Break the question down into 3 constituent parts

  • Topic area (WHO and WHAT)
    • Underline words that indicate subject matter
  • Limiting words (WHY)
    • Highlight words that control slant required on topic area
  • Directive (HOW)
    • Circle words suggesting structure of your answer (how you’ll use what you know)


Types of directives

  • Describe offer a detailed account
  • Trace note the turning points and stages
  • Contrast identify and explore differences between
  • Compare identify and explore both similarities and differences
  • Summarise identify key ideas and present them concisely
  • Discuss consider all sides of the argument

Based on Cogan and Flecker’s (2004) “Question the Question” (Dyslexia in Secondary School, pp.155-158)