“Exam” is a 19th-century student slang term for examination. An exam is often given in class and comprises questions designed to assess a student’s knowledge. A test can be given verbally, in writing, on a computer, or in a specific location where the test taker must present a set of skills.

The style, complexity, and criteria of exams differ. There is no universal agreement or standard regarding test format and difficulty. The format and complexity of the exam are determined by the instructor’s teaching style, topic content, class size, academic institution, or governing body’s criteria.

An exam might be given professionally or informally. A reading test conducted by a parent to a kid is an example of an informal test. A formal test could be a semester examination conducted by a professor in a classroom.

Sometimes the term refers to a medical examination of some form, such as an eye exam, a dental exam, or a physical exam. These tests are not intended to measure knowledge or competence, but rather to detect or rule out diseases.