Interview Question Time!

Discussion in 'Interviews' started by Matt, Nov 23, 2007.

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  1. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    [MENTION=12393]Emmmmma[/MENTION]: ooh 4 sleeps! Matt and/or I are working on another one as we speak, but if it's on monday, and you want the practise, I'm sure it's ok to reply to the qs in the old threads or some of the other threads that have sprung up (there's a JCU q thread, for example, maybe a few more.

    As far as I know, the interviewers will sometimes prompt you to answer something you may not have addressed, but some stations may have a supplementary q maybe slightly/tangentialy/ not be at all related to the initial scenario.

    [MENTION=12393]Emmmmma[/MENTION] : I really wasn't kidding, I went back and checked: some of my practice answers were very long winded, tangential, written in academicese, and one of them earnt me the suggestion that I was missing the forest for the trees (thank you [MENTION=998]Season[/MENTION] , it was a good point). Not that I enjoyed hearing it at the time. Hope you didn't take the criticism too much to heart, no one likes to be criticised at the best of times, and shortly before an interview isn't a good time. But I'm glad you took the advice. Also worth noting, it was actually a very small criticism: there's a lot of good things about your responses, which was what makes it worthwhile to offer the feedback at all. I don't think there's much danger of sounding like an inarticulate bogan, but the interviewer will be more focussed on what you say than how you say it, so it's probably better to sound like a kind, thoughtful empathetic bogan than a highly educated individual with nothing worthwhile to say. I never got around to transcribing them, but i did practice verbal replies, and I found it helpful.

    @all: whether or not you transcribe it, the idea of recording yourself answering the question is a good one and, if nothing else, will give you an idea of how much/little etc you can say in 5 minutes.
     
  2. Emmmmma

    Emmmmma New Member

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    [MENTION=8866]Dr Worm[/MENTION] ... not sure how much sleep I will be getting Sunday night (with nerves and all!), so it may only be 3 sleeps away!
    Thank you for that follow up, and don't be worried about offending me - I won't improve if I'm simply molly-coddled and praised! I have started using questions from previous mso threads, they are wonderful!!
    [OFFTOPIC]I hate having to worry about uni exams while preparing for this interview though!![/OFFTOPIC]
     
  3. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    Ethical Scenarios

    I have been looking through a couple of interview threads, trying to get some ideas on how to answer ethical scenarios. However, there is one which is seriously doing my head in. <_<

    " One of your old patients comes in to see you. You have received the results from his recent tests, which state that his heart is failing and he only has 6 to 12 months to live. Before you have a chance to disclose the information, your patient says that he is aware it is something serious, but he does not want to know what it is. He wants to live his life to the fullest, without any knowledge about the predicted life-span."

    What do you do?
    Would your opinion change if you knew that he had a huge family, which would be quite worried about him?


    And another variation of this question is:

    "You are obtaining consent from an old man before a major surgery, which is required to give him the best chance of survival. The old man says "Do what you need to do Doc, I don't want to know the details, they are only going to make me worried..". Do you get his signature without proper explanation of the risks/chances of complications/etc? Or do you force this information upon him, even though he insists to stay uninformed?"



    I think my biggest problem with answering these is that the concept of autonomy conflicts with veracity. On one hand, I should respect whatever decision my patient makes, even if I disagree with it. But on the other hand, I have an obligation to be completely honest, and do not hold back any knowledge regarding the patient's condition.

    Any ideas? :unsure:
     
  4. Havox

    Havox Sword and Martini Guy! Emeritus

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    First scenario. SPIKES is taught for breaking bad news.

    Setting: Appropriate time and place with adequate privacy.
    Perception: Ascertain what they think they have and what they think they know. Answer any questions and correct misconceptions.
    Invitation: Do they want to know or not?
    Knowledge: Tell them what they want to know and what they need to know in a caring and sensitive manner.
    Empathy: Validate their feelings and provide support.
    Summary: Debrief essentially. Summarise what has happened in the session, make sure everything is understood. Arrange follow-up.

