To consider something is to think about it, especially in order to make a decision. To contemplate something is to give it continued attention in a calm, reflective manner. This verb suggests an internal gazing or meditative state similar to the verbs muse and ponder. While the act of contemplation may certainly inform decisions, the verb often wanders free, untethered to aims or outcomes.
To contend is to earnestly dispute or strive in debate. It is to assert your position or beliefs in a determined and perhaps even competitive manner. This term is commonly used in legal contexts, for instance, to talk about the assertions that lawyers, defendants, and plaintiffs make in a case. One of the most common uses of this verb, however, deviates from this meaning slightly: to contend with something, as in families contending with remote learning, is to grapple with it—not dispute it.
The adjective exceptional describes things that are out of the ordinary or rare. Exceptional circumstances, for instance, are circumstances that deviate from the norm or from what’s expected. Often, exceptional implies excellence and superiority, as is the case when we talk about someone with exceptional talent. Here, the degree of excellence is what sets the talent apart and makes it an exception.