Specifications that use this resource:

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.


separate information into components and identify their characteristics

Compare and contrast

identify similarities and differences


present key points about different ideas or strengths and weaknesses of an idea


investigate closely


investigate without preconceptions about the outcome