15th Dec '18

Command Words

When reading a question you should 'BURG' it to make sure you understand what it is you need to do in order to gain full credit. This is an extended version of BUG (aka HUG) to deal with calculate questions. It has been designed to be done with just the one pen, so you don't have to keep switching to a highlighter etc.

Box Command Words

These are the words that tell you what to do also known as an imperative.

Underline Keywords

These are any words that key to that question, or instructions

Ring Data

These are any numbers (and their units) in the question or what it wants you to calculate. Draw a largish ring so that you can add the symbol for that quantity.

Go back and check

Check you haven't missed anything and check the number of marks for that question.

The following command words are taken from Ofqual's official list of command words and their meanings that are relevant to science. In addition, where necessary, AQA have included their own command words and their meanings to complement Ofqual's list.

Calculate

Students should use numbers given in the question to work out the answer.

  1. Ring all the data in the question.

  2. Then put your ideas in order using a flow map.

Approximate Mark Scheme:
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  • Give some details.
  • Multiple stages.
  • Most of the detail.
  • Correct sequence.
  • Nearly all relevant features.

Choose

Select from a range of alternatives.

Compare

This requires the student to describe the similarities and/or differences between things, not just write about one.

Complete

Answers should be written in the space provided, for example, on a diagram, in spaces in a sentence or in a table.

Define

Specify the meaning of something.

Describe

Students may be asked to recall some facts, events or process in an accurate way.

  1. Brainstorm white hat facts in a circle map:

  2. Then put your ideas in order using a flow map.

Approximate Mark Scheme:
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  • Give some details.
  • Multiple stages.
  • Most of the detail.
  • Correct sequence.
  • Nearly all relevant features.

Design

Set out how something will be done.

Determine

Use given data or information to obtain and answer.

Draw

To produce, or add to, a diagram.

Estimate

Assign an approximate value.

Evaluate

Students should use the information supplied as well as their knowledge and understanding to consider evidence for and against.

Explain

Students should make something clear, or state the reasons for something happening.

The first stage is to be able to describe the situation, then express how or why it is the way it is - the reasons.

  1. Brainstorm white hat facts in a circle map:

  2. Then put your ideas in order using a flow map.

Is there a cause and effect chain?

Approximate Mark Scheme:
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
See Describe
  • Use cause and effect to explain one part of the description.
  • Use cause and effect to explain some parts of the description.
  • Use cause and effect to explain most parts of the description.
  • Use cause and effect to explain all parts of the description.
  • The implications of the explanation are discussed.
  • The subject is related to a context.

Give

Only a short answer is required, not an explanation or a description.

Identify

Name or otherwise characterise.

Justify

Use evidence from the information supplied to support an answer.

Label

Provide appropriate names on a diagram.

Measure

Find an item of data for a given quantity.

Name

Only a short answer is required, not an explanation or a description. Often it can be answered with a single word, phrase or sentence.

Plan

Write a method.

Plot

Mark on a graph using data given.

Predict

Give a plausible outcome.

Show

Provide structured evidence to reach a conclusion.

Sketch

Draw approximately.

State

Only a short answer is required, not an explanation or a description.

Suggest

This term is used in questions where students need to apply their knowledge and understanding to a new situation.

Use

The answer must be based on the information given in the question. Unless the information given in the question is used, no marks can be given. In some cases students might be asked to use their own knowledge and understanding.

Work out

Students should use numbers given in the question to work out the answer.

Write

Only a short answer is required, not an explanation or a description.