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Vocabulary/ Terminology used in Exam Questions

"Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them." ~ Josie Bisset

It is important to look for the question words (the words that tell you what to do) to correctly understand what the examiner is asking. Use the words in the following table as a guide when answering questions.

Question word What is required of you
Account for
  • Explain the process or reason why something is the way it is
Analyse
  • Pay attention to details
  • Pretend you are a detective and break the material into parts
  • Explain how each part fits into the whole
  • Write the obvious as well as the hidden characteristics or meanings
Argue
  • Give your personal point of view – facts, beliefs, opinions
Calculate
  • Use figures to work out your answer
Classify
  • Divide into groups or types so that things that are similar, are in the same group
Comment
  • Discuss, criticise or explain
Compare
  • Point out or show both similarities or differences
  • Give common characteristics/attributes – how are people, events, concepts or objects alike/ similar
Conjecture
  • Guess, estimate, infer
Contrast
  • Give characteristics or attributes about how people, events, concepts or objects are different
Deduce
  • Draw conclusions
Define
  • Give meanings in your own words
Demonstrate
  • Write how to do something step-by-step
Describe
  • Explain so the reader can visualise/understand the object, concept or events
  • Use adjectives to show size, shape, characteristics, colour and use
Discuss
  • Write/talk as if you were sharing your knowledge with someone else
  • Use details and examples to explain the topic
Effect
  • As in what effect? It is the consequence/result of an action
Evaluate
  • In an evaluation question you are expected to present a careful appraisal of the problem stressing both advantages and limitations
  • Express an opinion based on your findings
Explain
  • Make it clear and simple to show your interpretation and understanding
  • Give simple descriptions based on what you know
  • Describe, giving reasons
Extract
  • Choose relevant details
Factors
  • Give reasons, features, causes, influences
Forecast
  • Say what you think will happen in the future
Give a reason
  • Give examples to explain why something is the way it is
Give/ provide
  • Write down only facts
Hypothesis
  • An opinion/theory/assumption to be proved
Indicate
  • Point out, make something known
Identify
  • Name the essential characteristics
Infer
  • Read between the lines – the answer is not in the passage
  • You make meaning from information or clues the author provides
Interpret
  • Give your opinion of the information based on your experiences and information you find in the text
Justify
  • Give evidence to support your point of view
List
  • Write a list of items
Mention
  • Refer to relevant points
Motivate
  • Give reasons and explain your answer
Name
  • State something – give, identify or mention
Outline
  • Organise important data/information in a logical way
  • Use numbers or letters to organise the information sequentially
Plot
  • Organise your thoughts and write on a piece of paper
  • Use a grid, graphic design, picture, chart, or matrix
Predict
  • Make a suggestion based on the information available of what the outcome would be
Prove
  • Give evidence, facts which explains why an argument is true
Sketch
  • Draw a rough outline, plan or picture to explain or show something
State
  • Explain important information clearly
  • Give reasons and examples if necessary
Suggest
  • Offer an explanation or solution
Summarize
  • Give the meaning in as few words as possible
  • Retell the most important facts and essential details in as few words as you can
Support your answer
  • Give examples, reasons or an explanation
Trace
  • Put events, experiences or thoughts in order or on a timeline

Source: Department of Basic Education