Definition of exam noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    exam

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzæm//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzæm//
     
    (formal examination) Exams and assessment, Teaching and learning, Exams and degrees
     
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  1. 1  a formal written, spoken or practical test, especially at school or college, to see how much you know about a subject, or what you can do to take an exam to pass/fail an exam an exam paper I got my exam results today. A lot of students suffer from exam nerves. (British English) I hate doing exams. (British English, formal) to sit an exam (British English) to mark an exam (North American English) to grade an exam (British English) She did well in her exams. (North American English) She did well on her exams. More Aboutexams Exam is the usual word for a written, spoken or practical test at school or college, especially an important one that you need to do in order to get a qualification. Examination is a very formal word. A test is something that students might be given in addition to, or sometimes instead of, regular exams, to see how much they have learned. A very short informal test is called a quiz in North American English. Quiz in both North American English and British English also means a contest in which people try to answer questions:a trivia quiz a quiz show. Wordfindercourse, distance learning, education, exam, further education, graduate, higher education, qualification, study, tertiary CollocationsEducationLearning acquire/​get/​lack (an) education/​training/(British English) (some) qualifications receive/​provide somebody with training/​tuition develop/​design/​plan a curriculum/(especially British English) course/(North American English) program/​syllabus give/​go to/​attend a class/​lesson/​lecture/​seminar hold/​run/​conduct a class/​seminar/​workshop sign up for/​take a course/​classes/​lessonsSchool go to/​start preschool/​kindergarten/​nursery school be in the first, second, etc. (North American English) grade/(especially British English) year (at school) study/​take/​drop history/​chemistry/​German, etc. (British English) leave/​finish/​drop out of/ (North American English) quit school (North American English) graduate high school/​collegeProblems at school be the victim/​target of bullying (British English) play truant from/ (both British English, informal) bunk off/​skive off school (= not go to school when you should) (both especially North American English) skip/​cut class/​school (British English) cheat in/(North American English) cheat on an exam/​a test get/​be given a detention (for doing something) be expelled from/​be suspended from schoolWork and exams do your homework/(British English) revision/​a project on something work on/​write/​do/​submit an essay/​a dissertation/​a thesis/​an assignment/(North American English) a paper finish/​complete your dissertation/​thesis/​studies/​coursework hand in/ (North American English) turn in your homework/​essay/​assignment/​paper study/​prepare/ (British English) revise/ (North American English) review/ (North American English, informal) cram for a test/​an exam take/ (both British English) do/​sit a test/​an exam (especially British English) mark/ (especially North American English) grade homework/​a test (British English) do well in/ (North American English) do well on/ (informal, especially North American English) ace a test/​an exam pass/​fail/ (informal, especially North American English) flunk a test/​an exam/​a class/​a course/​a subjectUniversity apply to/​get into/​go to/​start college/(British English) university leave/​graduate from law school/​college/(British English) university (with a degree in computer science) study for/​take/ (British English) do/​complete a law degree/​a degree in physics (both North American English) major/​minor in biology/​philosophy earn/​receive/​be awarded/​get/​have/​hold a master’s degree/​a bachelor’s degree/​a PhD in economics Wordfindercandidate, exam, grade, invigilate, mark, oral, paper, practical, resit, revise CultureexamsGreater emphasis is placed on examination results in Britain than in many other countries. Most universities and employers still rely mainly on exam results for evidence of a person's academic ability.Children in England complete National Curriculum Tests, (still sometimes called by their former name, standard assessment tasks or SATs) at ages 7 and 11 as part of the National Curriculum. These tests are set nationally and results can be compared across the country. In a very few areas children take an eleven-plus exam to decide where they will go for their secondary education.In secondary schools exams are usually held at the end of each school year to assess students' progress. The most important exams are the national GCSE exams that children take at 16. Schools are free to choose which of several examination boards they use to set and mark GCSE exams. Exams are marked on a seven-point scale, A to G, with an additional grade, A*, being awarded to those who reach the highest standard and U for 'unclassified'. Final grades may also be based on continuous assessment, i.e. marks gained for essays and project work during the course, as well as on a student's performance in the