An examination (exam) is a test. Many things may be examined, but the word is most often used for an assessment of a person. It measures a test-takers knowledge, skill, aptitude or ability or standing in some other topic. It is a set of questions designed to measure those things. Examinations change and evolve. They have been used since ancient times.
In its widest sense, to examine is to look at something very carefully, perhaps to find the cause of a problem. Someone who is ill may need to go to a doctor for a medical examination. A mechanic may examine a machine to find why it is not working properly.
In education an examination is a test to show the knowledge and ability of a student. A student who takes an examination is a candidate. The person who decides how well the student has performed is the examiner. An examination may be a written test, an on-screen test or a practical test. Examples of a practical test may be: driving a car, speaking a language, playing a musical instrument and doing a scientific experiment. An on-screen test is a test which uses the computer.
Examination is a test of what one has learnt in the past. It tries to find out the depth of knowledge of the examinee through an organized test. It helps one to recapitulate his depth of knowledge. It is not always true that by an examination one’s actual merit or demerit can be judged, because the system being a screening medium, everything cannot be correctly ascertained from a candidate’s answers, just by putting a few selected questions in the test. Success or failure in examinations is known as the common standard of judging one’s merit; but how far it is true is matter of doubt. Written tests are mostly for evaluating knowledge-based learning outcomes. However, they may also test skills or attitudes. They are part of the overall evaluation plan for students. Test questions may be open-ended, requiring answers in the form of an essay or short statements in the students’ own words. These reveal the students’ learning but also test their ability to express their thoughts in written English. They are also very time-consuming to mark. Test questions that reduce marking time may be short answer, true/false, multiple-choice or matching. The type of question to use depends on what types of information you wish to test.