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  • Explain
    Discuss Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response Begin your response by echoing the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Explain E xplain like analyze often points in the direction of cause effect or process reasoning But explaining isn t always limited to analysis Like discuss explain sometimes appears in a test question when the teacher is asking you to write everything you know about a concept or when the teacher is focusing on a specific set of relationships Treat explain then as a key word that calls for more exploration of the rest of the question to see if there is additional focus elsewhere in the question Writing tip Because explaining can include any of the strategies noted for analyzing defining or comparing be prepared to use a combination of techniques as well as transitional devices to create coherence in these responses And because explaining leads toward longer responses be sure to make a list of key points to include before you begin these responses check your list for

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1029&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • Define
    Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response Begin your response by echoing the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Define D efine is another of the more straightforward of the key terms Typically a teacher asking you to define a term is asking for a translation of a technical term into language anyone could understand Defining a concept calls for more elaboration but it still builds on strategies for definition Writing tip Standard definitions use a variety of strategies including synonyms antonyms analogies comparisons and explanations of where a term came from or the contexts in which it is used If you ve studied dictionary definitions for the terms you can also build on those Teachers are usually interested in seeing that you understand key terms though so when they ask you to define a term they sometimes also want you to show that you can apply it to a particular context You can get a better sense of how long and detailed you should make the definitions based on

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1030&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • Generalize
    re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Generalize S ome essay test questions are meant to gauge critical thinking Generalize is one of those terms When teachers ask you to generalize they want to see you move from the particular to the general or from the concrete to the abstract Writing tip If you haven t already noted some specific details

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1031&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • List
    Explain Define Generalize List Reflect Discuss Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response Begin your response by echoing the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions List L ist suggests that you can jot down single words or phrases quickly without taking the time to describe or explain in any detail If your teacher has made a point of asking for complete sentences on essay tests though be sure to ask if list means a short item list or an extended description list List also often gets combined with other key words List and explain for instance tells you that you don t need to spend much time labeling the items but that you do need to elaborate on their importance or their relationships Writing tip If your teacher is saving your time by allowing you to list short item answers consider using bullets to give a visual clue about how many items you have in your final list Especially on handwritten tests visual clarity becomes increasingly important to teachers as

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1032&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • Reflect
    call for Describe Analyze Compare Evaluate Argue Explain Define Generalize List Reflect Discuss Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response Begin your response by echoing the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Reflect R eflect doesn t appear often as a key word on exam questions but when it does it typically asks you to express how the ideas or applications you ve been studying have affected your personal point of view Reflection is one of the more personal kinds of writing because it invites self exploration Of course taking a personal perspective doesn t mean giving up any connection to outside reality The idea is to connect your own take on the idea with what you ve heard in class studied in the text or practiced in the lab Writing tip Because reflection is more personal don t try to write this response without using an I point of view And don t forget to make explicit connections between your personal critical thinking and the idea or concept you

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1033&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • Discuss
    by echoing the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Discuss D iscuss is the trickiest of the key words in essay test questions because it doesn t give you much guidance about how to structure your response When a teacher says discuss it might be most appropriate

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1034&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response
    the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response E specially for long responses jot down a quick list of key points you need to cover It s easy when writing a paragraph or two

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1035&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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  • Begin your response by echoing the question
    Define Generalize List Reflect Discuss Make notes to yourself of the points you want to cover in the response Begin your response by echoing the question Leave yourself 10 minutes at the end of the test period to re read Final advice Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Answering Exam Questions Begin your response by echoing the question I f you echo the question you are more likely to write a response that answers the question because the question will usually spark your thinking along the right lines For example assume the test question asks If the reaction had been present what would we have observed If you start your response with If the reaction had been present we would have observed you are more likely to get right to descriptive details based on what you saw Similarly a test question such as Why would the key point you chose be the most effective calls for an answer that begins This key point is the most effective because The because sets you up immediately to get at the rationale behind your thinking Many teachers also prefer to have students write complete sentences when they answer essay questions

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1036&guideid=50 (2015-10-15)
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