Short Answer Questions

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Most students struggle when they take an exam due to a lack of preparation. But if you take the time to understand what the particular exam entails – whether it is a multiple-choice type or short essay questions – you can gain a major edge going into test day.

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Write Short Answer Questions
  2. Types of Short Answer Questions
  3. Typical Mistakes
  4. FAQ
  5. Marketing Questions-Answers Sample
  6. Psychology Questions-Answers Sample

How to Write Short Answer Questions

This particular article focuses on how to write short answer questions (SAQs) from the perspective of your professor's expectations. While every professor has their own particular ideas about how to answer short-response questions, these short answer test tips should work in most cases.

Keep in mind that in order to succeed at any test, you should attend all lectures, take good notes, read all of the class materials, ask questions when something is unclear, and never wait until the night before the exam to start studying. If you develop good study habits, you will find yourself on the right track and ready to conquer any exam.

Let us take another look at the short-answer exam. To being with, a short-answer exam really is what it means: a series of short response questions that require a concise answer and nothing more. They can often be answered in a couple of words or a phrase, a short numerical answer, or even through a basic graph.

Some professors penalize their students if their answer is overly long. But most of them are more concerned with the answers being correct. When taking the exam, you want to use caution regarding length. If you take 5 sentences to answer a question that could easily be answered in 2, and any of that additional information is incorrect, you are certain to lose points. Rule of thumb: only include extra info if you are positive that it can improve your score.

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Types of Short Answer Questions

Now let us take a look at the six most common short-answer question prompts: define, explain, give an example, relate, calculate, make a graph. If you familiarize yourself with them, you can learn how to write short answer questions.


This is self-explanatory: all that is required is to provide a definition of a term or idea.

Example: “What is the capital gains tax?” Answer: “It is the tax levied on profits realized on the sale of stocks and other non-inventory assets.”


Simply provide an explanation for why an idea or concept is true or how an object or process works.

Example: “Why does the demand for luxury goods increase as the price increases?” Answer: “Because there is a certain prestige attached to attaining something that the average person could never afford.”

Give an Example

For this, simply provide an example of one or several specific occurrences of an idea or concept.

Example: “Give two examples of pairs of goods that serve as near-perfect substitutes.” Answer: “Orange juice and apple juice. Butter and margarine.”


For this, simply discuss how two or more concepts or objects are related. Is one different from the other? If so, how? Are they perfectly alike? Does one represent the other in some way? (Note: students typically find this type of question to be the most challenging)

Example: “Why would a rise in the price of sugar lead to an increase in the sales of honey?”

Answer: “When the price of a product goes up, people will seek out a substitute that more or fewer services the same purpose. In this case, a rise in sugar prices should lead to higher sales of honey, assuming the price of honey remained unaffected.”


For this, you need to apply some mathematics.

Example: “Tom and Sally own a coffee shop that makes delicious nut bread. They need to buy flour, which costs $2 per pound and nuts, which cost $1.50 per pound. They have $68 in their budget. The weight of the nuts should be four times that of the flour.”
Answer: f = flour (pounds), n = nuts (pound) f = 4n, 2f + 1.5n = 68, 2(4n) + 1.5n = 68, 9.5n = 68, n ≈ 7.16

Make a Graph

This requires a basic graph with clearly labeled axes and curves. Unless the question asks for a written explanation, it is not necessary to provide one.

Example: “Draw a supply/demand curve.”

Typical Mistakes

Do not make the mistake of providing an answer to one type of question if you are being asked a different type. For example, if it is an explanation question, don't provide a definition instead even if your answer is technically correct since that is not the question you are being asked. Professors dock points for that no matter how beautiful your answer might be.

A few final short answer test tips. Make sure you are not accidentally answering only part of a question. In a rush to get their exams completed, a lot of students might overlook the fact that a certain question has two or more steps. This is particularly true if you are calculating formulas. You might solve part of an equation (such as quantity maximization) but forget to also calculate price as required in the question. Likewise, if the question specifically asks you for more than one example, do not settle for just one (unless, of course, you are unable to think up a second example, but even then you should try).

Even if you are not sure how to write short answer questions in some cases, never leave the question blank. Always write down something because you at least stand a chance of getting partial credit. On the other hand, not providing any kind of answer is the surefire way to get a zero for that particular question.


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5. Can I see any writing samples?

A: Yes, of course. Check out 2 questions-answers samples below.

