Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


An examination; a test.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Education) short for examination
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



Informal. an examination, as in school.


1. examination.
2. examined.
3. examinee.
4. examiner.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



An exam or examination is an official test that shows your knowledge or ability in a particular subject. Exam is the word most commonly used. Examination is more formal and is used mainly in written English.

I was told the exam was difficult.
All students must take a three-hour written examination.

When someone takes part in an exam, you say that they take it or sit it.

Many children want to take these exams.
After the third term we'll be sitting the exam.

Speakers of American English generally use take instead of 'sit'.

In conversation, you can also say that someone does an exam.

I did my exams last week.

If someone is successful in an exam, you say that they pass it.

If you want a good job, you'll have to pass your exams.

Be Careful!
To pass an exam always means to succeed in it. It does not mean to take part in it.

If someone is unsuccessful in an exam, you say that they fail it.

He failed the entrance exam.
I passed the written part but then failed the oral section hopelessly.

You also say that someone passes in or fails in a particular subject.

I've been told that I'll probably pass in English and French.
I failed in a few other subjects.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.exam - a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledgeexam - a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge; "when the test was stolen the professor had to make a new set of questions"
communicating, communication - the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information; "they could not act without official communication from Moscow"
bar exam, bar examination - an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction; "applicants may qualify to take the New York bar examination by graduating from an approved law school"; "he passed the bar exam on his third try"
comp, comprehensive, comprehensive examination - an intensive examination testing a student's proficiency in some special field of knowledge; "she took her comps in English literature"
entrance exam, entrance examination - examination to determine a candidate's preparation for a course of studies
final exam, final examination, final - an examination administered at the end of an academic term
litmus test - a test that relies on a single indicator; "her litmus test for good breeding is whether you split infinitives"
midterm exam, midterm examination, midterm - an examination administered in the middle of an academic term
oral, oral exam, oral examination, viva, viva voce - an examination conducted by spoken communication
preliminary exam, preliminary examination, prelim - an examination taken by graduate students to determine their fitness to continue
quiz - an examination consisting of a few short questions
tripos - final honors degree examinations at Cambridge University
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. test, examination, assessment, evaluation, research, paper, investigation, practical, quiz, oral, appraisal, catechism He failed his maths exam and had to retake it.
2. checkup, analysis, going-over (informal), exploration, health check, once-over (informal) A full medical exam is usually not required.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. A set of questions or exercises designed to determine knowledge or skill:
2. A medical inquiry into a patient's state of health:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
kỳ thi


n (=examination)
(SCHOOL) (academic)examen m
a French exam → un examen de français
to pass an exam → réussir un examen
to take an exam, to sit an exam → passer un examen
(US) (MEDICINE) (medical)examen m
modif [results, marks] → des examens; [pass] → à un examen
the exam results → les résultats des examens
exam pressure → pression des examensexam board examination board n (British) comité chargé de l'organisation des examens scolaires nationaux
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nPrüfung f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


اِمْتِحَان zkouška eksamen Prüfung διαγώνισμα examen koe examen ispit esame 試験 시험 examen eksamen egzamin exame экзамен examen ข้อสอบ sınav kỳ thi 考试
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. examen, evaluación, investigación; reconocimiento.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
"Tomorrow's the exam, and I won't be drawn by anyone."
So let's go house-hunting at once, before exams come on."
Exams were on and over; the last week of the term came and still their "house o'dreams," as Anne called it, remained a castle in the air.
"And exams are over and gone -- the time of Convocation will come soon -- next Wednesday.
When Anne had bad dreams she found herself staring miserably at pass lists of the Entrance exams, where Gilbert Blythe's name was blazoned at the top and in which hers did not appear at all.
If you won't let me go in for the army - I could pass my exams to-morrow - I'm off.
Get Most Up-to-Date CompTIA A+ 220-1001 Dumps with Practice Exam Questions and Pass Your CompTIA A+ Certification Exam with High Marks.
However, state-owned Al-Ahram reported that the student threw himself after he was allegedly observed cheating in the exam. The operations' unit of the ministry of education stated that the student ended his life after observers noticed he was cheating and initiated legal procedures toward him, Al-Ahram clarified.
Mr Ike Onyechere, Founding Chairman, Exam Ethics Marshals International, gave the commendation in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Exam Edge's institutional partnership program is available for all 1,600 subjects they offer.
Tuesday's physics paper was "very lengthy", included "very indirect questions", and bore "no resemblance to the previous year's papers", according to students signing the 'Lenient correction for Physics Board Exam 2019' petition on www.avaaz.org.