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Researchers in the field of psychology have found that one of the best ways to make an important decision, such as choosing a university to attend or a business to invest in, involves the utilization of a decision worksheet. Psychologists who study optimization compare the actual decisions made by people to theoretical ideal decisions to see how similar they are. Proponents of the worksheet procedure believe that it will yield optimal, that is, the best decisions. Although there are several variations on the exact format that worksheets can take, they are all similar in their essential aspects. Worksheets require defining the problem in a clear and concise way and then listing all possible solutions to the problem. Next, the pertinent considerations that will be affected by each decision are listed, and the relative importance of each consideration or consequence is determined. Each consideration is assigned a numerical value to reflect its relative importance. A decision is mathematically calculated by adding these values together. The alternative with the highest number of points emerges as the best decision.

Since most important problems are multifaceted, there are several alternatives to choose from, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. One of the benefits of a pencil and paper decision-making procedure is that it permits people to deal with more variables than their minds can generally comprehend and remember. On the average, people can keep about seven ideas in their minds at once. A worksheet can be especially useful when the decision involves a large number of variables with complex relationships. A realistic example for many college students is the question What will I do after graduation? A graduate might seek a position that offers specialized training, pursue an advanced degree, or travel abroad for a year.

A decision-making worksheet begins with a succinct statement of the problem that will also help to narrow it. It is important to be clear about the distinction between long-range and immediate goals because long-range goals often involve a different decision than short-range ones. Focusing on long-range goals, a graduating student might revise the question above to What will I do after graduation that will lead to successful career?

1. What does the passage mainly discuss?

(A) A tool to assist in making complex decisions.

(B) A comparison of actual decisions and ideal decisions

(C) Research on how people make decisions

(D) Differences between long-range and short-range decision making

2. The word essential in line 7 is closest in meaning to

(A) introductory

(B) changeable

(C) beneficial

(D) fundamental

3. The word pertinent in line 9 is closest in meaning to

(A) relevant

(B) preceding

(C) insightful

(D) responsive

4. Of the following steps, which occurs before the others in making a decision worksheet?

(A) Listing the consequences of each solution

(B) Calculating a numerical summary of each solution

(C) Deciding which consequences are most important

(D) Writing down all possible solutions

5. According to decision-worksheet theory, an optimal decision is defined as one that

(A) has the fewest variables to consider

(B) uses the most decision worksheets

(C) has the most points assigned to it

(D) is agreed to by the greatest number of people

6. The author develops the discussion in paragraph 1 by means of

(A) describing a process

(B) classifying types of worksheets

(C) providing historical background

(D) explaining a theory

7. The author states that On the average, people can keep about seven ideas in their minds at

once (lines 17-18) to explain that

(A) most decisions involve seven steps

(B) human mental capacity has limitations

(C) some people have difficulty making minor as well as major decisions

(D) people can learn to keep more than seven ideas in their minds with practice

8. The word succinct in line 24 is closest in meaning to

(A) creative

(B) satisfactory

(C) personal

(D) concise

9. Which of the following terms is defined in the passage ?

(A) Proponents (line 5)

(B) Optimal (line 5)

(C) Variables (line 17)

(D) Long-range goals (line 25)

10. The word it in line 24 refers to

(A) worksheet

(B) problem

(C) distinction

(D) decision

11. The word revise in line 26 is closest in meaning to