General information and resources for students and adult learners.

Study Skills: Important Keywords to Remember - Part 2



There are other additional key terms that could be applied to examinations or assignments. However, a knowledge of this list will be extremely valuable in helping you decide what to do with a topic or a question. A good idea is to underline or mark the key words before you start to write your answers. This will help you to understand what is required and will also help you to plan your work.





  • ILLUSTRATE - Use examples to help explain your answer and if possible present a diagram, picture or small drawing. However, usually requires more than making a drawing. e.g. Illustrate the use of motherboard of a computer.
  • INTERPRET - Aim to give meaning of the topic or point of view in the material. e.g. Interpret the results presented in the following table.
  • JUSTIFY - Prove or show evidence why certain decisions or actions have been taken. e.g. Justify the entry of the USA into World War II.
  • NARRATE/RELATE - Tell a story or give an account of events or experiences. e.g. Narrate the events leading to the discovery of the treasure.
  • OUTLINE - Indicate the main points and important details of the material in a systematic arrangement but not an extended account. e.g. Outline the rising action, climax and falling action in the play.
  • PROVE/SHOW - Give evidence or use logical reasoning to establish how true or genuine a statement is in the topic.
  •  PROPOSE - Put forward for consideration or action. For example a point of view, idea, argument or suggestion.
  •  REVIEW - Make a general survey or examination of the major points in the material. A review can also often be a critical report of a situation or problem.
  •  SUMMARISE - Give a brief and full presentation of the main points or statements. Express, concisely, the relevant details. Leave minor details, illustrations and explanations.e.g. Summarise the ways we can preserve food.
  •  STATE - Set out the main points in clear, concise expression without minor details or the use of examples. e.g. State what you think is the major theme of the story.

REMEMBER: An answer is satisfactory only if it answers the question that was asked.


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