    Second scenario is different I think. That's informed consent rather than respecting a patient's right to know. Putting a patient through a procedure without them knowing at least the risks/benefits analysis sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    [MENTION=10507]Usagi[/MENTION] I'll also point out that this thread is an obvious duplicate of the Interview Question Time threads, similar material should be tagged on the end of existing threads. Further breaches of this rule will be enforced with immediate thread closure and infractions placed upon the offending member.
     
  5. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    Thanks Havox, I also thought the second scenario had a stronger reason for disclosing the information. And SPIKES certainly makes it easier to remember what to do! :) Cheers for that.
    And sorry for duplicating the thread! I didn't mean to spam the website, or to become an offender. I'll know from now on :)
     
  6. Havox

    Havox Sword and Martini Guy! Emeritus

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    'sok, everyone does it at least once.
     
  7. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    New question

    This is an attempt to pose a question where there is no right answer, simply that a choice must be made, and defended, amongst a group of roughly equal choices, a worthwhile mental exercise. I deliberately tried to avoid an hard ethical dilema (ie, who gets the lifesaving treatment etc), but couldn't seem to avoid making this a bit long (to read). There's no right answer, just read the question, make a decision, and argue the case.

    You are on the scholarship committee at a university. Your university has one $5,000 p/a Equity and Access scholarship to award to a commencing medical student. This scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance to students who have experienced significant socio-economic or other disadvantage affecting their education. The scholarship is intended to be awarded on the basis of need, to a student who might otherwise have trouble accessing university, and will benefit from financial support. However, the Dean has made it clear that he does not want the scholarship to go to a student who is likely to drop out. Of the students who applied, you have a shortlist of 4 remaining candidates. Who do you recommend for the scholarship? Argue the case for them.

    Manjarieis a 25 year old woman who came to Australia as a political refugee. She has 2 children, aged 4 and 6, and is a single parent. She had started a medical degree in her country of origin, but discontinued when fled the country. She recently completed year 12 at tafe as a full time student. She says that she would like to work with women and children, and especially with refugees, with whom she does a lot of volunteer work. She has a CSP place in your med school.

    Jaydyn
    is a 19 year old man from an Aboriginal background. He left home, and dropped out of high school, when he was 13, working intermittently as a labourer, before returning to school at the age of 17. His ATAR was just below the cut-off, but was adjusted to account for attending a disadvantaged high school. He did very well at the interview, and was offered a CSP place at your school. Jaydyn says that returning to school and being able to catch up enough to do well-enough in the exams made him realise that he was truly talented at science, and his dream is to do medical research.

    Chris
    is an 18 year old woman. She comes from an extremely rural background, and had a disrupted education, largely completed by School of the Air, she has little experience of classroom learning. Chris's father is the only doctor in her region, and she has often "helped out" with his work. Her dream is to join the Royal Flying Doctors. She was offered an BMP place at your university, and she has applied for a bonded rural scholarship as well. If she accepts the rural bonded scholarship, she cannot accept your scholarship, it will be returned, and go to the next candidate on the list.

    Tony
    is an 18 year old man who attended a selective high school, and achieved a perfect ATAR. His parents live abroad, and provide sporadic financial and emotional support, but he has been living independently for most of the last 3 years. He is the only applicant who is not wholly dependant on a Centrelink allowance. He has a CSP place in your course. He has an older sister who has a moderate intellectual disability; she lives in supported accomadation, but her brother visits 2 or 3 times a week and has not insignificant carer responsibilities. Tony says he wants to specialise in paediatrics, and work with disabled children.
     
  8. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    Jumping in and having a go is probably the best place to start! Seems to work best to jump in, have a go, and then go back and see how other people have answered, what you liked and didn't like about their answers, etc. It can be the case in an interview that you will be asked a question about something unfamiliar (eg, a hospital environment). You can ask the interviewer for guidance, but you may not get it, and will have to imagine.

