In recent years when students sit for local, national or international exams, they mostly do not get the results they wished to. This according to my research may not be as a result of poor preparation for the examination by the students (as it is widely rumored), rather it is chiefly due to the poor understanding of the different technical terms/words used by the examiner in creating the questions. i have seen students spending hours in the exam hall, ruminating on a particular idea, confused on what answers the examiner really needs them to supply, only for them to come out miserably from the exam hall and ask a colleague what the examiner wanted from them and s/he explains what was required of them to do, and immediately they screams ‘ah!! i thought of that o, that lecturer is very trickish’. But, hey! worry no more as this post will give you a better understanding of what the examiner needs from you, therefore, putting you in a pole position to score higher than you normally do.

Below are the major terms/verbs examiners use while setting an exam, and i will enjoin you to put them to heart as they will forever be of help to you..

Account for: – give reasons

Analyse: – find the main ideas, discuss them and consider their relevant importance

Comment: – discuss, criticize and explain the idea in details

Compare: – show the differences and similarities

Contrast:-emphasize the difference

Criticize: – give your opinions showing both good and bad points, support your judgement with evidence and examples

Describe: – write a detailed account of the object, process and event

Discuss: – write in details, using arguments both for and against and then summarize and conclude

Enumerate:-write a numbered list or outline of the main points

Evaluate: – using your own ideas or that of others, discuss the worth of the statement, test its veracity and degree of importance. Take a decision

Explain: – interpret and clarify, giving your own reasons

Illustrate: – use concrete examples, comparisons and perhaps diagrams

Justify: – give convincing reasons in support of the statement

State: – describe precisely the most important aspect of the topic

Summarize: – omitting details and illustrations, give only the main points in order of importance

Trace: – describe the history, process or development of the subject.

So, here we are, you now have these tools at your disposal, match forward into the exam halls and show them what you are made of…………………………

Moreover, don’t forget to share this piece with your friends.


Author: genesisenwenyeokwu

Enwenyeokwu Genesis is a graduate of Polymer and Textile Engineering, who has a strong passion to impact upon the life of young people. He is analytical, critical, a social motivator and Godfearing


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