Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Analysis Ability

Analysis ability is the ability to look into the subject matter from different perspectives (point of view/angles) to achieve a better understanding of the text. It requires you to be imaginative and creative to observe a single object from multiple dimensions. This skill is required to GP students while analysing questions to understand the exact meaning of the question to decide how to approach writing an essay on that question.

You can understand the meaning of a question if you have good interpretation skills but still you may not be able to write an essay on it - if you don’t have good analysis skills. You have to do some extra-work to understand the questions better and become able to write essays on them. For example, here you are introduced with analysis and interpretation skills which are almost synonymous, both help us understand something. However, to see their real difference you have to compare them with each other. Interpretation is over after the meaning of something is understood. However, analysis requires deep investigation and observation of the component parts of something to have a better insight of the subject concerned. After you analyse a question deeply, you generate some ideas on it and become capable to write something on it. In other words, after analysis you get something (opinions/arguments) to say, on your own, about the subject.

Analysing Questions

In almost all the questions there are two parts: instruction and focus. The “action words” give you the instructions and the "content words" give you insight into the main subject matter, also called as the focus or theme of the essay.

1. Instructions or "Action Words"

Instruction words give you the directions as well as the restrictions. This includes the words like evaluate/assess, compare, discuss, define, to what extent, how far do you agree, and so on. These words explicitly tell you what to do. Therefore, understanding them is very necessary. Here is a link which describes most of these words concisely.

Similarly, instruction words also restrict or limit the scope of the essay. An essay could be as long as a big book but you are advised to limit your essay within 500 – 600 words. Similarly, some questions ask you to discuss something within the scope of your society or country. They are also a kind of restriction.

2. Content Words

The “content words” provide you the theme of the subject matter. You have to write on the theme as instructed by the “action words”. These words, as the name suggests, will help you find the content (resources) for your essays.


‘People who ignore religion reject vital aspects of their culture and life.’ Do you agree? (May/June 2006)

Action Words - “Do you agree?” = “Evaluate this.” = “Give your opinions about this.”
Content Words (in a simplified form) - “Religion is vital aspect of culture and life”

Another Example:

Why is it more acceptable to say ‘I am no good at sums’ than ‘I cannot read’? (Oct/Nov 2004, GP 8004/01)

Think about this question. Do you have any idea what the question means?

Now, let me paraphrase this question:

Why is it better to be bad (=no good) at mathematics rather than being illiterate (unable to read anything)?

I hope you understood the question now. Now, the question is asking you to compare the consequences of being illiterate and bad at sums and since there is “why” you should give reasons to prove that being no-good at mathematics is better than being unable to read at all.

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