New York State Department of Civil Service. Committed to Innovation, Quality, and Excellence. A Guide to the Written Test. for the. - PDF

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New York State Department of Civil Service Committed to Innovation, Quality, and Excellence A Guide to the Written Test for the Caseworker Series Andrew M. Cuomo Governor Jerry Boone Commissioner - 0 -
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New York State Department of Civil Service Committed to Innovation, Quality, and Excellence A Guide to the Written Test for the Caseworker Series Andrew M. Cuomo Governor Jerry Boone Commissioner - 0 - Table of Contents 1. Introduction and list of subject areas Subject areas, test tasks, sample questions and solutions 1. Establishing and maintaining effective helping relationships in a social casework setting Interviewing (caseworker) Preparing written material General test-taking guidelines Strategies that may improve your test performance Helpful tips Test Security INTRODUCTION The New York State Department of Civil Service has developed this test guide to familiarize you with the written test for the Caseworker Series. This test guide provides a general description of the subject areas which will be tested and the different types of questions you may see on the tests in this series. The written test for the Caseworker Series has an overall time allowance of 3 hours. The test questions will cover the following three subject areas: 1. ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE HELPING RELATIONSHIPS IN A SOCIAL CASEWORK SETTING: These questions test for an understanding of the factors contributing to the development and maintenance of productive client-worker relationships. You will be provided with descriptions of specific client-worker interactions and asked to select the appropriate responses. The questions cover such topics as confidentiality, time management, professional ethics, and referral techniques. 2. INTERVIEWING (CASEWORKER): These questions test for an understanding of the principles and techniques of interviewing and their application to specific client-worker situations. You will be provided with a series of concrete interviewing situations for which you will be required to select an appropriate course of action based on an analysis of the situation, the application of the information provided, and the ramifications of various interviewing principles and strategies. You will also be asked questions about the interviewing process and various interviewing techniques. 3. PREPARING WRITTEN MATERIAL: These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order. You must then choose, from four suggestions, the best order for the sentences. The next sections of this test guide explain how you will be tested in each of the subject areas listed above. A TEST TASK is provided for each subject area. This is an explanation of how a question is presented and how to correctly answer it. Read each explanation carefully. This test guide also provides at least one SAMPLE QUESTION for each subject area. The sample question is similar to the type of questions that will be presented on the actual test. This test guide provides the SOLUTION and correct answer to each sample question. You should study each sample question and solution in order to understand how the correct answer was determined SUBJECT AREA 1 ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE HELPING RELATIONSHIPS IN A SOCIAL CASEWORK SETTING: These questions test for an understanding of the factors contributing to the development and maintenance of productive client-worker relationships. You will be provided with descriptions of specific client-worker interactions and asked to select the appropriate responses. The questions cover such topics as confidentiality, time management, professional ethics, and referral techniques. TEST TASK: You will be presented with questions that describe specific client-worker situations. Each question will be followed by four choices listing different ways to handle the situation. You must determine which of the four choices is the best or most appropriate. Note: You may be able to think of a better approach than any of the choices provided, but you must pick the best of those provided. SAMPLE QUESTION: A client has been unemployed for two years. She has tried to hold a job but has failed each time. She has come to you for help in securing employment. From your initial meetings with her, there are indications that she is not sincere about getting and keeping a job. Which one of the following is the best way to handle this situation? A. Suggest to her that a probable reason for her past failure is that she really doesn't want to work. B. Discuss job possibilities and direct her to the appropriate employment agencies. C. Ask her opinion on why she has been unable to keep a job. D. Ask her to explain why she thinks she needs a job. SOLUTION: To determine the best way to handle this siutaion, you must evaluate each choice provided. Choice A is negative and confrontational. The client may become defensive and hostile. She may not recognize the fact that her behavior causes a problem. This will not help to engage her in a constructive dialogue to help find a solution. Choice B ignores the client s problem. She has been unable to keep a job, and merely discussing job possibilities and referring her to employment agencies without addressing this problem is unlikely to help her to obtain and keep a job. Choice C is the best among the choices given. The client is asked for her opinion about why she has been unable to keep a job, rather than being told a probable reason as in choice A. This approach is much more likely to lead to an open and productive discussion in which the client can recognize that she has a problem, and in which you can be seen as an ally in helping her, rather than as an accuser. Such a discussion may also reveal some issues that you were not aware of and which may be contributing to the client s inability to keep a job. Choice D asks the client why she thinks she needs a job. This question does not address the point of the interview -- the client s inabiity to keep a job. The best answer to this sample question is C SUBJECT AREA 2 INTERVIEWING (CASEWORKER): These questions test for an understanding of the principles and techniques of interviewing and their application to specific client-worker situations. You will be provided with a series of concrete interviewing situations for which you will be required to select an appropriate course of action based on an analysis of the situation, the application of the information