(Getting Started) What does Evaluate, Examine, Critically Discuss and Such Terms Mean??

What does Evaluate, Examine, Critically Discuss and Such Terms Mean??

Dear IAS Aspirants,
We have been getting many emails, asking about the meaning and differences between the questions that starts with terms like- Evaluate, Examine, Critically Discuss etc.

It is important to know precisely what the question asks, in order to answer it adequately. Most of the time, a candidate is unable to comprehend what the question expects of the candidate. Thus, the candidate makes a wild guess and writes down whatever comes to his/her mind. However, this might badly backfire, and result in lower marks, ultimately disappointing you.

Many candidates are confused after reading questions that are in the form of- 'Evaluate, Examine, Analyze, Critically Discuss, and Outline......'

It should be kept in mind that these terms are not synonymous, though there meaning may, at times, overlap. Thus IASEXAMPORTAL presents a brief explanation for these terms:

GS Foundation Course (PT+ MAINS) for IAS EXAM

सामान्य अध्ययन (GS) फ़ाउनडेशन कोर्स (Foundation Course) PT + Mains, HINDI Medium

:: Evaluate ::

Questions asking you to evaluate some issue expect you to judge the significance and worth of the topic under some criterion. Thus, merely writing the factual statements would not help in such questions. While, it might be necessary to provide some factual evidence for your arguments, it is more important in such questions to judge the worth of the concept, being discussed, as per the given context.

EXAMPLES- Evaluate the Participation of India in the IMF?


Now, this question does not ask you to write merely about India’s participation in the IMF and various agreements or developments. But, it asks you to write how is India’s participation in the IMF justified. Thus, you cannot fetch good marks merely by giving the details about the Indian participation. You should provide rational reasons regarding the effectiveness and worth of it.

:: Examine ::

These questions are much like the evaluate-type of question, but it requires the candidate to write the different shades of the topic. It requires the candidate to inquire into the topic and make an evaluation from the candidate's perspective.

EXAMPLES- Examine the role of women in the Indian national movement?


This question, expects the candidate to evaluate the different dimensions of the topic, and decide for the aptness of the question. Thus, you should touch the various aspects of the question and provide why and how does it justify itself. thus, for this question you should give the instances of how women participated in the indian national movement, and explain why was it significant.

:: Analyze ::

these questions require the candidate to analyze the topic being asked, with other similar concepts and draw out the characteristic features and qualities, while also highlighting the positive and negative points of the topic.

EXAMPLES- Analyze the role of Panchayats in the empowerment of the poor and marginalized.


To analyze a topic, you should bring out the points both- in favor and against the given argument. Further, you should explain your view, as to how it can be proved with the given evidence. For this question, you should discuss how the panchayats have helped the poor and marginalized section, and what are the various challenges and obstacles for their empowerment under the present framework. Then, at the bend of the answer, you should also conclude your argument by a side.

:: Critically Discuss ::

Questions with the tag of 'critically discuss' are broad-based questions which expects the candidate to write about the topic from his own perspective. In addition, it requires the candidate to bring out the points of criticism regarding the concept.

EXAMPLES- Critically Discuss the developments in the Education sector in India.


For this question, while the first thing a candidate should write is the contemporary situation in the field of education in india, and then move towards the criticism part. It is important to note that for such questions the candidate should also put his own perspective and views. Thus, while highlighting the achievement in the education sector, you should also give the shortcomings and loopholes of the education policy in india.

:: Outline ::

The questions that asks you to outline about the issue, requires you to draw a framework about the topic, with different details and constituents. Such an essay is a descriptive essay containing more facts and less analysis.

EXAMPLES- Give an Outline of the System of Economic Planning in India.


For this question, you should give a detailed sketch of the evolution of the system of economic planning in india. You may advance in a historical chronology or according to the various planning frameworks. However, it is beneficial if you also provide an evaluation of the topic, in the latter section of the essay.

We advice to the IAS aspirants to keep in mind, the meaning of the different terms, while writing any exam in the future. We are open for suggestions and questions from the aspirants.

We wish the candidates, All the Best!!



GS Foundation Course (PT+ MAINS) for IAS EXAM

सामान्य अध्ययन (GS) फ़ाउनडेशन कोर्स (Foundation Course) PT + Mains, HINDI Medium

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