Language, notation and formulas
Language, notation and formulas

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Language, notation and formulas

4 The format of questions

4.1 Understanding the question

Before you can attempt a question, you must read and understand it. This may sound obvious but you will need to know, before you start, what is expected by way of an answer. In particular, you will need to know the meaning of the instructions contained in the question. This section contains a discussion of the precise meanings attached to words like ‘find’, ‘show’, ‘write down’ and ‘determine’ in mathematics questions. The different types of instruction are illustrated by posing several questions all based on the same initial problem.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus