Common Command Words In Economics

A-levels Economics Exam is a difficult subject to ace without proper guidance. Having knowledge about economic theories and policies is not enough. Students should be able to understand the requirements of the question. In the examinations, certain command words often appear in the question, and students are expected to attempt them accordingly. These words are there to test students’ ability to attempt different questions that require the similar information but in different contexts. 

This article will share about some common command words and what they mean in a question. Moreover, we will understand the importance of these command words. 

Importance of command words in Economics Examination 

A-level examinations promotes conceptual learning. Students should know the concepts to apply to different structured questions. This is a skill that many may need time to master, but with hard work, it is possible to ace your economics examinations.

For instance, if a question requires you to compare two economic policies, and you only write the definitions, you are merely providing the information, but not answering the requirement of the question.

Common Command Words

 To excel in your economics examination, you need to know all the common command words and their meanings. Once you master this list and practise the sample questions accordingly, you would be ready to tackle your economics exam.


Assess means to give definitions with examples. Moreover, the examiners expect a judgment or reaction to the problem raised. Providing evidence of your argument is necessary.  


This means to examine the statement and analyse the economic situation. It mainly requires you to give for and against points with strong arguments to prove your statements. 


If a question asks you to define something, you need to give simple facts about the theory. However, there are separate marks for examples as well. 


To compare means to make a comparison between two economic concepts or theories. The examiner expects the students to state differences and similarities. Moreover, students can also differentiate through examples, if possible. 


To analyse is one of the most common command words. It means that the student has to compare in detail the causes and effects on a particular situation. These questions mostly require an opinion-based answer that you can defend vigorously. It also expects a student to give opinions on how something can or cannot be favorable. 


This means to describe in detail about a specific economic situation or theory. Moreover, the examiner expects the students to explain with the help of suitable examples, if possible. 


This means that the students should give a brief description of a situation. This type of command usually appears as a second part of the essay question.


The most important and tricky of all is evaluation. The examiner expects the students to make a judgment on a situation. They have to state the possible positive aspects as well as limitations of a subject, with powerful arguments. Moreover, questions that include the command words “assess,” “discuss,” or ”to what extent” require a complete evaluation. 

However, questions that include “define” and “outline” do not require evaluation.


Now, the question is how to have a command over these command words? The answer is straightforward. All you need to know your content well and do enough practices. If you enrol in one of the best economics tuition centres in town, you can also get personalised feedback and more chances to improve. Good luck!

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