The terminology used in questions is often a stumbling block for students. Frequently the problem is not that they lack mathematical knowledge to solve the problem, but that they do not understand the language of that question.

In addition, incorrect interpretation of the requirements of the question can lead to loss of marks. Listed below are some terms regularly used in questions with their definitions.

## Assess |
Make an informed judgement. |

## Comment |
Present an informed opinion. |

## Complete |
Finish a task by adding to given information. |

## Describe |
Set out characteristics. |

## Draw |
Make a diagram. |

## Estimate |
Give an approximate value. |

## Evaluate |
Give a numerical value. |

## Factorise |
Take out the common factor and put into bracket(s). |

## Give |
Give an answer from recall. |

## Hence |
Use it or lose it! You must use an earlier calculation as the examiner is checking to see if you understand what you have found and if you know how to use it. If you do not do this, then you will lose all the marks given for this part of the question. |

## Hence, or Otherwise |
It is best to use the information you have just calculated, but if you cannot see how to do so, you can use another method without losing marks. |

## Measure |
Topic paragraph. |

## Plot |
Mark on a graph or draw a graph. |

## Prove |
Demonstrate validity on the basis of evidence. |

## Rotate |
Turn around a fixed point. |

## Shade |
Darken an area of a diagram. |

## Show |
Think of this as “find”. Do not use the answer you have been given, demonstrate how you find it. |

## Simplify |
Collect terms together or cancel down. |

## Simplify fully |
Collect terms together and factorise the answer, or cancel terms completely. |

## Solve |
Arrive at answer using a numerical or algebraic method. |

## Translate |
Move along a straight line without rotating or flipping. |

## Verify |
Substitute/use what you have been given. |

## Work out |
Perform one or a set of steps or calculations to arrive at an answer. |