The question descriptors greatly determine what and how much you need to write. Here is the list of common question descriptors used in Lok Sewa Aayog question papers.

  1. Descriptive (What type) : These types of keywords expect you to describe. You may even list down points in bullets.
    1. Define: To give in precise terms the meaning of something. Bring to attention any problems posed with the definition and different interpretations that may exist.
    2. Elaborate: To give in more detail, provide more information on the topic
    3. Illustrate: show the meaning or truth of something more clearly, especially by giving examples or statistics
    4. Distinguish: To distinguish is to notice or understand the difference between two things. It stresses that two things are not just different from each other, but that they have recognizable differences which make them unique and of different kinds.
    5. Compare: Identify the similarities and differences between two or more phenomena. Say if any of the shared similarities or differences are more important than others.
    6. Contrast: Similar to compare but concentrate on the dissimilarities between two or more phenomena, or what sets them apart. Point out any differences which are particularly significant.
    7. Highlight: emphasize
    8. Mention: refer to (something) briefly and without going into detail.
    9. Suggest: tell about your idea
    10. List: Provide an itemized series of parts, reasons or qualities, possibly in a table.
    11. Summarize or outline: Just give the main points, not the details. Just give the main points, not the details.
  2. Explanation (How/Why type) : These types of keywords expect you to describe. You may even list down points in bullets.
    1. Describe: Provide a detailed explanation as to how and why something happens
    2. Explain: Clarify a topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurs, or what is meant by the use of this term in a particular context. Your writing should have clarity so that complex procedures or sequences of events can be understood.
    3. Demonstrate: Show how, with examples to illustrate
    4. Substantiate: provide evidence to support or prove the truth of.; provide examples; or facts if possible
    5. Account for: what, and why something happened.
    6. To what extent: Evokes a similar response to questions containing ‘How far…’. This type of question calls for a thorough assessment of the evidence in presenting your argument. Explore alternative explanations where they exist.
    7. Justify: Give reasons to support a statement – it may be a negative statement, so be careful!
    8. Clarify: make (a statement or situation) less confused and more comprehensible with examples
    9. Examine: Take apart its constituents and describe a concept in great detail.
    10. Trace: Give a brief description of the logical or chronological stages of the development of a theory, process, a person’s life and so on. Often used in historical questions.
  3. Opinion (Discussion type) : These types of keywords expect you to describe. You may even list down points in bullets.
    1. Opinion: a view or judgement formed about something, preferably based on fact or knowledge.
    2. Elucidate: Elucidate means to explain in detail/to make clear. Present cause-effect correlation. Bring out the connection more clearly by citing evidence and examples
    3. Critically Examine: Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding a topic. You should try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues you have identified are the most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.
    4. Discuss: Talk or write about (a topic) in detail, taking into account different issues or ideas. Back up by the ideas carefully with evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of a given context. Arrive at a conclusion in the final paragraph.
    5. Analyze: Break an issue into its constituent parts. Look in depth at each part using supporting arguments and evidence for and against as well as how these interrelate to one another. Criticize its sub-parts in detail. You have to be methodical and logical.
    6. Assess: Describe a topic’s positive and negative aspects and say how useful or successful it is, or consider its contribution to knowledge, events or processes
    7. Comment: Pick out the main points on a subject and give your opinion, reinforcing your point of view using logic and reference to relevant evidence, including any wider reading you have done. Remember not to comment from your side but based on what you have read.
    8. Critically Evaluate: Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice
    9. Criticize: Point out a topic’s mistakes or weaknesses as well as its favorable aspects. Give a balanced answer (this will involve some analysis first).Point out a topic’s mistakes or weaknesses as well as its favorable aspects. Give a balanced answer (this will involve some analysis first).
    10. Suggest: Give possible reasons – analyze, interpret and evaluate. (This is also the verb most commonly used to quote another author.)
    11. Review: a formal assessment of something with the intention of instituting change if necessary. Suggest a way forward.
    12. Explain critically: present in a way that expresses or involves an analysis of the merits and demerits