Exam Preparation Understanding Action Words In Exam Questions Essay

Submitted By Martha-Arrieta
Words: 496
Pages: 2

Exam Preparation

Understanding Action Words in Questions

Exam and assignment questions typically contain one or more key question words.

Watch for and circle these key words whenever you read assignment or exam questions.

Below are listed ‘typical’ question words, their meanings and possible response strategies.

ACTION WORD
DETAILS

Analyze

Separate and examine the elements
Break the question/subject into its major parts
Describe, define, explain, or interpret each part
Explain how parts relate to each other
Judge overall quality of what has been analyzed

Argue

Defend a position
Provide reasons in support of your position
Refute objections to your position
Provide your objections to the opposing position(s)

Apply

Use an abstraction to explain a concrete situation
Show how an abstract idea, concept, principle, model or method explains a concrete situation or solves a problem

Comment

Offer statements on something
Critique, discuss, evaluate, explain, or illustrate the meaning of something and its implications

Compare

Demonstrate the similarities and differences between 2+ items
Identify elements the comparison will be based on
For each element, describe and support how items are similar or different
Evaluate overall commonality and its significance in relation to what is being asked in the question

Contrast

Demonstrate the differences between 2+ items
Identify elements that contrast will be based on
For each element, describe and support how items are different
Evaluate overall distinction and its significance in relation to what is being asked in the question

Critique

Make informed and discriminating judgments
Identify positive/negative merit, validity/fallacy, etc.
Offer support for your judgments

Define

State precisely the meaning of ‘something’
Give precise meaning in concise manner
Meaning is usually specific to the academic discipline

Demonstrate

Explain/describe by use of experiments, examples, etc.
Depending on context, ‘demonstrate’ could mean: to prove, provide evidence, or illustrate with an example

Describe

Give a mental picture or idea
Identify main aspects, characteristics, components, and qualities
Clarify…