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Exam Skills

Keywords Explained!
Compare: Are the things very alike (similar) or are there important differences? Which do you think is best? Why? Explain: Make clear.
Contrast: Look for differences. Illustrate: Give examples which make the point
Criticise: Use evidence to support your opinion
on the value or merit of theories, facts or views of others.
Interpret: Explain the meaning in your own
words, for example you may be asked to interpret a graph.
Define: Give the meaning. Justify: Give reasons to support an argument
or action.
Describe: Write in detail. Outline: Choose the most important aspects of
a topic. Ignore the minor detail.
Differentiate: Explain the difference. Relate: Show the connection between things.
Discuss: Write about the important aspects of
the topic, are there two sides to the question? Consider the arguments for and against.
State: Write briefly the main points.
Distinguish: Explain the difference. Summarise: Bring together the main points.
Evaluate: Judge the importance or success. Trace: Show how something has developed
from beginning to end.

Key stages in answering exam questions.

1 Scan all the questions.
2 Mark all the questions you could answer.
3 Read these questions carefully.
4 Choose the correct number (in each section).
5 Decide on an order: best answers first.
6 Divide up your time.
7 Underline key words in the question.
8 Plan your answer.
9 Stick to the point of the question.
10 Write your answer.
11 Use the plan at every stage eg every paragraph.
12 Check your answer against the plan. Look out for mistakes.
13 If you have time, re-read all your answers and make any necessary corrections.

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