Performance Perspectives Blog

Expert Level: Reading the Vignettes

by | Apr 23, 2010

The structure of the Expert Level exam is 80 multiple choice questions based on 20 vignettes. Thus, for each vignette there are four questions. Each multiple choice question will have three possible answers.

Please consider this suggestion in light of your own specific test taking strategies, I suggest that you take the following approach to the vignettes:

1. Skim the vignette to get a general sense of the scenario and the subject areas touched upon.

2. Read the four questions that accompany the vignette.

3. Go back to the vignette and read it more carefully. Now that you know the questions, you will have a better idea of what to focus on.

When I sat for the Expert exam, it was in the first period that it was offered and I did not have the benefit of anyone’s past experience. Thus, my first approach to the vignettes was to read them very carefully right off the bat, trying to understand them before I looked at the questions. This approach I found to ultimately be very time-consuming, and also frustrating when I discovered that there were occasionally questions that I could answer very quickly because they did not have to do with calculations (and in some cases had only a general connection to vignette).

I believe that if you follow the three steps above, you will use your time more efficiently during the exam. Unlike the Principles Exam, I think that most people will find they need most (if not all) of the allotted 3 hours to complete the exam. Every minute will count!

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