provided, and the ramifications of various interviewing principles and strategies. You will also be asked questions about the interviewing process and various interviewing techniques. TEST TASK: You will be presented with questions that describe specific client-worker situations. Each question will be followed by four choices listing different ways to handle the situation. You must select the most appropriate course of action to take, based on an analysis of the situation, the application of the information provided, and the ramifications of various interviewing principles and strategies. Note: You may be able to think of a better approach than any of the choices provided, but you must pick the best of those provided. SAMPLE QUESTION: You have been interviewing a client and now have enough information to make the necessary decisions. However, the client just will not stop talking and is repeating, in slightly different words, the information that he has already given you. Which one of the following is the best way to deal with this situation? A. Tell the client that the interview time is up and that if he has more to say, you can set up another appointment for the near future. B. Thank the client for coming in. Tell him that his information has been very helpful and you will contact him if you need additional information. C. Tell the client you would like to hear more, but that it will have to be postponed to some future date. D. Thank the client for coming in, but explain that others are waiting so you must end the interview. SOLUTION: To determine the best way to deal with this situation, you must evaluate each choice provided. Choice A gives the initiative to schedule another appointment to the client. This may lead to an unnecessary appointment. You already have enough information to make the necessary decisions, and there is no need for another appointment with the client in the near future. Choice B is best. By thanking the client for coming in, you are being positive. By telling him how helpful his information has been, you continue in this positive direction. By telling him that you will contact him if you need additional information, you make it clear that you have the necessary data, and you maintain the initiative to schedule another appointment. Choice C, like choice A, gives the initiative to schedule another appointment to the client and may result in an unnecessary appointment. Also, telling the client you would like to hear more, but postponing it to some future date, is contradictory and sends the client a mixed message. Choice D begins well -- thanking the client for coming in is positive. However, explaining that others are waiting so you must end the interview leaves the client with the impression that you are rushing him out and that you are more concerned with the people who are waiting than you are with him. The best answer to this sample question is B SUBJECT AREA 3 PREPARING WRITTEN MATERIAL: These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. TEST TASK: There are two separate test tasks in this subject area. For the first, Information Presentation, you will be given information in two or three sentences, followed by four restatements of the information. You must then select the choice which presents the information most clearly, accurately, and completely. For the second, Paragraph Organization, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order, and then be asked to choose, from among four suggestions, the best order for the sentences. INFORMATION PRESENTATION SAMPLE QUESTION: Martin Wilson failed to take proper precautions. His failure to take proper precautions caused a personal injury accident. Which one of the following best presents the information above? A. Martin Wilson failed to take proper precautions that caused a personal injury accident. B. Proper precautions, which Martin Wilson failed to take, caused a personal injury accident. C. Martin Wilson s failure to take proper precautions caused a personal injury accident. D. Martin Wilson, who failed to take proper precautions, was in a personal injury accident. SOLUTION: Choice A conveys the incorrect impression that proper precautions caused a personal injury accident. Choice B conveys the incorrect impression that proper precautions caused a personal injury accident. Choice C best presents the original information: Martin Wilson failed to take proper precautions and this failure caused a personal injury accident. Choice D states that Martin Wilson was in a personal injury accident. The original information states that Martin Wilson caused a personal injury accident, but it does not state that Martin Wilson was in a personal injury accident. The best answer to this sample question is C SUBJECT AREA 3 - CONTINUED PARAGRAPH ORGANIZATION SAMPLE QUESTION: The following question is based upon a group of sentences. The sentences are shown out of sequence, but when correctly arranged, they form a connected, well-organized paragraph. Read the sentences, and then answer the question about the best arrangement of these sentences. 1. Eventually, they piece all of this information together and make a choice. 2. Before actually deciding upon a human services job, people usually think about several possibilities. 3. They imagine themselves in different situations, and in so doing, they probably think about their interests, goals, and abilities. 4. Choosing among occupations in the field of human services is an important decision to make. Which one of the following is the best arrangement of these sentences? A B C D SOLUTION: Choices A and C present the information in the paragraph out of logical sequence. In both A and C, sentence 1 comes before sentence 3. The key element in the organization of this paragraph is that sentence 3 contains the information to which sentence 1 refers; therefore, in logical sequence, sentence 3 should come before sentence 1. Choice B also presents the information in the paragraph out of logical sequence. Choice B places sentence 4 in between sentence 1 and sentence 3, thereby interrupting the logical sequence of the information in the paragraph. Choice D presents the information in the paragraph in the best logical sequence. Sentence 4 introduces the main idea of the paragraph: choosing an occupation in the field of human services. Sentences then follow up on this idea by describing, in order, the steps involved in making such a choice. The best answer to this sample question is D GENERAL TEST-TAKING GUIDELINES Read all test directions and instructions carefully. Make sure that you carefully read and follow all directions and any special instructions for the test. If