Quick Guide to Understanding HSC Keywords

30/01/2018

The HSC can sometimes feel like trying to navigate your way through a minefield of hundreds of task words, each one barely differentiated from the last. To answer any exam or assignment question well requires that you understand what is expected of you from each question. To help you make sure you never again put a foot wrong, we’ve put together this quick guide on HSC keywords and what they mean.

Account

Depending on the topic or subject, ‘account’ may be used in two ways:

1)    Account for: give reasons for; or

2)    Give an account of: explain a series of events

Analyse

Identify and examine connections between features, in order to explain and interpret them

Apply

Utilise, usually in terms of concepts, formulas or theories, to explain ideas

Appreciate

Giving reasons, comment on the usefulness of

Assess

Make a judgement of value, quality, outcomes, results or size

Calculate

Using the provided information, determine

Clarify

Simplify or illuminate details of something to create a sound understanding of

Classify

Group into categories

Compare

Explain the similarities and differences between

Construct

Formulate items or arguments

Contrast

Demonstrate differences between

Critically (analyse/evaluate)

Through establishing a criteria for assessment, apply your judgement as to the truth or value of something

Deduce

Make conclusions from

Define

Provide the meaning and identify essential qualities

Demonstrate

Use examples to show

Describe

Provide a detailed account, or relate the defining characteristics and features of something

Discuss

Identify issues and provide points for and/or against

Distinguish

Explain the features that separate the given subjects from each other

Evaluate

Make a judgement based on the value of something based on some sort of criteria

Examine

Inspect the nature of

Explain

Identify the causal relationship between the given subjects, and relate the why and how of the way one affects the other

Extract

Select relevant and/or appropriate information

Extrapolate

Using known behaviour, trends, or data, make inferences about a particular situation

Identify

Recognise and name

Interpret

Convey your understanding of

Investigate

Question and draw conclusions about

Justify

Make a case for an argument or theory

Outline

Present in general terms the key points of

Predict

Make an educated guess on what may happen in a particular situation

Propose

Suggest an action or idea, for example as a solution to something

Recall

Present remembered ideas, facts or experiences

Recommend

Advice a course of action as being suitable for a particular purpose

Recount

Narrate events

Summarise

Briefly explain the main points

Synthesise

Combine factors to create a coherent whole

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