Case-Style or Scenario Assessments

In a case-style or scenario assessment, questions ask you to analyze and respond to a case study (sometimes called scenarios). The purpose of case-style assessments is to test your ability to apply the theory and concepts that you learn in class to real-world and industry-related situations.

Preparing for Case-Style Assessments

  • Start by identifying the theories and concepts covered in your course. Organize and review the information you have on these theories/concepts so you understand them.
  • Practice reading case studies and identifying relevant information. It’s probably useful to practice doing this with a time limit as you will have one in your exam.
  • Practice relating concepts and theories to real-world situations — check textbooks and course notes for practice examples. It is also worth checking past exams for your course to see if there are examples of case-study questions.

To be successful in a case-style assessment it is important to study to understand instead of study to know. The following video from the Learning Curve may be helpful for preparing for case studies, where you will need to study to understand.

During Case-Style Assessments

  • Have a clear idea of how much time you have to answer the question, then plan to spend some time reading the exam question, the case study, and developing your answer.
  • Make sure you understand the case study and know what the question is asking you to do:
    • read the question(s);
    • skim the case study to get the general idea and highlight or underline key points;
    • reread the question to make sure you understand it and to focus your attention;
    • reread the case study carefully and make a note of any ideas that you can think of.
  • Answer the question linking relevant theories and concepts to specific information from the case study. Usually you will need to write your answers in clearly formed paragraphs that have a clear topic that is well-supported with evidence and examples.
  • Instead of simply describing or restating information from the case itself, use specific details or examples to support the points you are trying to make. This is where you link theory to the facts from the case study.


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