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Examen vs. Examine — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Updated on March 13, 2024
"Examen" is a term that often refers to a test or examination, while "examine" is a verb meaning to inspect or scrutinize closely.
Examen vs. Examine — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Examen and Examine


Key Differences

"Examen" typically relates to a formal test or assessment, usually in an academic or professional context. It's used to evaluate knowledge, skills, or abilities in a particular subject or field. On the other hand, "examine" involves the act of looking at something closely and carefully to gain information, make a diagnosis, or understand something better.
An "examen" can take various forms, such as written tests, oral quizzes, practical demonstrations, or even digital assessments, depending on the context and the objectives of the evaluation. The process of examining is inherently more about the methodical and detailed scrutiny of something rather than the assessment itself.
While "examen" is focused on the structured evaluation or testing within a formal setting, "examine" emphasizes the process and action of investigation and inspection. The former is more about the event or tool used for assessment, and the latter describes an action performed by someone seeking to uncover information, understand a situation, or make an evaluation.
In terms of usage, "examen" is more commonly used in non-English speaking countries, especially in contexts where Romance languages are prevalent, as it aligns with their word for examination or test. "Examine," however, is widely used in English-speaking contexts and carries a broader application beyond academic or formal assessments, extending to everyday situations where observation and scrutiny are required.
The distinction between the two also extends to their grammatical roles; "examen" is a noun, referring to a thing - the test or assessment itself, while "examine" is a verb, denoting the action of inspecting or scrutinizing something closely.

Comparison Chart


A test or assessment in an academic or professional context.
The act of inspecting or scrutinizing something closely.


Academic, professional assessments.
Medical, mechanical, legal, academic, among others.


Noun; refers to an event or tool for evaluation.
Verb; denotes the action of investigation or inspection.


More common in non-English speaking countries, especially where Romance languages are prevalent.
Widely used in English-speaking contexts across various situations.


Evaluating knowledge, skills, or abilities.
Seeking information, making a diagnosis, understanding content.

Compare with Definitions


A formal test or assessment in an educational setting.
The final examen in mathematics was challenging for many students.


Can be applied in medical contexts to assess health.
The doctor examined the patient to diagnose the issue.


Often associated with academic or professional certification.
Passing the medical board examen is a crucial step for aspiring doctors.


Involves detailed scrutiny or analysis.
The scientist examined the samples under a microscope.


May require preparation and study.
She spent weeks preparing for her law school entrance examen.


To inspect something closely to gain information.
The detective examined the scene for any clues.


Can be written, oral, or practical, depending on the subject.
The driving examen included both a written test and a practical demonstration.


Also used in academic research and analysis.
The thesis examined the impact of social media on youth.


Used to evaluate understanding or proficiency.
The language examen tested both written and spoken proficiency.


Essential in quality control processes.
Each product is carefully examined before shipment.


An examination; an investigation.


To observe carefully or critically; inspect
Examined the room for clues.


(obsolete) examination; inquiry


To study or analyze
Examine a tissue sample under a microscope.
Examine the structure of a novel.
Examine one's own motives.


Examination; inquiry.


To test or check the condition or health of
Examine a patient.


Examination of conscience (as done daily by Jesuits)


To determine the qualifications, aptitude, or skills of by means of questions or exercises
Students are examined with standardized tests.


A critical study (as of a writer's work)


To question formally, as to elicit facts or information; interrogate
Examine a witness under oath.


To observe or inspect carefully or critically
He examined the crime scene for clues.
She examined the hair sample under a microscope.


To check the health or condition of something or someone
The doctor examined the patient.


To determine the aptitude, skills or qualifications of someone by subjecting them to an examination


To interrogate
The witness was examined under oath.


To test by any appropriate method; to inspect carefully with a view to discover the real character or state of; to subject to inquiry or inspection of particulars for the purpose of obtaining a fuller insight into the subject of examination, as a material substance, a fact, a reason, a cause, the truth of a statement; to inquire or search into; to explore; as, to examine a mineral; to examine a ship to know whether she is seaworthy; to examine a proposition, theory, or question.
Examine well your own thoughts.
Examine their counsels and their cares.


To interrogate as in a judicial proceeding; to try or test by question; as, to examine a witness in order to elicit testimony, a student to test his qualifications, a bankrupt touching the state of his property, etc.
The offenders that are to be examined.


Consider in detail and subject to an analysis in order to discover essential features or meaning;
Analyze a sonnet by Shakespeare
Analyze the evidence in a criminal trial
Analyze your real motives


Observe, check out, and look over carefully or inspect;
The customs agent examined the baggage
I must see your passport before you can enter the country


Question or examine thoroughly and closely


Question closely


Put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to;
This approach has been tried with good results
Test this recipe

Common Curiosities

Can an examen be oral?

Yes, an examen can be oral, especially in contexts where verbal skills and knowledge need to be assessed, such as language proficiency tests.

What is the primary purpose of an examen?

The primary purpose of an examen is to formally assess knowledge, skills, or proficiency in a specific area or subject through a structured test.

How does one typically prepare for an examen?

Preparation for an examen typically involves studying the relevant material, understanding the format of the test, and practicing with similar questions or problems.

What does it mean to examine a patient?

To examine a patient means to conduct a thorough inspection and analysis of their physical condition to diagnose any health issues or monitor ongoing treatments.

Is an examen always conducted in person?

An examen is not always conducted in person; it can also be administered online or through other digital means, especially in situations that require remote assessment.

Can examining involve the use of tools or instruments?

Yes, examining can involve the use of tools or instruments, such as microscopes in science or diagnostic equipment in medicine, to enhance the scrutiny and analysis.

How is examining used in scientific research?

In scientific research, examining involves a detailed investigation and analysis of data, samples, or phenomena to draw conclusions or advance knowledge in a specific field.

How do cultural or linguistic differences affect the understanding of "examen"?

Cultural or linguistic differences can affect the understanding of "examen," as it may be more commonly used in certain languages or regions to refer specifically to academic or professional tests.

How can the outcome of an examen impact an individual's career or academic path?

The outcome of an examen can significantly impact an individual's career or academic path by determining eligibility for further education, professional certification, or job opportunities.

What skills are necessary for effectively examining something?

Effectively examining something requires skills such as attention to detail, analytical thinking, and in some cases, technical knowledge to use specific tools or methods.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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