Exam Tasks (Operatoren)

Comprehension and reproduction

  • Describe… = To describe means that you should focus on external aspects – how something (e. g. a picture) or somebody is like. You are expected to give details, but don’t interpret.
  • Outline... = If you are supposed to outline somebody’s view or the reasons for any kind of development, you should present the main features and how the text is structured - show how they are arranged. Leave out minor details.
  • Point out ... = Here, you need to find references to a certain aspect in a text and explain them.
  • Present... = With this task, you are required to write down a structured overview of a situation.
  • State... = If you are asked to “state” something, lay down the facts clearly and briefly.
  • Summarize... / Sum up... = Instead of telling a story or narrating a real-life episode, just give a condensed account of the major points or events.
  • Complete... = If you are to complete a statement, give a brief addition of not more than 10 to 12 words that fits in with the stem.

Closed and half-closed tasks

  • Fill in... = Enter a word or phrase that fits in well with the context, grammatically, logically and content-wise. Do not leave blanks.
  • Tick... = Whenever you have to tick the right boxes or correct statements, follow the instructions of the multiple choice section. Both tasks are related.
  • Match... = Usually, you have to select related items from two categories (A, B, C – 1, 2, 3) and combine them!
  • Quote... = Quoting something means to present evidence from the text – usually, a few words in quotation marks and the respective line number to indicate where you’ve found it.

Analysis and restructuring

  • Analyze... = Show and explain in detail, how a text works. Analyzing a text means not only to describe certain features of a text, but also to show how they interact to produce a certain effect. In a poem, you may have to analyze the meter and rhythm of a particular passage with their effects on the reader.
  • Characterize... = Give a detailed description of how people are presented and explain how they are portrayed.
  • Compare = If you need to compare two or more aspects, they usually belong in a similar category. It’s recommended to point out the similarities before you show the differences.
  • Contrast... = Here, you can focus on differences. You are to show and explain the differences between two objects.
  • Examine... = Give a very detailed description and explanation of certain features or aspects of a text.
  • Explain... = If you are to explain something, first describe the situation. Then, give reasons!
  • Illustrate... = Make something clear by giving sufficient examples from the text.
  • Relate... = If you are to relate A to B, you have to establish connections or show the relationship between A and B.
  • Put into the context of ... = Connect and incident or statement to historical or topical knowledge (on the basis of what has been taught).

Evaluation, discussion, text production

  • Assess... = If you are to assess a statement or aspect, show the pros and cons in a fair and balanced way and give examples. Cover all the aspects in the question.
  • Comment on ... = Lay down your opinion, but make sure it is well justified and supported by evidence from the text.
  • Discuss... = Consider two sides of the motion or issue, giving pros and cons, but still support your arguments using examples.
  • Evaluate... – Discuss the pros and cons, then present your own point of view, based on related to the arguments you’ve used in the discussion.
  • Justify ... – Give convincing reasons for a decision or attitude, usually by rebutting the arguments potentially brought up by the other side.
  • Interpret ... = After a formal and structural analysis, say what the text means in a wider context.
  • Reflect on... = Think carefully and deeply about a problem certain behavior, attitudes or viewpoints.
  • Verify ... = Analyze and show that something is true.
  • Write a ... = Produce a text in agreement with the rules of this particular genre.