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How to Ask Good Questions

A key element of learning is understanding how to frame and ask questions. In this week’s blog, we are going to share some tips on how to ask good questions.

  • Identify What You Don’t Know/Understand: The more specific a question you can ask, the more valuable the answer will be to you. If you’re dealing with a homework problem that you don’t understand, identify where you are having trouble. Are the instructions not clear enough? Do you not have a strong understanding of the concept being taught? Do you not understand how to use that certain formula? Questions like these are called "root questions." The answers to these questions will alleviate the root of the problem.

  • Listen, Listen, Listen: You never want to be the person who asks a question that the speaker/person just gave the answer to a few moments ago. To avoid this, we have to actively listen. When the teacher/speaker is talking, listen to what they are saying and try to contextualize that information. See how what they are saying relates to the topic at hand (big picture) and also how it relates to what they said just a few minutes ago. This is not easy! With practice, you will be able to critically listen to what the speaker has to say.

  • Understand When to Ask a Question: We might get ahead of ourselves and jump into asking a question that we could have already found the solution to. Before you ask a question, first do a mental checklist of: can I first try to solve this problem on my own; do I have any resources that can help me solve this problem; am I asking a root question; and, was I actively listening to the speaker?

We love to help students develop self-advocacy skills, like asking teachers for clarity and assistance. If you think your child might need help developing study skills, give us a call at (214) 444-3431 or visit

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