Exam command words: A poem

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A poem which explores the different exam terms (describe, explain, etc) which are used within exams, and which often cause students confusion!

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Exam command words: A poem

  1. 1. Key exams command words Describe! Describe! Describe! Is my first (but not last) exam plea What does it look like? Just what is there? Come on – say what you see.
  2. 2. If describing a physical feature Like a cliff or coastal spit Can you describe the size , shape and structure, Steadily, bit by bit? Can you use describing words like narrow , wide or flat ? Or straight or curved Steep or gentle Describing is doing just that.
  3. 3. <ul><ul><li>Explain, Explain, Explain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You must give it a try. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't just say what can be found </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But give a reason why. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. I don't have to justify Just what is coming next. But what if j-u-s-t-i-f-y is written there in text? It means you must give a reason And your points need some support If not you'll find your response or answer May fail and fall well short
  5. 5. If asked to compare two separate things It can be quite a bind But it's crucial that you assess the differences In the two things that you find. It might be that they are different Or they could share similar traits Directly comparing is definitely better And gives your answer greater weight. 'Whereas' can be used to express a difference A second option - 'On the other hand' It shows you are comparing And your answer has been planned.
  6. 6. Contrast is a little different; The differences are all you must say Find evidence that the things oppose each other And then contrast away...
  7. 7. Assessing the good and bad of something: (Is it bad or is it great?) Means what you are really doing is attempting to evaluate . In summary, to draw things together To bring things to an end The number of exam command words Could drive you round the bend. But whether you like or loathe them You need to know their worth You can't pretend that they're not there And give them a wide berth.
  8. 8. To misunderstand the question Would be a crying shame But if you explain and not describe You've only yourself to blame. Answer the question that's there on the page Not the one that exists in your head Underline those exam command words It's the first way to get ahead... M F Cowan 2008 For other free resources and information about a new publication dedicated to poems for the classroom, click on www.poemsforgeography.blogspot.com

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