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.

### Describe

Set out characteristics.

Make a diagram.

### Estimate

Give an approximate value.

### Evaluate

Give a numerical value.

### Factorise

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

### 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.

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.

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.