Command words

Command words are the words and phrases used in exams and other assessment tasks that tell students how they should answer the question.

The following command words are taken from Ofqual’s official list of command words and their meanings that are relevant to this subject. In addition, where necessary, we have included our own command words and their meanings to complement Ofqual’s list.


Review and respond to given information.


To make something new, or invent something.


Take forward or build upon given information.


Investigate without preconceptions about the outcome.


To examine carefully.

Refer to

To look at in order to find information and help.


A detailed study of a subject, to discover new information or reach a new understanding.