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10/16/2020

Study Skills: Important Keywords To Remember - Part 1

Good answers to test questions often depend upon a clear understanding of the meaning of important key words. Knowledge of the subject matter or topic you are dealing with is essential, but the way you answer questions asking you to compare contrast or summarise will greatly affect your final marks.

The following words are often used in tests and examinations questions, it is written in easy-to-understand explanations of the terms you may encounter in your examinations.


  •  ANALYSE - Work out the main parts or important features of the material and present them clearly in your answer e.g. Analyse the elements present in the experiment.
  •  COMPARE/COMPARISON - Look for those qualities or characteristics that are similar in the subject you are discussing. You may mention some differences in your answer but concentrate on aspects that are much the same. e.g. Compare the suffering of the two main characters in the novel.
  • CONTRAST - Stress the qualities or characteristics that are different in the things you are discussing. e.g. Contrast the luck that both sides had in the game.
  • CRITICISE- State what you think is a fair judgement of the events under discussion. Give points for and against, not just against. e.g. Critise the use of nuclear testing.
  • DEFINE - Explain the meaning in clear, concise terms. Also show the limits of what you are defining and the class or category to which it belongs. e.g. Define the meaning of the term " Photosynthesis"
  • DESCRIBE - Try to give the reader a "word picture" of what you are describing by including the main parts, colors, shapes, sensations etc., as vividly as possible. Provide characteristics and features. e.g. Describe your bedroom.
  • DISCUSS - This term means that you should give a complete and detailed answer. Make sure that you examine, analyse and present all points of view regarding the topic you are discussing. Identify the issues and provide points for and /or against. e.g. Discuss the significance of the title of the story "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • ENUMERATE - Make a list or outline the main points in your answer. e.g. Enumerate the causes of World War 1.
  • EVALUATE - Present a value judgement, stressing advantages and disadvantages of the situation. e.g. Evaluate the contributions of Mobile Phones in our lives.
  • EXPLAIN - Relate cause and effect, make the relationships between things evident and provide the answer to why or how. e.g. Explain why the subtitle of the book is appropriate.

REMEMBER: An answer is satisfactory only if it answers the question that was asked.


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