Ask the Right Question!

January 30, 2015


It’s very easy to get confused and lose your way when you read a test question. Often all four answers are “reasonable”, and you don’t have a basis on which to choose the correct one. Here’s a useful strategy:


Ask yourself: What is this question about?


For example:


Mrs. Smith is meeting with a social worker to learn better ways to parent. She describes her three boys as “ wild and unruly”, mentioning that her husband was the one who they listened to. Since their separation three months ago, she is feeling frustrated, has little energy, and loses her temper easily. To best help the family the social worker should first:


A) Assess Mrs. Smith for depression.

B) Suggest she join a “Women In Transition” group.

C) Schedule a home visit to observe the interactions between her client and the children.

D) Schedule a meeting with both parents.


Ask yourself: What is this Question About?


Possible answers:

            1 – Indicators of depression?

            2 – Help with the emotional/practical impact of separation?

            3 – How to teach child management techniques?

            4 – Who should be involved to solve the presenting problem?


Which of the above four choices best addresses the subject of the question? (While her symptoms could be indicators of depression, there is no indication that she cannot function, is truly impaired by her mood.) The question clearly states her goal in the very first sentence: to improve her parenting skills.) Therefore “C” is the first step toward assessing the behaviors in the natural setting that will be the target of change.

So, the identification of the concept being illustrated by the question can be a very useful tool to keep you positioned on the path to the correct answer. Try this technique on other practice questions to see if it helps and let me know what you think on Passitpro’s Facebook page!

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