Assessment instruction words

Analyse – examine the main ideas and issues of a topic, look at arguments for or against, and show their relationships.

Argue – Present a case for or against a point of view.

Comment on – Criticise or point out the important features of something.

Compare – Look for and discuss the similarities or differences between two (or more) things.

Contrast – Discuss the differences between two (or more) things.

Criticise – (or critique; critically discuss) Identify and judge the merit of an issue, theory, or claim, including the strengths and weaknesses.

Define – Give a clear, concise meaning. Give the limits of the definition.

Describe – (or identify, state) Give a detailed account or outline of the key features of a subject.

Discuss – Examine and carefully analyse all aspects of a topic. Give reasons for and against both sides and examine the implications.

Evaluate – Assess the merits and limitations of something. Weigh up the evidence and give your own judgement. This must be backed up by argument and justification.

Examine – Investigate or research a topic and discuss in detail.

Explain – Clarify or make clear the meaning or significance of something. Give the reasons, causes, and why or how something has developed or occurred.

Illustrate – Explain or clarify something using a diagram, figure or concrete example.

Interpret – Show what you believe is the meaning or significance of something.

Justify – Give reasons and evidence for your decisions or conclusions. Support it with evidence.

Outline – Briefly describe and give the main features of a subject. Omit minor details.

Review – Examine a subject critically. Analyse and discuss the key points or issues.

State – Briefly present the main points or facts.

Suggest – Give possibilities.

Summarise – (or outline) Give the main points or facts in a condensed form. Don’t include details, evidence or examples.