Difference between Test and Exam | Test vs Exam

All of us have heard our teachers or parents using the terms ‘test’ and ‘exam’ very frequently. Have you ever thought what the difference between these two terms is? This article will talk about all the essential aspects that will help students understand the difference between these two words and make sure that they can use them in the proper contexts. These types of words are considered to be tricky in the English Language, and one can find the differences between these tricky words at our BYJU’S website. The following sections will be covered under this article.

Table Summarising the Difference between Test and Exam

Test Exam
Meaning Test refers to the process carried out to make sure of the performance or the quality of some application/product before applying it on a large scale basis. A formal procedure to check performance or quality or skill.
Usage Can be used both as nouns and verbs. Used only as a noun.
Example The teacher announced a surprise test for all. I need to pass the physical exam to get the job.

If students go through the above table, they will notice what makes ‘test’ different from ‘exam’. One has to understand the meanings of both the words; only then can one use them appropriately.

The Difference between Test and Exam – Meanings

The words ‘test’ and ‘exam’ can be considered to be synonymous and can be used interchangeably. Both are basically forms of assessing skills or knowledge or specimen. One can differentiate between these two terms based on the contexts they are used for. Tests are a much more simplified process, whereas exams are an extensive process that is used to reach a final conclusion or result. The term ‘test’ can be used both as nouns and verbs, for example, ‘The teacher took the surprise test to evaluate the students’ performance.’ Here, ‘test’ is used as a noun. Another example is ‘All the people were tested positive for Covid.’  Here, the word ‘test’ is used as a verb, whereas the word ‘exam’ can only be used as a noun, for example, ‘Sameera has prepared well for the final exams.’

Examples for Test and Exam

The following examples will help students to better understand the terms ‘exam’ and ‘test’:

Exam – We have our final exams in March.

Test – Sandra fared well in the test.

Test mostly refers to an assessment at a small level whereas, an exam is concerned about assessing how much of knowledge has been acquired by someone or whether the applied knowledge has been acquired successfully or not.

Test and Exam – Conclusion

To sum up, ‘exam’ and ‘test’ are synonymous in nature and can be used interchangeably. One can use these two words interchangeably depending on the context. This article walks one through the essential points that help us understand how to use these two terms appropriately. BYJU’S offers many such ‘Difference Between’ two words that people often get confused with.


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