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.

Primary Meanings of examination

the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
the act of giving students or candidates a test (as by questions) to determine what they know or have learned
Full Definitions of examination

n the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)

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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, 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

n formal systematic questioning

interrogation, interrogatory
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a series of question put to an individual (such as a political candidate) 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

n a detailed inspection of your conscience (as done daily by Jesuits)

Type of:
introspection, self-contemplation, self-examination
the contemplation of your own thoughts and desires and conduct

n the act of giving students or candidates a test (as by questions) to determine what they know or have learned

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

n a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge

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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