Exam Prep Problem: I get hung up on practice questions like this: “What is the first step in implementing …”


It’s essential to understand how to interpret the language of the questions, especially when terms like “implementing” can imply a specific phase of a project or initiative.

When you encounter a question that asks, “What is the first step in implementing…,” it’s crucial to consider the context of the question within the framework it references, such as the ADDIE model (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate) or any other relevant process. Although “implementing” suggests action and might imply that the analysis and planning phases are complete, the key to answering such questions lies in understanding what needs to happen immediately before any implementation actions can begin.

Here are a few strategies to help you approach these questions

  1. Context is Key. Pay close attention to the context of the question. Even though it mentions “implementing,” the correct answer might still involve preparatory steps that are essential before the actual implementation begins. This could include finalizing plans, securing resources, or ensuring stakeholder alignment.
  2. Understand the Phases. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the phases of any models or frameworks mentioned (like ADDIE) and what each phase entails. This understanding will help you identify what logically precedes implementation within the specific context given. STUDY TIP – test question writers favor the first and last steps of processes.
  3. Don’t Ignore Pre-Implementation Steps. Even in the implementation phase, there could be critical first steps that are not about the physical act of implementing but rather about preparation or validation. These could include communicating the plan, conducting a final review, or securing leadership buy-in if not previously obtained.
  4. Question Simplification Strategy. While focusing on “the first step” is important, avoid oversimplifying the question to the point where you might miss critical nuances. It’s not about ignoring everything beyond the “first step” but about integrating it with the action phase being discussed. The question is asking for the most immediate action required as part of the implementation process, which might still involve analysis or planning in its context.
  5. Practice and Review. Continue practicing with a variety of questions and reviewing explanations for both correct and incorrect answers. This will help you better understand the test-makers’ logic and how to apply your knowledge effectively.

Questions that challenge your understanding of where you are within a process or framework are quite common on these exams. These questions test your ability to apply theoretical knowledge practically and contextually.

If you’re looking for more practice questions or more targeted practice and guidance, consider Conquer HR‘s Exam Prep Boot Camp, which offers an extremely intensive review and strategies to enhance your test-taking skills and confidence. To learn more, register for a live Boot Camp or purchase our Boot Camp On-Demand, check us out at www.conquer-hr.com.

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