Exam Command Words

Command words are the words and phrases used in exams and other assessment tasks that tell students how they should answer the question.  The following command words are taken from Ofqual’s official list of command words and their meanings that are relevant to this subject. In addition, where necessary, we have included our own command words and their meanings to complement Ofqual’s list.

Analyse
Apply put into effect in a recognised way.

Argue
Present a reasoned case.

Assess
Make an informed judgement.

Calculate
Work out the value of something.

Consider
Review and respond to given information.

Comment
Present an informed opinion.

Compare
Identify similarities.

Complete
Finish a task by adding to given information.

Contrast
Identify differences.

Criticise
Assess worth against explicit expectations.

Define
Specify meaning.

Describe
Set out characteristics.

Develop
Take forward or build upon given information.

Discuss
Present key points.

Evaluate
Judge from available evidence.

Examine
Investigate closely.

Explain
Set out purposes or reasons.

Explore
Investigate without preconceptions about the outcome.

Give
Produce an answer from recall.

Identify
Name or otherwise characterise.

Illustrate
Present clarifying examples.

Interpret
Translate information into recognisable form.

Justify
Support a case with evidence.

Outline
Set out main characteristics.

Relate
Demonstrate connections between items.

Suggest
Present a possible case.

State
Express in clear terms.

Summarise
Present principal points without detail.

House Points

House Points