MCAS Strategy of the Week

Identify key words to understand what a question is asking.

What are examples of "key words?"

"Describe," "compare," and "contrast" are all terms that tell you how to answer a question.

But what exactly do these words mean?!

Here are a few examples...

To describe means to give details.

To compare means figure out how two or more things are similar.

To contrast means to figure out how two or more things are different.

To analyze means look at all of the details closely to figure out the big picture.

To explain means to describe in enough detail that it is easy for the reader to understand.

Are these the only terms I should know?

No way! Here is a Quizlet with several terms you will see on the MCAS. (password: MCAS)

How am I going to remember all of these terms?

My suggestion is to download the Quizlet app on your phone and review these terms on the bus ride home, for ten minutes every night after dinner, or in the car to and from sports practice, music class, etc. A little practice every day goes a long way!

Practice this strategy!

The question below was taken directly from the 2017 ELA MCAS. Read the poem (below) and answer the following questions:

The word barter means to trade something in exchange for something else. Explain why "Barter" is an appropriate title for the poem. Use relevant and specific information from the poem to support your answer.

Big picture
Explain means to tell in enough detail that it is easy to understand.

Relevant means that the reasons provided should have to do with the poem.

Specific means that the examples provided should be directly from the poem.