Biology Command Terms: Everything You Need to Know

August 12, 2023

biology command terms

This guide includes a complete list of Biology Command Terms that teachers often look at when assessing your statements.

It’s important that you know what these terms means because they’re common in examination questions.

You’ll find this lesson on Biology command terms useful because we include all the terms used in Objective 1, Objective 2, and Objective 3 all in one place.

Once you read and understand what these command terms mean, you will not have to open your textbook again to learn what they mean.

What are Biology Command Terms?

IB Biology command terms are works frequently used in exams to indicate the depth of treatment that you should give to the assessment statement.

Each question in IB Biology starts with one command term, and it indicates the kind of answer an examiner expects to see.

Knowing these command terms will not only allow you to write your exam with confidence but also have the assurance that you’ve met your examiner’s expectations.

Biology Command Terms Based on Objective Explained

Objective 1

In objective 1, your instructor expects you to demonstrate your understanding of scientific concepts and facts, scientific terminologies, and scientific methods and techniques.

Also, they look at the methods you use to present your scientific information.

The following is a table of all the Biology Command Terms evaluated in Objective 1 of your IB Biology assessment.

Command Term Meaning
StateYou give a brief, concise response without giving additional explanation
MeasureCommand term that means you should find the value of a particular quantity
ListYou either give a sequence of names or direct answers to questions with no additional explanations.
LabelYou’re expected to add labels to a diagram
DrawYou must label your diagram unless your instructor tells you not to do so
DefineYou have to give the exact meaning of a word,  a physical quality, or a phrase

Objective 2

In objective 2, your teacher assesses how you’ve applied the scientific concepts, methods, and techniques in your assessment.

Furthermore, they not only look at how you use scientific terminologies to communicate and whether you use the right method to present scientific information.

Below is a table of the Biology Command Term evaluated in Objective 2 of your IB Biology assignment.

Command TermMeaning
OutlineCommand requires you to give a brief summary or account on a specific subject.
IdentifyHere, you need to find the most appropriate answer from the given possibilities.
EstimateUseful in the case where the quantity of an entity is unknown. Your work here is to give an approximate value.
DistinguishYou’re required to give a distinction (or differences) between two or more terms
DescribeYou have to give a detailed account of a subject
CalculateUse an appropriate method to find numerical answers. Show the various stages of calculation unless instructed not to do so.
ApplyMeans you use a theory, equation, principle or law in a new situation
AnnotateInstructs that you add short notes to your diagram or graph

Objective 3

The third objective of the Biology Command Terms is to see how you have constructed, demonstrated, and evaluated your hypothesis, predictions, and research questions.

Your instructor also looks at how you construct your scientific explanations as well as how you analyze scientific methods and techniques.

The following is a table of all the Biology Command Terms evaluated in Objective 1 of your IB Biology assessment.

Command Term Description
AnalyzeExamine the data provided and then come up with a reasonable conclusion.
CommentUse the results of a calculation or a particular statement to give your judgment on the subject.
CompareThis command term requires you to show the differences and similarities between two or more items.
ConstructThis Biology command term requires you to give a representation of an item in a graphical form.
DeduceYou look at the information provided and then come up with a reasonable conclusion.
DeriveIn this case, a student has to manipulate different mathematical relationships to come up with a new entity or relationship
DesignIf asked to deign anything in a Biology assignment, what you have to is to create a model, develop a plan, or produce a simulation.
DetermineIn Biology assessment, this command term requires that you find the only possible answer to an issue.
DiscussWhen asked to discuss, you should give a clear account of arguments for or against factors of alternative scientific methods
EvaluateEvaluation is all about assessing the limitation and implication of an item within the Biology subject.
ExplainWhen asked to explain a subject or issue in a Biology assessment, your work will be to demonstrate, in details, the cause, reason, or mechanism of the issue in question.
PredictGive the expected results of your experiment.
ShowUse calculations or derivation to gives steps used to arrive to a conclusion.
SketchDraw and label a diagram. Show all the lines and clearly indicate the most important features.
SolveUse a numerical method or algebraic approach to find an answer to a question.
SuggestInstructs you to propose a possible reasonable answer or come up with a hypothesis.

Get Help with IB Biology IA and EE

Writing your IB Biology IA and EE doesn’t have to be difficult. You can always get help even if you have a difficult topic to focus on.

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About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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