Marketing Questions-Answers Sample

Explain impulse products. Identify two challenges marketers may have regarding impulse products.

Impulse products are over counter goods that are unplanned sale in the business. The products are bought on impulse, and they include items like women magazines, chocolate, candy, key holders, and attractive snacks displayed in shops and supermarkets.

Some of the challenges facing impulse marketing are competition and difficulties in advertising their products. A lot of money is invested in convincing the consumers on the efficiency of their products.

Online branding is another challenge facing impulse marketing. It involves branding and marketing a product on the internet. The process demands that a firm should use customers' approach so as to win the market...


Basic Marketing Research in Questions and Answers Sample

Basic Marketing Research

Marketing research is a business strategy that is focused on providing information about the consumption patterns of a product. As a business tool, marketing research enhances decision making through the provision of relevant information regarding the marketplace. It answers questions about who will buy the product and the expected quantity to be bought. Basic marketing research involves interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and direct feedback as the major tools for conducting the research.

How Heuristics Affects the Consumer Decision-Making Process?

Heuristics refers to strategies that are adopted by individuals in the decision making process. They range from general to specific and vary from one individual to another. Based on the information acquired, they enable individuals to make instant decisions or delayed decisions. When shopping the price heuristic can be used in combination with the representative heuristic for the economy, speed, and convenience.

Market Fragmentation and Why It Is a Concern to Marketers?

Market fragmentation refers to specific portions of the market that are independent and self-sustaining where a product or commodity is performing well. A fragment may be a portion of a large market. Market fragmentation is essential to marketers as it enables them to customize and tailor a product for a specific market. They also provide actual, quantifiable results that show the performance of a product in the market. Understanding market fragments leads to a successful marketing strategy to be implemented.


Psychology Questions-Answers Sample


  1. Ethical Implications associated with psychological research involving human subjects.
  2. Theoretical perspectives from which to explain psychological development throughout the lifespan.
  3. Theoretical model or process for explaining or measuring intelligence.
  4. Symptoms, challenges, and possible treatment of a psychological disorder.


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Free Example of Questions-Answers to African American Literature

The Contemporary Era: 1975 – Present

Question 1

Alice Walker captures the plight of the African American women as violence. Black women face untold marital violence with little effort to correct such a problem. Male dominance mostly projected by the society sustains it. For instance, Celie repeatedly suffers violence from two men supposed to protect and love her; husband and father. Male dominance and violence is especially captured by Harpo’s statement about controlling women, “nothing can do better than a sound beating” (Walker 1982, p. 5). Essentially, Alice Walker emphasizes the plight of women as primarily violence.

Question 2

Nestie’s disappearance and Harpo’s abuse of Sofia portrays how the society normalizes injustice towards women and thus assert male dominance and resulting violence and chauvinism. The disappearance opens up the constant abuse black women undergo and the lack of societal conviction to bring the culprits to justice. For instance, the rape mental graphic presented in the letters, such as “you better git used to it,” strangely furthers and relates to Harpo’s abuse of Sofia (Walker 1982, p. 11). The epitome of emotional violence is perhaps captured by Harpo, who is infuriated and wonders “when I see Sofia, I don’t know why she still alive.” (Walker 1982, p. 82). Injustice, chauvinism, physical and emotional violence is normalized.

Question 3

Celie’s advice to Harpo to beat up her wife, Sofia stemmed from her jealous about Sofia’s ability to defend herself and fight back when confronted by her husband. Celie feels sorry about her own lack of courage to fight back when confronted with such incidences. Deep down Celie admires Sofia and feels motivated by her resolve, especially when she says, “I will kill him before he beats me up” (Walker 1982, p. 107). Sofia wants respect, equality and justice as men command.

Question 4

The portrayal of the theme of bravado in Maya Angelou Phenomenal woman and Still I Rise and Lucille Clifton’s Homage to Hips echo hip hop music’s common theme of bad man. Specifically, they all create a societal awareness construct drawn from identity, such as “now you understand just why my head’s not bowed” (Angelou, 1978). Interestingly, bravado commands societal attention, which can be used to exert influence on a wide range of issues, such as violence, gender inequality and male dominance as captured “hips have never been enslaved” (Clifton 1987).

However, Angelou and Clifton’s empowering poems prompt revision of the ‘bad man’ rappers and DJ’s connotations on what it represents to the society. Alternatively, the ‘bad man’ focus should explore the society in an empowering perspective, instead of the bravado and personal glorification common in hip hop and DJs.

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