1. Instruction terms are words commonly used in essay questions. They instruct or direct you in the approach you should take towards the proposition of the question. 2. The exact meaning of these terms will vary depending upon the subject being studied. The following give some idea of what they normally mean for essays and examination questions. 3. Think carefully about the meaning of these terms in relation to the remainder of the question. Even though you might feel confident, do not become blasé or inattentive. Sometimes even experienced students forget the important difference between Compare and Contrast. 4. Try to understand exactly what an instruction is asking you to do - but be reasonable. Don't look for problems where they might not exist. If in doubt, ask your tutor. account for
Explain the reasons for, giving an indication of all relevant circumstances. Not to be confused with 'Give an account of' which asks only for a detailed description. analyse
Study in depth, identifying, describing, and criticising in detail the main characteristics. argue
Put forward a proposition, then illustrate it, discuss its significance, and defend it against possible counter-charges. assess
Examine closely, with a view to 'weighing up' a particular situation. Consider in a balanced way the strengths and weaknesses or points for and against a proposition. In conclusion, state your judgement clearly. calculate
Reckon or compute by mathematical means.
Simplify and make clear.
State clearly and in moderate fashion your opinions on the material in question. Support your views with reference to suitable evidence or explanations. compare
Look for similarities and differences between two or more things. consider
Express your thoughts and observations about something.
Deliberately single out and emphasise the differences and dissimilarities criticise
Give your judgement about a statement or a body of work; explore...