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This paper reports on an action research conducted in a university semantic course for senior students of English in Vietnam. With the assumption that problem-based learning (PBL) approach promotes students’ thinking skills and facilitate students’ learning, the researcher designed problem-based learning activities that required students’ employment of higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) in their learning. By the time this paper was written, the action has fnished its two cycles; each cycle lasted for nine weeks. The participants of the study were 31 students of Applied Linguistics in a college of foreign languages in Vietnam. The findings shed light on the extent to which PBL activities can promote students’ use of HOTS and facilitate their learning in their English semantic class.