    There does seem to be a consensus amongst answers that there must be someone (a supervisor) who can help. This seems to me to be a fair assumption!
    It's a reasonable argument, you probably won't get any more information, you've just got to go on what you've got. I don't know that "vindictive" is the word for his comments though, more sort of righteously bigoted, perhaps. I would read the situation to imply that he wasn't intending to pick on anyone, but I'm not sure that has a bearing on whether the comments are offensive, or might be hurtful. I think there's a valid argument for either the say nothing or say something approach, and you've shown that you'd consider the circumstances before deciding. It might be helpful for you to clarify your feelings/position. ie, if you're argument is that you think the comments would be offensive in a social situation, but that he is your senior at work, and it is not a social setting, you could say so. Of course, you could volunteer what you would do if someone was visibly upset, or what you'd do if you felt he was deliberately bullying, but more than that, you could volunteer an opinion relative to you (ie, what do you think?). It does depend on how long you have. I'd assume 4-7 minutes, per question ( assume you can keep talking until you're interrupted, if and only if you still have something to say :). I say this all the time, but try recording yourself, or even just timing yourself talking. Helpful to get an idea of how long (or short) 5 minutes of talking is.
     
  9. BigRedSky

    BigRedSky Regular Member

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    This one is very relevant to some of us - it could easily be an MMI question.

    I would only take the offer after ensuring that I was meant to get the offer.

    I would ask questions as to why I'd received the offer, after all, the mistake could easily be mine - in fact, one could argue that it's more likely to be my mistake than the Unis. Possible errors could include:
    - Perhaps I'd misunderstood the complex admissions process?
    - Perhaps the cutoffs have been lowered for everyone?
    - Perhaps a special exemption had been made for myself and others for reasons I was not aware of?
    - Or, of course, perhaps I had been given the offer incorrectly.

    If the result of my questioning led me to find out that I should not have received the offer, then I would, albeit sadly, of course not take the offer, well, I would actually expect it would be retracted. I suppose if the Uni decided it was their mistake and I was to be given a chance, I may well take it?

    There is, however, no way I'm going to stay silent and not check out the error:
    - What if the mistake is realised 3 months down the track and I'm booted from the course? Better to know now.
    - How do I sleep at night knowing I haven't earned my place?
    - How do I learn along with people who will become friends and support networks if they find out and they too know I haven't earned my place, they'll possibly see me as a fraud - how do I ever earn their respect in that case (ever had someone like this in a team?)
    - How would I feel if instead I was the one who had missed out by 1 spot because an error had been made?

    Getting a place in medicine is one of the harder things to do in life - in Undergrad terms, you have to be about 1 in 20ish, give or take. If I get a place, I want to know that I've earned it, not been given someone else's place by accident.
     
  10. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    I think the three major criteria should be in this order:
    1) Basis of need (The scholarship is intended for applicants who experienced financial disadvantage / any other socio-economic disadvantage which affected their education)
    2) "Prospect-of-Success" (How will the person benefit from it, how will the scholarship change the person's life)
    3) The Likelihood of the student dropping out of university.


    Now, just judging from the Basis of Need, it is clear, that the top three applicants would be: Manjarie, Jaydyn and Chris, as all three of them are wholly dependent on Centrelink allowance, and thus are in financial need. Unfortunately Tony does not qualify for financial disadvantage, which is why I think his application should be considered last. (Also, criteria 2 does not support him, as he would benefit from this scholarship the least, because his parents are already providing much-needed financial and emotional support).

    As for any other socio-economic disadvantage, 3 of them have definitely experienced it. Manajarie had a huge disruption to her schooling due to reasons beyond her control, and Chris has experienced great isolation during her schooling which would surely have affected her education. As for Jaydyn, he went to a disadvantaged high school. It would also be useful to explore further the reasons which made him drop out of school at such an early age. Perhaps he was bullied, or maybe his family needed financial assistance and forced him to work instead of finishing school - these would be the kind of reasons which would support the fact that he experienced a socio-economic disadvantage.

    I want to make a point, that I am not comparing the strength of the student's disadvantages. This is because no other person besides them can ever understand the extent to which they were disadvantaged by a particular factor. Hence, I cannot judge whether Chris's rural isolation is more "serious" than Jaydyn's disadvantaged high school.

