Compare and contrast is when you talk about the similarities and differences.  Compare means to see the similarity and contrast means to see the difference.  You must be able to explain these two topics separately and make meaningful connections between them at the same time.



How to answer:


Normally, you will be asked to compare and contrast so you need to make sure you do both. Use the connectives below to make comparisons  - What is similar? What is different?



Connectives to use:











Example: Compare and contrast animal and plant cells (Biology)



Animal and plant cells share some similarities. They both have a cell membrane, which controls the movements of substances in and out of the cells. In the same way, the centre of both cells is controlled by the nucleus, which contains DNA information needed for producing proteins. However, they are distinguishable differences between the cells. A plant cell contains a cell wall made of cellulose that provides the plant cells with strength and protection against osmotic stress. Whereas an animal cell does not require this structural support, as it must possess a flexible shape.


















Subject-specific examples 



Edexcel GCSE Computer Science   - Specimen Paper  (First exams 2018)


Question: Compare storing data in the ‘cloud’ with storing data on hard discs connected to the school’s servers (6m)



Both options are similar in the sense that data can be recovered if needed. However, they differ in terms who will be responsible because the school`s technical team will have to do it if the data is stored on a hard disc that is connected to the school`s servers whereas if the data is stored in the cloud, then the storage provider will be responsible for data recovery.


Another way in how they are different is by accessibility. This is because school`s files are available without internet connection if data is stored on the school`s server whereas an internet connection is required to access the school`s files if they are stored on the cloud.


Finally, both options are similar in the way they will both need updating as technology evolves. However, they are different in the way it is done. The school will be responsible for maintaining the servers and replacing them when they become outdated while the storage provider for the cloud will be the ones responsible for updating the systems instead if the data is stored there.






AQA GCSE Biology - Specimen Paper 1 (First exams 2018)


Question: Compare anaerobic respiration in a yeast cell with anaerobic respiration in a muscle cell (3m)


During anaerobic respiration, yeast and muscles undergo a similar process. In the same way, both yeast and muscles cells release small amounts of energy during anaerobic respiration. On the other hand, yeast produces ethanol as a waste product, whereas animal cells produce lactic acid. Yeast cells produce carbon dioxide as opposed to muscles cells, which do not. 






Edexcel GCSE Biology -  Specimen Paper 2 Higher (First exams 2018)


Question: Compare the differences between the structure of the circulatory system of a fish and the human circulatory system (4m)


The fish heart has two chambers as opposed to a human which has four chambers. The fish heart only has one ventricle and one atrium, unlike the human system which has two ventricles and two atria.  The fish heart shows a single circulatory system rather than a double circulatory system and finally, another way in how they differ is by the blood flow. Only deoxygenated blood flows through the fish heart whereas the human heart that has both oxygenated deoxygenated blood flow through it. 






Edexcel GCSE Physics - Specimen Paper 2 Higher (First exams 2018)


Question: Compare and contrast how the resistances of component A and component B vary with temperature (3m)


One way in which they are similar is through data comparison. For example, both have the same resistance at 80° C. On the other hand, they are different in terms of what happens when the temperature changes. The resistance of A decreases with temperature which is the opposite of the resistance of B which increases with temperature. Finally, another way is how the temperatures differ for when resistance is constant. For B, resistance is constant below 50°C  as opposed to the resistance for A which is roughly constant above 60°C.






AQA GCSE Geography - Specimen Paper 2 (First exams 2018)


Question: Compare the percentage of the price received by the Fairtrade banana producer with that of a non-Fairtrade banana producer (2m)


The Fairtrade farmer receives double that of the non-Fairtrade producer. The Fairtrade farmer receives 14% whereas the non-Fairtrade farmer receives 7%



 How to compare/contrast

(new spec 2018 examples included)


  • Similarly

  • In the same way

  • Likewise

  • Equally

  • As with

  • Both


  • Whereas

  • While

  • On the other hand

  • As opposed to

  • Unlike