Exam Prep: Understanding Questions asked in Exam Papers


That moment in the exam when you read a question and suddenly you go blank because you have no idea what the words mean or what the words are asking you to do and a grey fog hugs your brain; sweat breaks out on your forehead and your palms become sweaty and you wish you were on an exotic island in the middle of the ocean! We have put together a little table for you to help make it easier to understand the words used in the exam paper questions. It gives you the word that may be used in the exam question and then describes what you must do to answer the question. On the student portal is an extensive document called Exam and Study Technique that you may find useful in helping you to prepare for the exams.

Question word What is required of you
Analyse Separate, examine (consider) and interpret
Classify Divide into groups or types so that things that are similar, are in the same group
Comment Write generally about
Compare Point out or show both similarities or differences
Define Give a clear meaning
Describe List the main characteristics of something
Discuss Consider all information and reach a conclusion
Evaluate Express an opinion based on your findings
Explain Make clear, interpret and spell out
Forecast Say what you think will happen in the future
Give/provide Write down only facts
Identify Name the essential characteristics
Interpret Give the intended meaning of
List Write a list of items
Mention Refer to relevant points
Name State something – give, identify or mention
State Write down information without discussion
Suggest Offer an explanation or solution