Metacognitive reading strategies represent a goal-driven system that plays a role in critical thinking verbal tasks in students. Research reveals that greater attentional focus and use of executive functions is associated with lower trait anxiety, and better verbal reasoning. However, high verbal reasoning is also positively associated with trait anxiety. In this study, 122 undergraduate students were given Metacognitive Awareness Reading Strategy Inventory, critical thinking verbal task (WGCTA), and trait anxiety inventory. High global reading (GLOB) and high problem-solving strategy (PROB) groups had highest WGCTA scores, but moderate levels of anxiety. Low GLOB and low PROB groups had lowest WGCTA and high anxiety scores. There was no significant difference between support reading strategy groups for WGCTA and trait anxiety. Overall, high GLOB and PROB groups revealed effective use of a goal-directed system, which offset the effects of anxiety resulting in high WGCTA scores.