    All 3 of them are also wholly dependent on Centrelink, but then again, I cannot compare their Cntr allowance, because it would be different due to some factors, which I don't want to affect my judgement (ie. number of dependents, Aboriginal or not, age, rent assistance, refuge). And my reason for not using these factors, is because they are simply unfair to other applicants, and are very subjective. I want to promote equal and fair opportunity, no matter what the ethnicity, age, no. of kids, value to society, dreams for the future are. (which is why I find the majority of info about who they want to be in the future irrelevant) Imagine if the scholarship recipients were chosen by these criteria, it would be impossible to adequately and fairly justify my decision! I cannot penalize applicants for not having children (they might be too young!), or not receiving rent assistance (they might be living with parents!). Thus, even though the Cntr allowance will be different, I consider all 3 applicants equal at this stage.

    As for Criteria 2, all 3 applicants would benefit greatly from the scholarship, so "Prospect-of-Success" is present in all three of them. Again, I cannot judge who would benefit more or less. I can simply tick the box, that all 3 of them would benefit from this scholarship.

    And as for the last criteria, I would have to speak to the Dean of the school personally. I can understand how important the funds are to university, and that they might be very scarce, but noone should have the right to judge the "likelihood" of someone dropping out. This is absolutely unpredictable! Even the students who are notorious for swapping from one degree to another, have the ability to finish a particular degree, and MANY of them do! Thus, I would try to sensibly outline my reasons for not considering Criteria 3 to the Dean, and hope that he would understand. I could also mention, that the university should be known for giving fair opportunity to every applicant, and this is the moral value which needs to be supported.
    As for the solution, if the scholarship was not open yet, I would ask the Dean to add a REASONABLE 3rd criteria. Perhaps we could rename the scholarship to "Disadvantaged with families to support", or "Disadvantaged Aboriginal". Only then, I could use other factors such as presence of dependents, ethnicity, etc. to choose the scholarship recipient.

    BUT SINCE, the scholarship has already been opened, and the potential recipients have been chosen, there is only one way to decide.... Random selection time!!! :nanner: Put the 3 names in the hat (Chris, Jaydyn, Manjarie) and voila! Problem solved.

    *** in the future, before a scholarship is opened, it would be very useful to revise how reasonable to criteria are to save all this trouble :)
     
  11. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    I'm still having trouble with the fact that she requested to donate her body in confidentiality (without telling her son/husband). Why were they told then? Isn't this a breach of patient's wishes?

    But, if I consider that everything is good and legal, like you said, then I would approach the issue in this way:

    It is extremely difficult to cope when someone loses a close family member. The father and the son need to be given proper grieving time, and the thing they need the most right now is support. I need to be there for them. They could be confused about what is the right thing to do by their mother/wife. Maybe they feel guilty for even considering the donation of Mrs. Jones' body to science? How are they coping with this sudden loss of a close family member?

    I don't think the issue of donation should even be mentioned when they are in such a fragile state of mind. I need to be compassionate and supportive. Perhaps there are special groups for people who lost close family members to accidents? A support group would really be useful for the father and son, as well as adequate counseling. I could contact their other family members and ask them to look after them for a month or so, just to help them get back on their feet. What was Mrs.Jones role in the family? Was she always responsible for cooking meals, cleaning the house or was she always at work? If so, it is going to be really hard for the family to get back to their usual routine, and that's why it would be useful to ask someone related/close to them to help out with the maintenance of the house/etc. The aim of this is to help get things back on track, and make the family's life as "normal" as possible.

    Only when I am satisfied that they are in a better state of mind, and appear to be dealing well about this tragic accident, I will ask them to come in for an appointment to discuss some possible options about what to do now. As much as I want the university's students to have more practice, this does not give me the right to subtly influence their decision in my favour. I need to ensure both understanding and acceptance about different options available to them, their advantages and disadvantages. And I want their decision to be made freely, without any influence, which is why it would be useful to discuss what "they feel they should do", and why it is so. There could be under pressure from other family members to NOT donate the body/etc?
    After answering any questions they have about the possible options, I would address the issue of integrity of the donated body. I would tell them that there is a lot of supervision involved, and students are discouraged from behaving in an offensive manner. Above all, I need to go through all options and their benefits/disadvantages without being biased.

