Here are some key words used in exam papers and their meaning. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
Here are some key words used in exam papers and their meaning. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Matric exam question phrases and what they mean

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Sep 8, 2021

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Imagine studying the entire curriculum, mastering past year exam papers and burning the midnight oil – only to discover on the morning of the exam that the exam questions have been rephrased and you can’t understand it.

There’s nothing as frustrating as not understanding the question being asked in your exam papers. Writing your final matric exams is stressful, but the fear of not understanding the questions posed in the exam paper is even more daunting.

Here are a few tips for understanding exactly what is required of you when certain words are used in the question. This could help you ace that paper.

Here are some key words and what they mean:

  • Analyse - Means separate, examine and interpret
  • Classify - Divide into groups or types so that things that are similar, are in the same group.
  • Comment - Write generally about.
  • Compare - Point out or show both similarities or differences.
  • Define - Give a clear meaning.
  • Describe - List the main characteristics of something.
  • Discuss - Consider all information and reach a conclusion.
  • Evaluate - Express an opinion based on your findings.
  • Explain - Make clear, interpret and spell out.
  • Forecast - Say what you think will happen in the future.
  • Give/provide - Write down only facts.
  • Identify - Name the essential characteristics.
  • Interpret - Give the intended meaning of.
  • List - Write a list of items.
  • Mention - Refer to relevant points.
  • Name - State something – give, identify or mention.
  • State- Write down information without discussion.
  • Suggest - Offer an explanation or solution.

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