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Understanding the Question

Understanding the Question

Author: Sydney Bauer
Description:
This lesson explains how to understand the question before answering.
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Tutorial

 

Understanding the Question

 

It is important to understand what a question is asking before you begin answering. It is easy to misread a question, especially when you are taking a test. You could write the most amazing response your teacher has ever seen, but if doesn’t answer the question you’ve been asked it won’t win you any points. It can also be difficult to form a response to a question you don’t understand. Having a solid understanding of what the question is asking you to do can often make it easier to respond to it.

 

Here are some tips that you can use to make sure you understand what a question is asking:

  • Look for content and process words:
    • Content words tell you what information the question is asking about.
    • Process words tell you what to do with that information
      • For example: the content words are in bold and the process words are italicized in the following question: Based on the information provided in the reading passage, how is Giovanni best described?
      • You’ll need to choose details from the passage that help describe the character of Giovanni.
  • State the question in your own words. Sometimes questions are worded in ways that make them difficult to understand, so it can be helpful to translate the question so that it makes sense to you before you answer it.
    • For example:
      • Original Question: Based on the information provided in the reading passage, how is Giovanni best described?
      • Own words: Based on what I know about him so far, how would I describe Giovanni?
         
  • Restate the question as a statement.
    • For example:
      • Original Question: Based on the information provided in the reading passage, how is Giovanni best described?
      • Statement: Based on the information provided in the passage, Giovanni is best described as…