    In the end, when I am sure that the family has made a decision which they wanted to, I will respect it. It does not matter whether I like the decision or not, or whether I think it is right or wrong. As long as it is a competently made decision, I will be happy to proceed further with whatever action is required.
     
  12. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    [MENTION=10507]Usagi[/MENTION]: Interesting approach. I'm not sure how well it would work if you had a question like this in an interview, I imagine it would depend on the interviewer, and what they were assessing.

    I wonder how you think scholarships are awarded, in real life; there are scholarships awarded on exactly these grounds. ie need/equity. Likewise, in real life, universities are run as businesses, and they do have a right to attempt to make predictions about student outcomes. If nothing else, so they can identify what they need to do differently, to help. At a few institutions, the question of scholarship uptake/ outcome, and or equity has been highly political in recent years; there may be either a political/economic advantage in either direction (ie, it may look bad if your equity students all drop out, or conversely, you may leverage the drop out rate of disadvantaged students to argue for additional govt funding....etc). I'm not suggesting it's a good thing, just that it's not unlikely that the probable outcome for the student could be a legitimate consideration.

    I wrote this one to intentionally be a no right answer kind of question between roughly equal choices, along the lines of the "you can only save one patient, who do you save" type of question. That is, the question is inherently unfair, but decidedly answerable.

    I imagine that refusing to answer a question because the question was unfair would be ill advised (as we know, I did, in an interview, argue over several of the questions. In one case, well, in another case, not so well, and not sensibly, and this was clearly a bad idea, had to give up the argument and just answer the damn question. SO just be cautious, if you find yourself taking this route.

    I'd be curious to know what others think, but overall, I would say that while I thought talk to the dean/ rename the scholarship was something of a red herring, I think you answered the question.

    I think you may have got a different answer if you had accepted the idea that you had to make a judgement about the likely outcome of the student (that they have low risk of dropping out) but perhaps not. You clearly showed yourself to be concerned with fairness, and with the hazard of moral relativity, you showed that you'd understood the question, you excluded one person from your consideration on fair grounds (although note that you could also have interpreted that differently).

    The argument that there is no valid right choice, and one should assign the scholarship randomly is, I think, a valid answer. Had you not said so, you would have just not answered the question, but since you put the names in the hat, I think it counts as a good answer ! MOre erudite philosophers than I have made the same argument for (vaguely) similar philosophical problems.
     
  13. BigRedSky

    BigRedSky Regular Member

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    [MENTION=8866]Dr Worm[/MENTION] & @Matt : Thanks for the scenario. I won't post my reply - primarily as I just did it verbally in 8 mins and I don't now feel like typing it, but also partly as it's such a personal one too, I mean one could easily make a case for any of the applicants. That said, I still felt one applicant stood out by far, and that one was .... obvious to me at least :p.

    Seriously though, thanks for your time and effort in creating and responding to scenarios.
     
  14. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    [MENTION=10507]Usagi[/MENTION]: this is a good answer, and very much focussed on the feelings of the people involved.

    It may be that in a similar situation you would not have time for them to be in a better frame of mind and would not be able to defer the discussion, so the "only when..." is too extreme, but other than that, a very good answer

    [MENTION=5638]Havox[/MENTION]: sorry, could be my bad, I'm pretty sure I suggested to one or two people that they could necro the old threads if they had run out of questions in the new thread.

    ALL: The link to the current (new) interview thread is on the first page of this thread (my connection is slow, so I'm not linking again)
     
  15. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    @Dr Worm Thank you very much for your feedback, which I really appreciate. First time attempting to answer these questions, so I will try to take your points on board. :)

    I honestly have no clue how scholarships in real life work! And you are right that universities are just like any other business, which is why the interviewers probably wouldn't appreciate my way of answering the question...