sample questions are provided, do them for practice. Make sure you understand the directions and instructions before you start to answer the questions. Make sure you are answering the correct test questions in the correct test booklets. The particular test you are taking may involve skipping some questions in the test booklet or may involve answering questions in more than one test booklet. You are responsible for making sure you get the right test booklets for your particular test and for determining which questions you are to answer. Refer to your test materials for information on which test booklets and questions you are to answer. Make sure the choice you mark on your answer sheet matches the question you are answering in the test booklet. Most written multiple-choice tests are scanned and scored by machine. You will not get credit for choices you mark in the wrong place on the answer sheet. Check your work to make sure that the number of the question you are answering in the test booklet matches the choice you are marking on your answer sheet. Make sure you record all your answers on the answer sheet. Only the answers you mark on your answer sheet will be counted toward your score. Make sure you fill in the circles for your choices completely and carefully. Avoid making stray pencil marks on your answer sheet. The scanning machine may interpret these marks to be your answers. 7 STRATEGIES THAT MAY IMPROVE YOUR TEST PERFORMANCE Budget your time wisely Take note of the test time allowance and of the starting and stopping times. Look at the whole test first and then decide how much time to allow yourself for each part. You may want to answer the easy questions first. You get just as much credit for an easy question as for a hard one. Do not take too much time trying to answer the difficult questions. Jot down the number of the difficult questions and then come back to them later if you have time. (If you do skip a question in the test booklet, make sure you skip that answer on your answer sheet as well.) Keep track of the time as you go through the test. Know how much time you have and how many questions you have left to do. If some parts of your test are separately timed, work as rapidly as you can but stay calm and pay attention to the time limit. Read each question carefully Make sure you read what is actually printed in the test booklet. The questions are designed to test your knowledge, skills, or abilities in a subject area. They are not meant to trick you or to be deceptive. Read each question carefully, follow the directions given, and answer each question based on the information given and on the actual question asked. After you read the question carefully, read each choice carefully. Make sure that you understand each choice before you decide which one is best. Pick the one choice that best answers the question given. Do not jump to conclusions. Be thorough and think about all the choices. If you do not read each choice carefully, you could easily miss the best one. Be alert to key words Key words establish a condition that only the correct answer meets. Words like best, greatest, always, or most are examples of key words. If a question asks you to identify the best choice among four given, it may be that each of the four choices is a possible answer, but only one of the four choices is the best answer. To answer this type of question correctly, you must carefully read and compare all the choices given. Here are some examples of questions that contain key words. These examples may be different than the types of questions used in the tests covered by this test guide. They are presented here only to illustrate the importance of key words. 1. Of the following foods, which one provides the most vitamin C in a one-cup serving? A. grapefruit juice B. sliced peaches C. mashed potatoes D. chopped broccoli Answer: This question asks which of the foods listed provides the most vitamin C in a one-cup serving. The key word in this question is most. All of the foods mentioned in the choices contain some vitamin C. Many people know that citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are good sources of vitamin C. That makes choice A look attractive. But one cup of broccoli actually contains more vitamin C than one cup of grapefruit juice. Choice D is the best answer. To answer this question correctly, you must read all four choices carefully before you can determine the best answer. 8 2. Of the following, which one is generally the best way to repair a Compton machine that will not start? A. Replace the entire engine. B. Replace the ignitions wires. C. Clean the carburetor. D. Clean the valves. Answer: This question asks which one of the choices listed is generally the best way to repair a Compton machine that will not start. The key words in this question are generally and best. Assume that in 99 out of 100 cases, the best way to repair a Compton machine that will not start is to replace the ignition wires. Then choice B, replace the ignition wires, is generally the best way to do the repair. Choice B is the correct answer to this question. Questions that use words like generally and usually are looking for the rule, not the exception. Other key words of this type are common, likely, more, often, primarily, probably, typically, and usually. When you see these words in a question, look for the choice that would be correct most of the time. Do not select the choice that would be correct only some of the time or on rare occasion. Be alert to questions that use words like disadvantage, except, least and not. If the question asks about a disadvantage, be sure not to choose an advantage as your answer. Words that begin with non- or un- are ways of saying not. 3. If grease in a pan catches fire, it is unwise to do which one of the following? A. Cover the pan with a lid. B. Pour water on the fire. Answer: This question asks you to identify which action is unwise to do if grease in a pan catches fire. The key word in this question is unwise. This word should alert you that the question is looking for what you should not do, rather than what you should do if grease in a pan catches fire. Choice A, covering the pan with a lid, would smother the fire by cutting off the oxygen it needs to burn. Choice A is what you should do if grease in a pan catches fire. However, since this question asks what is unwise to do, choice A is the wrong answer to this question. Choice B, pouring water on the fire, would cause the grease and fire in the pan to spatter because water and grease do not mix. This could cause injury or make the fire spread.
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