exam. Many students take GCSE exams in seven or eight subjects, sometimes more. Diploma exams offer an alternative to GCSE and A level exams and are based on more practical work as preparation for particular jobs.BTECs (Business and Technician Education Council) and NVQs(National Vocational Qualifications) are other less academic alternatives to GCSEs and A levels.Students who do well in their GCSEs usually go on to take A level exams two years later. Exams are marked on a five-point scale, A to E, with an additional grade, A*, and U for ‘unclassified’, as at GCSE. Most study four or five subjects at AS level in the first year and then three at A2 level in the second year. They must achieve reasonably high grades in order to be offered a place at university.In Scotland students sit Scottish Qualifications Certificate exams which, at Standard Grade, are the equivalent of GCSEs. The highest grade is A. A year later students take the higher grade, Highers. After a further year some students take Advanced Highers.Students from other countries who wish to study at university in Britain must show a knowledge of English and the most common test for this purpose is an IELTS test.At university students work towards a degree, and most courses end in a series of exams called finals. Many take an honours degree which is awarded in one of several classes (= grades). The highest class is a first. The second class is often split between upper second and lower second (a 2:1 and a 2:2), and below that is the third class. If a student does not meet the standard for an honours degree, he or she may be awarded a pass degree.In the US there are no national exams like those in Britain. Students at school and university usually take one or more exams as part of their grade assessment (= a mark from A to E or F showing how well they have done) for each class. At colleges and universities these exams are often called midterms or finals, and during the year students have exams in all or most of their classes.People who wish to study at a US university usually have to take one of several standardized tests. Students going to university for the first time may take the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or the ACT (American College Test). People who want to do a higher degree may take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), LSAT (Law School Admission Test) or MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), depending on what they want to study. Students from other countries must usually show a knowledge of English and the most common test for this purpose is the TOEFL (= Test of English as a Foreign Language). Standardized tests often do not test how much people know about a subject, but how strong their skills are in areas like reading and solving problems. People do not pass or fail but instead each college or university decides on the lowest score it will accept. Test scores are never the only factor to be considered in deciding whether to offer a place to a student.Some professions require people to pass special exams before they are qualified to practise. Lawyers in the US, for example, must pass the bar exam in the state in which they wish to work, to show that they know the laws of that state. See related entries: Exams and assessment, Teaching and learning, Exams and degrees
  2. 2  (North American English) a medical test of a particular part of the body an eye exam
  3. Extra examples As soon as the exams are over I’m going on holiday. Candidates found cheating in any exam will be disqualified from all their exams. Candidates found cheating in/​on any exam will be disqualified. Girls are doing better than boys in every school exam. He did badly in his history exam. I can’t go out because I’m revising for end of year exams. I did badly in the mock exam but passed the real thing. I had an eye exam. I just finished my last law school exam. I want to do well in my exams. I wrote two awful essays and was lucky to scrape through the exam. In spite of her worries, she passed the exam with flying colours. Most students suffer from exam nerves to some extent. She performed a thorough exam and didn’t find anything unusual. The doctor will then perform a physical exam on the child. The exam format has been changed to include multiple choice questions. The final exam is set by a board of professors. The follow-up exams showed the baby was healthy. The midterm exams are coming up. The regional exam boards all get together regularly to ensure equal standards. The regional exam boards try to ensure equal standards. There is a subdued atmosphere in the school at exam time. We had an English exam on this play. We had to study to do well on the exam. When do you sit your final exams? You should have a clinical breast exam every year. a Master’s program’s comprehensive exam an exam for nurses an exam for school leavers an exam in chemistry an ultrasound exam of the baby students who passed the national teacher certification exam the California high-school exit exam the New York state bar exam A lot of students suffer from exam nerves. He’s practising hard for his piano exam. I got my exam grades/​scores today. She did well in her exams. to grade an exam
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: exam

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