15 Essay Question Keywords for Exams Success When Understood by Students

2021 wassce: 15 Essay Question Keywords for Exams Success When Understood by Students

How to score high marks after answering essay questions in an examination is the headache of many students, but knowing the meaning of these 15 Essay Question Keywords will do you a lot of good.

Mastering and knowing the meaning of specific essay question words in the question would help students to give off their best and the right answers.

In this examination tips article, some common words to watch for in Essay Questions will be explained. Students who understand these words will increase their chances of being able to provide the exact answers in the manner preferred by the examiner.

WASSCE 2021 and BECE 2021 candidates must give these Essay Questions Keywords a careful look and understand them. Students who want to be very effective with their responses to questions in examinations need to have the meaning of these words at their fingertips.

The following words are commonly found in essay test questions. Understanding them is essential to success on such questions. If you want to do well on essay tests, then study this page thoroughly. Know these words backward and forward. To heighten your awareness of them,
underline the words when you see them in a test question.


Meaning of 15 Essay Question Keywords

#1 Discuss

This is a common word used by examiners. Once used, the candidate or student is required to debate or argue about the given topic. This should include the advantages and disadvantages or divergent views on the subject matter.

In answering this question, compare and contrast where possible about the pros and cons of an issue. You will need to use your reasoning and back your issues or points outlined with facts. Do well have an excellent introduction as well as a very strong conclusion. The discussion you do in answering the question must often include explaining which views or ideas seem stronger.

#2 Enumerate or List

These two words can be used interchangeably in an examination. This question requires students to list several ideas, aspects,
events, things, qualities, reasons among others. Depending on the content of the curriculum. This may require simply a set of one-word answers. Form Example, List the Eight planets. In some instances, the same question requires short sentences as answers. For example, List the importance of Land for human existence.

#3 Evaluate

This word requires students to give their educated opinion or that of an expert in explaining the points relating to the topic. Students are expected to give evidence to back their evaluation.

#4 Illustrate

When this is used in a question, the student is required to provide concrete examples and also offer logical explanations using comparisons or
examples to support the answers.


#5 Interpret

The essay question keyword, “Interpret” would require the student to provide useful examples, describe any relationships that exist between variables or the topic of interest. To provide a solid answer, describe the phenomenon then evaluate.

#6 Outline

Describe fundamental ideas, characteristics, or events. (Does not necessarily mean to write a Roman Numeral/Letter outline.)

Prove: Support with facts (especially facts presented in class or in the text.)

#7 Relate

Answer the question with this essay question keyword by showing all the connections or relationships that exist between ideas or events. Also, do well to prove broader information on the topic.


#8 Summarize as an essay question keyword

Questions that require students to summarize demand only brief or condensed answers that cover the most important facts. When asked to summarize, give a brief, condensed account and include conclusions. All unnecessary details and elaborations are irrelevant here. Don’t try to impress the examiner. Go straight to the key issues.

READ: Multiple-Choice Test Strategies: How To Always Choose Correct Answers

Show the order of events or progress of a subject or event.
#9 Trace
#10 Define

Give the meaning; usually a meaning specific to the course or subject. Explain the exact meaning. Definitions are usually short.


Essay Question Keywords 11-15

#11 Describe as an essay question keyword

Give a detailed account. Make a picture with words. List characteristics, qualities, and parts in an orderly manner if need be.

#12 Analyze

Break into separate parts and discuss, examine, or interpret each part. Break an issue into its constituent parts. Look in depth at each part using supporting arguments and evidence for and against as well as how these interrelate to one another.


READ: 7 Reasons Why Students Fail WASSCE and BECE Each Year: 8 Rules On How To Avoid Exam Failure

13# Contrast

Show differences between one or more items, variables, ideas, etc. You are to outline all the points that differentiate one thing from the other. Provide examples to support if they exist.

#14 Compare as an essay question keyword

The essay question keyword “Compare” requires the student to examine two or more things by looking out for the similarities and differences.

#15 Criticize

When this word is used in an essay question, students are required to pass some level of judgment by first evaluating the comparative worth of the variables, criticising in this answer means analyzing the factors.


We hope this write-up on Essay Question Keywords to master for exam success has been helpful.

READ: How to pass WASSCE/BECE 2021 – 9 strategies for extra marks

Source: Ghanaeducation.org

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