Shhh… Secret Tips to Scoring Well in Science Open Ended Questions!

Updated: Nov 2

Answering open-ended questions (OEQs) in Science is a challenge for many students. Not only do these OEQs test the students’ mastery of the taught scientific concepts, but they also require students to demonstrate their ability to apply and communicate the concepts in given situations.


The next time your child encounters a Science OEQ, try using the mnemonic, A-C-T-O-R to help him/her answer the question effectively!



Using A-C-T-O-R to answer Science OEQs:

  1. Read ALL the words in the question, including the part-questions.

  2. Identify the CONCEPT(S) being tested in the question or part-question.

  3. Use the question tag or instructional keywords to determine the TYPE(S) of question(s) asked. Identify and mark the keywords in the given information and the question(s).

  4. “Describe/Explain/Why/How/Give a reason”: Answers are usually longer and more details are expected.

  5. “State/Identify/List/Name”: Give a one-word answer or a short phrase. An explanation is not required.

  6. “Compare”: Remember to show the comparison between the given variables. In some cases, comparative / superlative adjectives are required.

  7. Plan and ORGANIZE your answer before writing it down.

  8. Read and REVIEW your answer to check if you have answered to the question.

Click here to find out more about the Learning Point Science Explorers Primary programme.

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