Students should be familiar with the key terms and phrases used in examination questions, which are to be understood as described below. Although these terms will be used frequently in examination questions, other terms may be used to direct students to present an argument in a specific way.

These command terms indicate the depth of treatment required.

[The above Word file presents the physics command terms in a much clearer format than that shown below.]

Assessment Objective 1:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
a. facts, concepts, and terminology
b. methodologies and techniques
c. communicating scientific information.
Command term
Definition
Define
Give the precise meaning of a word, phrase, concept or physical quantity.
Draw
Represent by means of a labelled, accurate diagram or graph, using a pencil. A ruler (straight edge) should be used for straight lines. Diagrams should be drawn to scale. Graphs should have points correctly plotted (if appropriate) and joined in a straight line or smooth curve.
Label
Add labels to a diagram.
List
Give a sequence of brief answers with no explanation.
Measure
Obtain a value for a quantity.
State
Give a specific name, value or other brief answer without explanation or calculation.
Write down
Obtain the answer(s), usually by extracting information. Little or no calculation is required. Working does not need to be shown.

Assessment Objective 2:
Apply:
a. facts, concepts, and terminology
b. methodologies and techniques
c. methods of communicating scientific information.
Command term
Definition
Annotate
Add brief notes to a diagram or graph.
Apply
Use an idea, equation, principle, theory or law in relation to a given problem or issue.
Calculate
Obtain a numerical answer showing the relevant stages in the working.
Describe
Give a detailed account.
Distinguish
Make clear the differences between two or more concepts or items.
Estimate
Obtain an approximate value.
Formulate
Express precisely and systematically the relevant concept(s) or argument(s).
Identify
Provide an answer from a number of possibilities.
Outline
Give a brief account or summary.
Plot
Mark the position of points on a diagram.

Assessment Objective 3:
Formulate, analyse and evaluate:
a. hypotheses, research questions and predictions
b. methodologies and techniques
c. primary and secondary data
d. scientific explanations.
Command term
Definition
Analyse
Break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.
Comment
Give a judgment based on a given statement or result of a calculation.
Compare
Give an account of the similarities between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Compare and contrast
Give an account of similarities and differences between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Construct
Display information in a diagrammatic or logical form.
Deduce
Reach a conclusion from the information given.
Demonstrate
Make clear by reasoning or evidence, illustrating with examples or practical application.
Derive
Manipulate a mathematical relationship to give a new equation or relationship.
Design
Produce a plan, simulation or model.
Determine
Obtain the only possible answer.
Discuss
Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.
Evaluate
Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations.
Explain
Give a detailed account including reasons or causes.
Hence
Use the preceding work to obtain the required result.
Hence or otherwise
It is suggested that the preceding work is used, but other methods could also receive credit.
Justify
Give valid reasons or evidence to support an answer or conclusion.
Predict
Give an expected result.
Show
Give the steps in a calculation or derivation.
Show that
Obtain the required result (possibly using information given) without the formality of proof. “Show that” questions do not generally require the use of a calculator.
Sketch
Represent by means of a diagram or graph (labelled as appropriate). The sketch should give a general idea of the required shape or relationship, and should include relevant features.
Solve
Obtain the answer(s) using algebraic and/or numerical and/or graphical methods.
Suggest
Propose a solution, hypothesis or other possible answer.