    I got another idea today on how to decide between the applicants! It might be useful to view the number of other scholarships available, ie. no. of Aboriginal scholarships, no. of Rural, etc and then assign this scholarship to whichever group seems to be the most underrepresented one. Because there might be 100's of scholarships available for Aboriginal Australians, but none for Students with Children.. But this doesn't really address the "dropping out of uni" issue, which I don't really know how to answer fairly :unsure:

    I could say that Manjarie is older, and thus more mature, and hence would be able to handle the uni-life better. But this feels so judgmental! It's almost like assuming that if you are old, you are mature. Gah
     
  16. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    Oh, please tell me which one is the obvious one! None of them jump out at me :(
     
  17. poutine

    poutine New Member

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    For me, I would hand the scholarship to Manjarie. Below are my various reasons:

    1. Tony is not wholly dependent on Centrelink allowance and therefore, does not have the same level of financial need as the other applicants. As this is an "Equity and Access" scholarship, I believe this rules him out (below the others, at least).

    2. Jaydyn has a history of dropping out of his education. Due to this, he is the most likely to drop out of university later on, particularly with the heavy course load. As this is an issue the Dean would like me to look for, Jaydyn does not seem to be the perfect candidate. Academically, he also has the lowest entrance score.

    3. Chris has little experience of classroom learning and may be quite shocked at being thrown into a very demanding course requiring lots of contact hours. However, she still has potential. Yet the text implies that she has been offered another scholarship ("if she accepts the rural bonded...") and she cannot hold both. Therefore, I believe this scholarship should go to someone else. Even if she didn't get the other scholarship, her lack of classroom experience may result in significant stress resulting in her dropping out of the course. (Note: while Chris isn't a bad candidate, Manjarie seems to be a more well-rounded person/student and openly displays qualities that the scholarship committee is looking for. eg. persistance)

    4. Manjarie displays financial need and has come from a very difficult background. She has shown perseverance by going back to school in this new country, even though she had begun her training as a doctor overseas. Her commitment to study was shown by her completing a full year of TAFE, even though she has two young children. As medicine is an expensive study option, it may act as a deterrent for her to become a physician. Therefore, aiding with her finances will help put her mind at ease to be able to focus on the demanding balance between family and study. Note: she also has time for volunteer work. This shows she is willing to give back to her community. It also shows that she has developed good time management skills to fit so many different aspects (study, family, work) into her everyday life.

    So that is my two cents worth. Just for clarification, I think each candidate deserves a scholarship as they all show potential. However, I believe Manjarie is the most worthy candidate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  18. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    [MENTION=10507]Usagi[/MENTION]: It's only obvious if you make the same assumptions. If, as poutine does, you give Manjarie bonus points for full time tafe, and volunteer work with 2 small children, you can easily conclude that she has excellent time management skills. And it may be she does, but it could also be that another family member provides most of care of the children, and other support...

    You could make a good argument for any of them.
     
  19. Usagi

    Usagi New Member

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    Oh, that's why... I feel like I totally went off course with that question.. Oh well, any practice is good practice.
     
  20. Dr Worm

    Dr Worm Regular Member

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    @ usagi: that's not what I meant. I still think your first answer was fine. The point of this question was that it is quite possible to make a good argument for any of the candidates. WHich one you would argue for largely depends on what assumptions you make; you don't have much information, so you fill in the blanks with assumptions. No one has yet, but you could argue - for example - that if Tony is "not wholly dependant" on centrelink (but may still be on centrelink), but has made the shortlist anyway, his finances must still be a bit dire, and comparable to the others and that given the unusual situation of living alone as a 16-18 year old with "sporadic" parental support, and significant carer responsibilities that he's shown tremendous potential and talent thus far, under adversity, and most deserves support....

    There are a lot of arguments you could make. The point of the question was (in part) to force a decision in a situation you had limited information, and no real "best" answer. It's a matter of interpretation. In my opinion, these kinds of questions are the hardest ones for people to come at, until they get used to the idea.

    If you want another question in the same style, let me know, and I'll write one.

    If you've a library (actually, they may be on youtube), check out Geoffrey Robertson's "Hypotheticals"
     
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