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How to compare, explain and evaluate exam questions

During your exam, you may be asked to compare, explain or evaluate.


When a question asks you to compare two or more things, it means you should identify the similarities and differences between them. This involves analysing the characteristics, features, or attributes of each thing and identifying any shared or contrasting aspects.

Example: Compare how the writers convey their different attitudes towards winter.


When a question asks you to explain something, it means you should provide a clear and detailed account of it. This involves breaking down a complex topic or concept into simpler terms, and providing context, background information, or examples to help the reader understand it better.

Example: Explain the concept of supply and demand in economics.


When a question asks you to evaluate something, it means you should assess its strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages, or merits and limitations. This involves making a judgement about the quality or value of the thing being evaluated based on a set of criteria or standards.

Example: Evaluate the effectiveness of the Health & Care Act in improving access to healthcare in the United Kingdom.

Overall, when comparing, explaining, and evaluating exam questions, it's important to keep the learning objectives in mind, consider the content and format of the questions, and evaluate their quality based on a range of factors. This will help you better understand the purpose of the exam and the knowledge and skills it is designed to assess.

If you need help with answering exam questions, contact Prepped on 01284 658777 or email


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