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Command Words used in Edexcel International A-level Sciences

Saturday, November 27, 2021

ADD/LABEL

Requires the addition or labelling to stimulus material given in the question, for example labelling a diagram or adding units to a table.

ASSESS

Give careful consideration to all the factors or events that apply and identify which are the most important or relevant. Make a judgement on the importance of something, and come to a conclusion where needed.

CALCULATE

Obtain a numerical answer, showing relevant working. If the answer has a unit, this must be included.

COMMENT ON

Requires the synthesis of a number of factors from data/information to form a judgement. More than two factors need to be synthesised.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

Looking for the similarities and differences of two (or more) things. Should not require the drawing of a conclusion. Answer must relate to both (or all) things mentioned in the question. The answer must include at least one similarity and one difference.

COMPLETE/RECORD

Requires the completion of a table/diagram/equation.

CRITICISE

Inspect a set of data, an experimental plan or a scientific statement and consider the elements. Look at the merits and/or faults of the information presented and back judgements made.

DEDUCE

Draw/reach conclusion(s) from the information provided.

DERIVE

Combine two or more equations or principles to develop a new equation.

DESCRIBE

To give an account of something. Statements in the response need to be developed as they are often linked but do not need to include a justification or reason.

DETERMINE

The answer must have an element which is quantitative from the stimulus provided, or must show how the answer can be reached quantitatively.

DEVISE

Plan or invent a procedure from existing principles/ideas.

DISCUSS

Identify the issue/situation/problem/argument that is being assessed within the question.

Explore all aspects of an issue/situation/problem. Investigate the issue/situation/problem etc. by reasoning or argument.

DRAW

Produce a diagram either using a ruler or using freehand.

ESTIMATE

Give an approximate value for a physical quantity or measurement or uncertainty.

EVALUATE

Review information then bring it together to form a conclusion, drawing on evidence including strengths, weaknesses, alternative actions, relevant data or information. Come to a supported judgement of a subject’s qualities and relation to its context.

EXPLAIN

An explanation requires a justification/exemplification of a point. The answer must contain some element of reasoning/justification, this can include mathematical explanations.

GIVE/STATE/NAME

All of these command words are really synonyms. They generally all require recall of one or more pieces of information.

GIVE A REASON/REASONS

When a statement has been made and the requirement is only to give the reasons why.

IDENTIFY

Usually requires some key information to be selected from a given stimulus/ resource.

JUSTIFY

Give evidence to support (either the statement given in the question or an earlier answer).

PLOT

Produce a graph by marking points accurately on a grid from data that is provided and then drawing a line of best fit through these points. A suitable scale and appropriately labelled axes must be included if these are not provided in the question.

PREDICT

Give an expected result or outcome.

SHOW THAT

Prove that a numerical figure is as stated in the question. The answer must be to at least 1 more significant figure than the numerical figure in the question.

SKETCH

Produce a freehand drawing. For a graph this would need a line and labelled axes with important features indicated, the axes are not scaled.

STATE WHAT IS MEANT BY

When the meaning of a term is expected but there are different ways of how these can be described.

SUGGEST

Use your knowledge and understanding in an unfamiliar context. May include material or ideas that have not been learnt directly from the specification.

WRITE

When the questions ask for an equation.