Critical Thinking: Situation of the Question
Sheika is about to take the preboard examination. The proctor told them that they are only given an hour to finish a 100-item examination. The questionnaires were given. Sheika is determined to finish the test before one hour. However, the situations on the questions were lengthy and she needs to finish it fast. She encircled the keywords and employed the process of elimination but she skipped reading the whole situation (because of the limited time). Exactly five minutes before the agreed time, she finished the test and was pretty sure of some answers. Now, the questions were rationalized and Sheika wondered why she got a poor mark despite using the process of eliminating possible wrong options and marking the keyword.
Answering board examination test involves the use of a critical thinking skill. In the above situation, Sheika did very well in being conscious of her time, identifying the keyword and eliminating the incorrect options. But she neglected another important factor – reading and noting the important details of the situation of a question.
In my previous article, I discussed about the keyword of a question. Keywords, once identified correctly, can lead to the right option. It is the root of a question. The root of a tree needs a strong foundation to be able to hold the branches and the fruits. Thus, a strong and lean trunk is present. If keywords are the root of a question, the situation of the question is the trunk. Situations, once read and understood, give a strong theoretical and actual-based foundation that further supports the keyword. Hence, the more chances that a person is led to the right option.
Now let’s take a look at this example.
Situation: Fairrie, a 4-year old child is diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. Nurse Anna is caring for this patient and is on her morning duty shift.
Which of the following clinical manifestations will be notable to Fairrie?
- Bradycardia, bradypnea, hypotension
- Tense and wide fontanelles
- Hypoactive reflexes
- Irritability and lethargy
Keywords: NOTABLE CLINICAL MANIFESTATION
The correct answer is irritability and lethargy. Hydrocephalus cause increase intracranial pressure which would be manifested by decreased pulse rate and respiration but an elevated BP. Thus, A is wrong. Children with hydrocephalus have hyperactive reflexes (hence, option C is incorrect), strabismus, and optic atrophy. These children exhibit a typical shrill high-pitched cry and become irritable and lethargic (Letter D) and for some they fail to thrive. Infant’s fontanelles become widen and tense and the suture lines on the skull separate. BUT WHAT MAKES LETTER B WRONG?
Go back at the situation; Fairrie is already 4-years old. Fontanelles are already closed by that time. Thus, Letter B is not applicable for her age, making Letter D (irritability and lethargy) the best choice.
Observe how a situation leads to the right option? As the keyword gives you direction, the situation will be the one that will reinforce the keyword and walk you through the given direction. Next time you answer a multiple choice question, don’t fail to read and take note of the important details the situation is telling you.
image from brianrnichols.com