How to use Command Terms

There are so many command terms and often, students lose easy marks because they’re not fully aware of what the question is asking them! I had made a list of command terms and what they want from you. Use these when you’re writing questions, and by the time the exams come around, these commands will be second nature!

Analyse – Break something down so that you can highlight key elements or structure

Annotate – Add notes or remarks to an image, graph or diagram

Classify – Arrange the information in a specific order by a set criterion

Compare and contrast  – highlight the similarities and differences between two or more ideas

Define – Give the precise or specific meaning of something

Describe –  Give a detailed account

Determine  – Figure out and give the only possible answer

Discuss – Give a balanced view of something. Include multiple arguments that range from various perspectives or factors. Support these with evidence

Distinguish – Highlight the difference between two or more ideas

Draw – Create/draw a labelled diagram or graph (use a pencil and ruler!)

Estimate – Find an approximate value

Evaluate – Highlight the strengths and weaknesses. (what was good and what was bad)

Examine – Look at an idea or argument and identify the assumptions and interrelationships

Identify – Find a correct answer from a number of possible answers

Justify – Give valid reasons or evidence

Label – Add labels to a diagram, map or image

Outline – Give a short summary

State  – Give a specific answer

Suggest – Propose a solution or an answer to something

To what extent – Consider the merits of an argument or concept. Present these ideas clearly and support the arguments made with evidence.


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