Essay titles include one or more words that give you exact instructions as to what the marker is looking for. They indicate what you need to demonstrate in order to answer the question. These are typically words like discuss and examine. They indicate what skills you need to demonstrate in order to answer the question successfully.
Instruction words that tell you what to do, such as describe, discuss, identify, assess and explain.
Understand command words:
Justify - Support (with facts/figures/examples)
Examine - investigate closely, ask questions of
Summarise - Sum up the main points
Compare - Explain the similarities and differences
Criticise - Identify problems/disadvantages
Discuss - Debate the issue from different standpoints
Contrast - Explain the difference between
Prove - demonstrate, make certain
Describe - give a concise statement of meaning and/or identify the main characteristics
Evaluate - Weigh up the strengths and weaknesses
Tell you what your answer should be about. They are often technical words used in the subject that you are writing on.
It may be appropriate to briefly define what these key words mean so that you have a clear understanding of what you need to write about. Once you know what to look for you can move on to break down the question.
Want to see some essays that followed command words?