"Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much by just sitting in class listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn a part of themselves."

Chickering, A and Gamson, Z. F. (March 1987) "Seven Principles for Good Practice." AAHE Bulletin 39: 3-7.

Different Types of Questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy

Lower Order

Knowledge (Remembering)
These types of questions test the students’ ability to memorize and to recall terms, facts and details without necessarily understanding the concept.
Key Words: Memorize, Define, Identify, Repeat, Recall, State, Write, List & Name
Examples of questions:

  • "What is...?"

  • "How would you describe...?"

  • "Why did...?

  • "How would your show...?" 

Comprehension (Understanding)
These questions test the students’ ability to summarize and describe in their own words without necessarily relating it to anything.
Key Words: Describe, Distinguish, Explain, Interpret, Predict, Recognize & Summarize
Examples of questions:

  • "What facts or ideas show...?"

  • "How would you compare...?"

  • "How would your classify...?

  • "Can you explain what is happening...?"

Higher Order

Application (Transferring)
Application questions encourage students to apply or transfer learning to their own life or to a context different than one in which it was learned. 
Key Words: Apply, Compare, Contrast, Demonstrate, Examine, Relate, Solve & Use
Examples of questions:

  • "What would result if...?"

  • "What facts would you select to show...?"

  • "What approach would you use to...?"

  • "How would you use...?" 


Analysis (Relating)
These questions encourage students to break material into parts, describe patterns and relationships among parts, to subdivide information and to show how it is put together.
Key Words: Analyze, Differentiate, Distinguish, Explain, Infer, Relate, Research & Separate
Examples of questions:

  • "What inference can you make...?"

  • "What is the relationship between...?"

  • "What evidence can you find...?"

  • "What things justify...?"    

Synthesis (Creating)
These questions encourage students create something new by using a combination of ideas from different sources to form a new whole.
Key Words: Arrange, Combine, Create, Design, Develop Formulate, Integrate & Organize
Examples of questions:

  • "What could be changed to improve...?"

  • "How would you test...?"

  • "What way would you design...?"

  • "What outcome would you predict for...?"    


Evaluation (Judging)
Evaluation questions encourage students to develop opinions and make value decisions about issues based on specific criteria.
Key Words: Assess, Critique, Determine, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Measure & Recommend
Examples of questions:

  • "How could you select...?"

  • "How could you prove...?"

  • "How would you prioritize...?"

  • "What information would you use to support...?" 


More About Questions

Effective Questioning Techniques