exploring and understanding motivation helps develop empathy and make sense of difficult situations.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

“How” Critical Thinking Questions

Use these questions to consider how things happen and whether change is possible.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

More Critical Thinking Questions

Here are more questions to help probe further and deepen understanding.

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

critical and creative thinking questions and answers

What are your favorite critical thinking questions? Come exchange ideas on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out 10 tips for teaching kids to be awesome critical thinkers ..

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critical and creative thinking questions and answers

Creative Thinking Job Interview Questions

Employers value creative thinking skills in the workplace. The reason for this is that employees who are innovative, think outside of the box and are forward-thinking in their approach can help their company gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, it’s important to be able to demonstrate your creative thinking skills since they are important in many professions and workplaces.

Usually, interview questions about your creative thinking skills require you to provide the interviewer an example of a situation in which you applied them. Such questions are called behavioral job interview questions . In this case, this type of interview question focuses on work situations that you encountered in the past and how you have used your creativity. The way you respond to such questions tell the interviewer more about your ability to think creatively and outside of the box. For interviewers, the best indicator of your future job performance is by analyzing your behavior in previous positions. The answers you give during a job interview should convince the interviewer that you’re the right person for the position.

Interview questions about how you apply your creativity might sound challenging. However, it’s actually a good opportunity for you to demonstrate that you’re a great fit for the job. With the right preparation, you can use your answers to your advantage by demonstrating how you’re creativity made a positive contribution to the company.

Why the interviewer is interested in your creative thinking skills

So, what exactly is creative thinking, and why is it so important in the workplace? Creativity can mean several things but in general, means looking at something in a different or new way. Think of coming up with new ideas, implementing solutions, developing strategies, improving existing processes, solving problems, or cutting costs. Creative thinkers look at problems and situations from a fresh perspective. They are curious, imaginative, and optimistic in general. Creative thinking skills help the company work more efficiently and productively. You can imagine that employers look for employees who can bring such contributions.

In some professions, you can, for sure, expect job interview questions about creativity and creative thinking skills. For example, jobs in marketing, sales, media, design, advertising, etc. However, when you’re applying for a supervisor, manager, or any other leadership position, you should expect some of these questions as well. The main goal for the interviewer is to find out if you can think creatively with regard to solving problems.

Creative thinking skills involve approaches such as:

During job interviews, the interviewer wants to identify the level of creativity of applicants in order to find the right candidate. They are looking for specific skills that indicate that you possess the needed creative thinking skills for the job.

Top skills that indicate creative thinking skills:

Analytical thinking skills.

The skills give you the ability to analyze and understand the situation you’re in. Before you can start to think of creative solutions to a problem or challenge, you need to understand what it actually is that you need to work on. Analytical skills allow you to analyze things closely to fully understand what they mean. Whether you’re working on strategies, processes, data sets, you need to be able to analyze information to problem solve and make decisions.

Organizational skills

This skill regards the ability to stay focus on multiple tasks, and use your energy, time, strengths efficiently and effectively to reach the desired outcome. Organizational skills are a big part of channeling your creative thoughts into a plan of action. Once you have come up with a creative idea to handle a specific situation, you need to be able to convey your plan to others so that they understand your plan as well. The ability to structure an action plan after coming up with a creative idea t that includes goals and deadlines is essential.


If you want to innovate you need to be open-minded. Innovation does not only regard coming up with new ideas but also approaching existing things differently. Open-minded means considering alternative approaches to problem-solving while setting aside any assumptions or biases. It requires you to look at things from a different perspective.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help you determine what caused a problem or challenge and find an effective solution to solve it. Key problem-solving skills include performing research, analysis, active listening, and decision-making skills. Therefore, it’s important that when you’re discussing creative thinking skills during a job interview that you not only highlight your ability to think creatively but also that you possess the skills to solve problems and challenges.

Once you have identified a problem and came up with a creative way to solve it, it’s important that you know how to communicate this to others as well whether this is a colleague, supervisor or client. Clear communication is essential in the workplace and helps reduce any confusion, which in turn makes the implementation of an idea easier and more efficient. Active listening is another part of great communication skills. Through active listening, you’re able to process ideas and concepts better. By asking the right questions and thoroughly understanding challenges and problems, you can come up with unique approaches to address these issues.

Behavioral questions about creative thinking

The most effective way to assess your creative thinking skills is by asking behavioral job interview questions . These are strategic questions that require you to provide the interviewer with work situations that you encountered in the past by describing how you handled them. The way you respond to these questions tell the interviewer more about your personality, thought processes, work methods, and ethics.

There are multiple reasons why behavioral interview questions are used. The main objective of an interviewer is to find and hire the best candidate for the position, but also the one that fits the company culture .

Behavioral interview questions often start with:

As you can see, they require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and ask from you to elaborate on a specific situation. An example of a commonly used creative thinking ability interview question is ‘ tell me about a time you had to develop a creative approach to solve a problem .’ This question requires you to provide an actual situation from your past experience in which you used certain skills to solve a problem at work.

Behavioral interview questions are used to assess key skills such as creative thinking, but also communication , adaptability , leadership skills , and conflict resolution . The questions the interviewer asks relate to the most important characteristics needed for the job that you’re applying for. Your behavior and approach to past situations are the most accurate predictors of your performance in similar situations in the future.

Interviewers consider the following when using behavioral questions in a job interview:

Costs of bad hires

Making wrong hiring decisions is an expensive mistake to make for a company. Not only does it cost time and money to find candidates, once they are hired and turn out not to be the right person for the job, but they can also have a negative impact as well. Bad hires can have an impact on the rest of the team by, for instance, being an underperformer. This can, in turn, impact productiveness. This is the most important reason why interviewers ask you different kind of interview questions to assess your suitability for the job.

Important details of your behavior in the workplace

Behavioral questions require you to provide an example of how you have acted in past work situations. The information that you give in your answers is used to determine how your past performance aligns with the current hiring needs of the company. Furthermore, it gives them insights into your personality, creativity, problem-solving skills, and any other skill that they are looking for.

The best predictor for future performance is how you have acted in the past

The reason that employers are interested in how you handled situations in the past is that it’s the best indicator they can get to gauge your future success. It’s a proven technique that gives more insight into your future work performance . It’s therefore advisable to prepare for the most common interview questions and specific questions that you expect based on the job description and the research you have done on the company. Based on your answers, the interviewer wants to assess if you’re the right person for the position.

Hiring the right candidate and avoiding bad hiring decisions

Ultimately, behavioral interview questions are used by employers to make the best hiring decision. You previous patterns in work-related situations play an important part in this decision. Your answers give more insight into how you handle critical situations. Also, it shows if this approach matches the ones required for the job you’re applying for. If you prepare your interview in the right way, you can make sure that your answers include important aspects of the job’s requirements. As you can imagine, the interviewer is looking for candidates that fit the job description , so make sure to make your answers related.

Why creative thinking skills matter to the interviewer

As described earlier in this article, creative thinking skills are essential for companies to be successful. Employers are, therefore, interested in how you handle certain situations. This is also the reason that during job interviews, you should be able to demonstrate that you have used creative thinking skills in the past. The answers you provide should demonstrate that you can take on the day-to-day tasks required for the job and that you have development potential.

Behavioral interview questions about your creative thinking skills are used to find out who you really are and how you go about handling certain situations. The interviewers want to get the following questions answered:

Frequently asked job interview questions about creative thinking

Preparing answers to job interview questions about creative thinking

When you’re preparing your answers, it’s important to consider a couple of important elements during your preparation.

Start by researching the job description and company . By doing so, you can identify the needed skills, abilities, and competences for the job.

Create a list of skills, abilities, and competences

Behavioral questions are a great opportunity for you to demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the position. Based on the skills, abilities, and competences that you found through your research, you can prepare your answers. For a lot of companies, similar skills are important such as creativity, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, taking responsibility, etc. You can rank the skills on importance in relation to the requirements of the position that you are interviewing for.

Think about your greatest achievements

Create a list of your work experiences that include the required skills, abilities, and competences for the job. Highlight successful situations where you demonstrated behavior that shows your suitability. Focus on delivering a to-the-point and concise answer.

Provide successful situations and include challenging ones

It’s obvious that you should highlight situations that had a successful outcome. However, the interviewer might also be interested in challenging situations that you encountered during your previous jobs. It’s therefore important that you prepare to answer such questions.

Describe to the interviewer how you handled a certain situation, what you did, why you did it, and what the results of your actions were. Also, explain what you learned from the situation. Based on the information you give, there’s always a chance that the interviewer will ask follow-up questions. They do this to test your self-awareness by, for instance asking ‘ how you might handle a similar kind of situation differently ‘ now.

Structure your answer according to the STAR method

The interviewer wants you to elaborate on past work situations. Think of a common creative thinking interview questions such as: ‘ Tell me about a time you had to use your creativity to solve a problem at work .’ By preparing example scenarios to questions you’re expecting, you can give answers that the interviewer is looking for. Make sure that you provide the interviewer the situation you were in, your task in that situation, the action you took, and the specific results that can come out of those actions. This is called the STAR-method and is discussed in more detail later on in this article.

The STAR method allows you to provide to-the-point answers that are logically structured if you follow each step. Below the STAR method is discussed step by step.

