The process of elimination is the key strategy to correctly answering ASWB exam questions. You’re already doing it, whether you’re thinking of it as POE or not. But what is the best process for the process of elimination? Let’s take a look.

    • Read the Question Carefully. Before employing the process of elimination, ensure you fully comprehend the question. Pay close attention to the details, keywords, and any important qualifiers that may impact the correct response. Understanding the question thoroughly is essential to effectively eliminate incorrect answer choices.
    • Identify Obviously Incorrect Answers. Scan the answer choices and eliminate any options that are clearly incorrect. Look for answer choices that are factually incorrect, contradicted by the question stem, or go against ethical guidelines. By eliminating the obviously wrong answers, you narrow down the possibilities and improve your odds of selecting the correct response.
    • Identify Extreme or Absolute Statements. Watch out for answer choices that contain extreme or absolute statements. Social work deals with complex and nuanced situations, so it is rare that extreme statements will represent the best course of action. Look for options that offer a more subtle, balanced approach, as they are often more likely to be correct.
    • Utilize Prior Knowledge and Recall. Use your knowledge and recall from your ASWB exam preparation to eliminate answer choices that do not align with what you have learned. Remember key concepts, theories, and interventions relevant to social work practice. If an answer choice contradicts your understanding or is completely unfamiliar, it is likely incorrect.
    • Look for Patterns or Repetition. Sometimes, incorrect answer choices may contain similar keywords or concepts. If you notice patterns or repetition in the answer choices, it could indicate that those options are incorrect. Note: Be cautious, as this strategy is not foolproof, but it can help you narrow down your choices and make an educated guess.
    • Evaluate the Remaining Options. After employing the process of elimination, you should be left with a smaller set of answer choices–usually just two. Read each remaining option carefully, considering how it aligns with the question stem and your knowledge of social work practice. Use logical reasoning and critical thinking to select the most appropriate response among the remaining choices.
    • Practice, Practice, Practice. To master the process of elimination, practice is essential. Incorporate practice tests into your study routine. Analyze your mistakes and review the explanations for both correct and incorrect answers. By repeatedly applying the process of elimination, you will develop a sharper ability to identify incorrect choices and improve your overall test-taking skills.

Using the process of elimination has already been working for you. With attention and practice, it should work even better.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

July 6, 2023
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