Command terms are key terms that are used in exam questions to ask questions. The following link takes you to a PowerPoint that helps explain the meaning for each, within the old syllabus – last exam 2015. [Check out the very useful sortable syllabus below the embedded PowerPoint on the website.]

I have graded many exam papers that have left me pulling out my hair as I read students demonstrate an understanding of the content tested, BUT due to a lack of understanding of the command term, have answered a question that was never asked and not answered the question that was.

One that is commonly mis-understood is Analyse

Break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure. (New definition – first exam 2016)

Interpret data to reach conclusions. (old definition – last exam 2015)

Another is Compare- 

Give an account of similarities and differences between two (or more) items, referring to both (all) of them throughout. (old definition – last exam 2015)

For this blog I am not going to post the new definition for fear of confusion.

Commonly asked exam questions that use COMPARE as a command term include

Compare mitosis and Meiosis

Compare spermatogenesis and oogenesis.

To that end, I have posted videos on each topic and a video that compares each. Also, check out this website that is dedicated to comparing (but does not have a page on gametogenesis)


[youtube id=”gwcwSZIfKlM”]


[youtube id=”toWK0fIyFlY”]

Go check out many other videos from the Amoeba sisters on Genetics if you like these etc

The comparison

[youtube id=”OGX8Bn7Kjjc”]

Explore the differences and comment on the following:

  • The number of cell divisions
  • the organisation of homologous chromosomes
  • the number of cells produced
  • variety / identical
  • How variety is achieved / not achieved


[youtube id=”6EG6u-am-h0″]


[youtube id=”0-Q4V9tJ_18&list=PLeamicglHzQcNpg0HWM_zk4IL5prQFeGj”]

The comparison

[youtube id=”KwSAJj1Ik-s”]

Make notes the processes they have in common

To explore the differences comment on the following:

  • the stage of life at which the process initiates.
  • the stage of the process at which meiosis I and II progresses.
  •  the number of mature gametes produced from a primary germ cell.
  • the number and timing of gametes released.
  • the length of time the process takes,