key terms used in asking essay questions and their meaning




  • Knowledge

Describe – give a clear meaning, a diagram should be used whenever possible.
list – itemize
outline – give main details in order
other words: name, identify, label, select

  • Comprehension

compare – look for things that resemble each other, emphasize similaritiescontrast – look for things that are not the same, differences
distinguish – separate of differentiate explain – describe clearly and give reasons while trying to analyze the causes

interpret – translate, give your judgement
relate – show how things are related or connected to each other, or are like each other other words: arrange, estimate.

  • Application

apply – interpret what you see in terms of a model, or a law
demonstrate – point out, show or display, or prove
other words: construct, discuss critically, differentiate, explain giving examples, modify, propose,
predict, relate, solve.




Analysis Outline – organize a description under main points.Relate – show how things are related or connected to each other other words: differentiate, distinguish, illustrate, point out, select, subdivide.

  • Synthesis

Summarize – give the main points in a reduced form
other words: categorize, combine, compile
Evaluation  Justify – prove or give reasons for conclusions
other words: evaluate, interpret, support, verify.

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