The most familiar and unpleasant meaning of examination, known to students around the world, is a test of one's knowledge in a particular area — an exam, in short.

The original meaning of examination was considerably more spiritual — a test of one's conscience rather than a test of one's knowledge of algebra or French verbs. Any form of close inspection or analysis is an examination, not just a set of questions on a piece of paper. A doctor will give you an examination of your body if you're sick, and don't, for pity's sake, buy a used car without a careful examination under the hood. Kicking the tires just won't cut it.

Definitions of examination
  1. noun
    the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
    synonyms: scrutiny
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    a methodical examination or review of a condition or situation
    PM, autopsy, necropsy, post-mortem, post-mortem examination, postmortem, postmortem examination
    an examination and dissection of a dead body to determine cause of death or the changes produced by disease
    checkup, exam, health check, medical, medical checkup, medical exam, medical examination
    a thorough physical examination; includes a variety of tests depending on the age and sex and health of the person
    comparing, comparison
    the act of examining resemblances
    fine-tooth comb, fine-toothed comb
    a method of examining in minute detail
    follow-up, followup, reexamination, review
    a subsequent examination of a patient for the purpose of monitoring earlier treatment
    a careful and thorough inspection
    look-over, once-over
    a swift cursory examination or inspection
    examination of the interior of an eye using an ophthalmoscope
    palpation, tactual exploration
    a method of examination in which the examiner feels the size or shape or firmness or location of something (of body parts when the examiner is a health professional)
    visual examination of the interior of a hollow body organ by use of an endoscope
    an examination of the front part of the eye to check the angle where the iris meets the cornea; it is used to distinguish between open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma
    examination of the cornea with a keratoscope to detect irregularities in its anterior surface
    examination of the nasal passages (either through the anterior nares or with a rhinoscope through the nasopharynx)
    the act of scanning; systematic examination of a prescribed region
    boarding and inspecting a ship on the high seas
    study, survey
    a detailed critical inspection
    an examination of the characteristics of something
    motion study, time and motion study, time study, time-and-motion study, time-motion study, work study
    an analysis of a specific job in an effort to find the most efficient method in terms of time and effort
    inspection, review
    a formal or official examination
    bank examination
    an examination of the affairs and records of a bank by a state or federal bank examiner
    check, check-out procedure, checkout
    the act of inspecting or verifying
    a palpatory technique for feeling a floating object in the body (especially for determining the position of a fetus by feeling the rebound of the fetus after a quick digital tap on the wall of the uterus)
    endoscopic examination of the abdomen through the abdominal wall
    visual examination of the colon (with a colonoscope) from the cecum to the rectum; requires sedation
    endoscopic examination of a woman's pelvic organs by the insertion of a culdoscope through the vagina
    visual examination of the stomach by means of a gastroscope inserted through the esophagus
    visual examination of the uterus and uterine lining using an endoscope inserted through the vagina
    visual examination of the rectum and the end of the colon by means of a proctoscope
    flexible sigmoidoscopy, sigmoidoscopy
    visual examination (with a sigmoidoscope) of the lower third of the colon in a search for polyps
    testing objects or persons in order to identify those with particular characteristics
    the act of comparing similarities
    drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
    careful examination and comparison to note points of disagreement
    a focussed comparison; bringing together for a careful comparison
    the act of distinguishing by comparing differences
    a new survey or study
    type of:
    investigating, investigation
    the work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically
  2. noun
    a thorough physical examination; includes a variety of tests depending on the age and sex and health of the person
    synonyms: checkup, exam, health check, medical, medical checkup, medical exam, medical examination
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    type of:
    the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
  3. noun
    formal systematic questioning
    synonyms: interrogation, interrogatory
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    a series of questions put to an individual to elicit their views
    (law) a pretrial interrogation of a witness; usually conducted in a lawyer's office
    a severe interrogation (often violating the rights or privacy of individuals)
    third degree
    interrogation often accompanied by torture to extort information or a confession
    (law) close questioning of a hostile witness in a court of law to discredit or throw a new light on the testimony already provided in direct examination
    direct examination
    (law) the initial questioning of a witness by the party that called the witness
    redirect examination, reexamination
    (law) questioning of a witness by the party that called the witness after that witness has been subject to cross-examination
    the questioning of a person (or a conversation in which information is elicited); often conducted by journalists
    report of a mission or task
    employment interview, job interview
    an interview to determine whether an applicant is suitable for a position of employment
    telephone interview
    an interview conducted over the telephone
    type of:
    inquiring, questioning
    a request for information
  4. noun
    a detailed inspection of your conscience (as done daily by Jesuits)
    synonyms: examen
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    type of:
    introspection, self-contemplation, self-examination
    the contemplation of your own thoughts and desires and conduct
  5. noun
    the act of giving students or candidates a test (as by questions) to determine what they know or have learned
    synonyms: testing
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    11-plus, eleven-plus
    (formerly in Britain) an examination taken by 11 and 12 year old students to select suitable candidates for grammar school
    type of:
    investigating, investigation
    the work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically
  6. noun
    a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge
    synonyms: exam, test
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    bar exam, bar examination
    an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction
    comp, comprehensive, comprehensive examination
    an intensive examination testing a student's proficiency in some special field of knowledge
    entrance exam, entrance examination
    examination to determine a candidate's preparation for a course of studies
    final, final exam, final examination
    an examination administered at the end of an academic term
    litmus test
    a test that relies on a single indicator
    midterm, midterm exam, midterm examination
    an examination administered in the middle of an academic term
    oral, oral exam, oral examination, viva, viva voce
    an examination conducted by spoken communication
    prelim, preliminary exam, preliminary examination
    an examination taken by graduate students to determine their fitness to continue
    an examination consisting of a few short questions
    exam paper, examination paper, question sheet, test paper
    a written examination
    final honors degree examinations at Cambridge University
    pop quiz
    a quiz given without prior warning
    type of:
    communicating, communication
    the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information
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