General elements to consider when you’re preparing your answers:

STAR Interview Technique

As stated earlier, most creative thinking questions can be categorized as behavioral interview questions . The best way to answer these questions is by using the STAR method. This method allows you to provide the interviewer with a to-the-point answer of how you handled previous situations. Below the STAR acronym is broken down into steps.

Start by providing context around the situation or challenge that you were facing in your work. Provide the needed relevant details but stick to the essentials and keep it concise.

After you provide the context around the situation, provide the interviewer with information on your task. Discuss your specific responsibilities and what your role was in that situation.

Next, describe the actions that you took to resolve the situation or challenges you faced. The best way to go about this is by providing a step by step description of the actions you took.

After you discussed the situation, your task, and the actions you took, focus on the results. Describe the outcomes of your actions and make sure to take credit for your behavior that led to the result. This part of the answer should include what you accomplished but also what you learned from the situation. Always focus on positive results and positive learning experiences.

Mistakes to avoid when answering creative thinking questions

Below a couple of common mistakes are discussed. Make sure to avoid them during your job interview.

Unrelated answers

Always make sure that your answer relates to the skills needed for the position that you’re applying for. A common mistake that job candidates make when they’re not prepared for such interview questions is providing an unrelated answer. Unrelated answers provide the interviewer nothing that they are looking for and should, therefore, be avoided.

Rambling during a job interview can suggest that you’re unorganized in your thinking. However, it can also indicate that you did not prepare. When you’re walking the interviewer through your story, it’s easy to go into details and start rambling. By doing so, you might actually end up confusing the interviewer. It’s important that you prepare for different interview questions so that you stay on track during the actual interview. Use the STAR method that’s mentioned above to do this.

Not showing confidence

Interviewers look for candidates who are able to demonstrate their abilities in a confident manner. If you’re unsure about your accomplishments or you deliver a half-decent answer, this will hurt your chances of getting the job. It’s, therefore, a smart strategy to think of several example situations that you can use during your interview.

Sample answers to interview questions about creative thinking

Below some example answers to commonly asked creative thinking questions are discussed. However, these are only ‘general’ examples for your inspiration. Do not forget to structure your own answers and relate them to the requirements of the job to demonstrate your suitability.

Creative thinking interview question example 1:

The first question requires you to discuss a time when you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem. It’s important that you talk the interviewer through your creative process that brought you the positive results.

‘Tell me about a time you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem.’

‘In my current position as a business development manager, I’m responsible for a team of five and was tasked with identifying new business opportunities and maintaining relationships with existing clients. Last year, a client approached me who was looking for an additional service in our software that we did not yet provide at the time. For me, this was a great opportunity because it was a request for a new product on top of our current service that came from a client. 

I told our client that we did not offer that service at the time but that we could develop it fairly quick. I asked them how they used our product and how the new service in our software would benefit them in order to get a better understanding of their request and help them improve their business. After that, I contacted our development department, and we made a plan to develop the service within the next couple of months.

I presented the plan to our client and discussed that they could use the service for free on a trial basis to help us finetune the software. This allowed us to test the new features with an actual user of the product to get it ready to launch in the market. The client was impressed by our efforts in order to satisfy them and happily agreed with our solution. We were able to develop the new feature within three months and made it available for other clients after six. For our team, this was a great achievement that did not only help satisfy an important client but also generated additional turnover.’

Why is this a strong answer?

Creative thinking interview question example 2:

This question regards the ‘most’ creative project you have worked on in your career. This is an opportunity to highlight an accomplishment. Furthermore, it allows you to demonstrate that you have what it takes to successfully perform the job.

‘Tell me about the most creative project you have worked on.’

‘I worked on several projects that required creativity, but one really stands out. I had to make a plan to increase market share for our products and present this plan to our board. The company was going through a bit of a rough patch, and there was no room for an increase in the marketing budget. I analyzed several components that ranged from regionally expanding our footprint into new markets, distribution channels, differentiation of products, marketing, customer segments, and pricing structures. I tried to come up with a creative solution to provide the board with real options that would impact sales.

Based on my research, I advised the board to have a closer look at the distribution channels and how we’re currently selling our products. This was the ‘easiest’ way to increase market share without increasing the marketing costs too much. Up until that time, our products were sold through specialized dealers and as the availability at the point of sale is very important to customers, increasing our distribution footprint could offer us the potential to increase our market share. The demand for our product was higher than the availability through our dealers. The board was willing to try this new strategy, and I, together with my team, made a plan to start making the products directly available to customers through online outlets and retail stores.

Through the implementation of our new distribution strategy, we saw the first increase in market share within the first two months. At the end of that year, the sales of that product line were up over 25%, which was a great accomplishment.’

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