I. test 1 S1 W1 /test/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: 'pot for testing metals' , from Latin testum 'clay pot' ]
1 . EXAM a set of questions, exercises, or practical activities to measure someone’s skill, ability, or knowledge
We have a test on irregular verbs tomorrow.
Did you get a good mark in the test ?
► You take or do a test. Do not say ‘make a test’. To pass a test means to succeed in it, not simply to take it.
2 . MEDICAL
a) a medical examination on a part of your body, or a substance taken from your body, to check your health or to discover what is wrong with you:
The doctor said I needed to have a blood test.
an eye test
a hearing test
I’m still waiting for my test results from the hospital.
do/run a test
They don’t know what’s wrong with her yet – they’re doing tests.
a test is positive/negative (=it shows that someone has/does not have a condition, a substance in their blood etc)
The tests were negative and the doctor said that she was in perfect health.
a test for HIV
b) an examination of someone’s blood, breath etc carried out by the police, to discover if they have done something illegal:
a drugs test
The results of the DNA test proved that Simmons was the rapist.
breath test (=to find out if someone has been drinking alcohol before driving a car)
c) a piece of equipment used for carrying out a medical examination:
a pregnancy test
3 . MACHINE/PRODUCT a process used to discover whether equipment or a product works correctly, or to discover more about it:
nuclear weapons tests
a test for chemicals in the water
Laboratory tests show that the new drug is very effective.
We went to the test site in Nevada.
4 . DIFFICULT SITUATION a difficult situation in which the qualities of someone or something are clearly shown:
Chess player Nigel Short faces Anatoly Karpov in the toughest test of his career so far.
test of character/strength/courage/endurance etc
The problems she faced were a real test of character.
5 . put somebody/something to the test to force someone or something into a difficult situation in order to discover what the limits of their strength, skills etc are:
Living together will soon put their relationship to the test.
Paul soon found himself in an emergency situation that put all his training to the test.
6 . SPORT British English a ↑ test match
⇨ ↑ smear test , ↑ means test , ⇨ stand the test of time at ↑ stand 1 (8), ⇨ the acid test at ↑ acid 2 (3)
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
▪ take a test ( also do/sit a test British English )
All candidates have to take a test.
▪ pass a test (=succeed in it)
She passed her driving test first time.
▪ fail a test ( also flunk a test American English informal )
He failed the test and had to take it again.
▪ do well/badly in a test British English , do well/badly on a test American English
I didn’t do very well in the first part of the test.
▪ give somebody a test
The students were given a reading test.
▪ grade a test ( also mark a test British English )
I spent the day marking tests.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + test
▪ a biology/history etc test
On Monday we had a French test.
▪ a spelling/reading/listening test
I didn’t do very well in the listening test.
▪ a driving test
A driving test can be a nerve-racking experience.
▪ a written test
Selection was based on written tests in English and mathematics.
▪ a multiple choice test (=in which each question has a list of answers to choose from)
There is some debate about whether multiple-choice tests are a good way of assessing student’s knowledge.
▪ an aptitude test (=a test that measures your natural abilities)
▪ an oral test
The oral test will consist of a conversation of about 10 minutes in German.
■ test + NOUN
▪ a test paper
The teacher began handing out the test papers.
▪ a test result/score
The test results are out on Friday.
▪ a test question
Some of the test questions were really difficult.
■ COMMON ERRORS
► Do not say ' make a test '. Say take a test or do a test .
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 2 & 3)
▪ do/carry out a test ( also perform/conduct a test formal )
Your doctor will need to carry out some tests.
▪ have a test ( also undergo a test formal ) (=be tested)
She had to have a blood test.
▪ go for a test
I’m going for an eye test next week.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + test
▪ positive (=showing that someone has a condition)
My first pregnancy test was positive.
▪ negative (=showing that someone does not have a condition)
All the tests came back negative.
▪ a blood test
A blood test revealed his alcohol level was above the legal limit.
▪ an eye test/a sight test
All children starting school are given a sight test.
▪ a hearing test
I went for a hearing test last week.
▪ a fitness test
Walcott will have a fitness test this morning to decide whether he can play.
▪ a pregnancy test (=to find out if someone is pregnant)
▪ a drug test (=to find out if someone has taken drugs)
Two athletes were banned from competing after failing drug tests.
▪ a breath test (=to find out if someone has drunk alcohol)
Some people think the police should be able to carry out random breath tests.
▪ laboratory tests
Independent laboratory tests have confirmed that the product works very successfully.
▪ a simple test
Your doctor can give you a simple blood test to check for anaemia.
■ test + NOUN
▪ test results
The test results showed that she had meningitis.
▪ a test site (=a place where something can be tested)
A nuclear device was detonated at the Trinity test site in New Mexico, on July 16, 1945.
• • •
▪ test a set of questions or practical activities, which are intended to find out how much someone knows about a subject or skill:
I have a chemistry test tomorrow.
Did Lauren pass her driving test?
▪ exam ( also examination formal ) an important test that you do at the end of a course of study or class or at the end of the school year:
He’s upstairs, revising for an exam.
When do you get your exam results?
There’s a written examination at the end of the course.
▪ quiz American English a quick test that a teacher gives to a class, usually to check that students are learning the things they should be learning:
We have a math quiz every Monday.
a pop quiz (=a quiz given by a teacher without any warning)
▪ finals British English the last exams that you take at the end of a British university course:
During my finals I was revising till 3 o'clock in the morning most days.
▪ final American English an important test that you take at the end of a particular class in high school or college:
The English final was pretty hard.
▪ midterm American English an important test that you take in the middle of a term, covering what you have learned in a particular class in high school or college:
He did badly in the midterm.
▪ oral exam ( also oral British English ) an exam in which you answer questions by speaking, instead of writing, for example to test how good you are at speaking a foreign language:
Nicky got an A in her Spanish oral.
You can either take an oral exam or do a 25 page essay.
▪ practical British English an exam that tests your ability to do or make things, rather than your ability to write about them:
The chemistry practical is on Monday.
▪ mocks/mock exams British English informal tests that you take as practice before the official examinations:
She did well in the mocks.
▪ paper British English a set of printed questions used as an examination in a particular subject, or the answers people write:
The history paper was really difficult.
The papers are marked by the other teachers.
II. test 2 S3 W2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]
1 . MEDICAL
to examine someone’s blood, body etc in order to find out what is wrong with them, or to see if they have taken an illegal drug:
I must have my eyes tested.
test somebody for something
They tested her for diabetes.
test positive/negative (for something)
Athletes who test positive for steroids are immediately banned.
2 . SUBSTANCE to examine a substance or thing in order to find out its qualities or what it contains
test (something) for something
The water should be tested for lead.
3 . KNOWLEDGE/ABILITY to ask someone spoken or written questions, or make them do a practical activity, to discover what they know about a subject:
This task is designed to test your reading skills
test somebody on something
We’re being tested on grammar tomorrow.
4 . MACHINE/PRODUCT ( also test out ) to use something for a short time to see if it works in the correct way:
The Ferrari team wanted to test their new car out on the racetrack.
test something on somebody/something
None of this range of cosmetics has been tested on animals.
5 . SHOW HOW GOOD/STRONG to show how good or strong someone or something is, especially by putting them in a difficult situation:
a game that will test the contestants’ strength and skill
The next six months will test your powers of leadership.
I felt that she was testing me, leaving all that cash lying around.
⇨ ↑ testing
6 . IDEA/PLAN ( also test out ) to start to use an idea or plan to find out if it is correct or effective:
Dr Lee set up a series of experiments to test out this hypothesis.
test something against something
The theory was then tested against the results of the study.
7 . test the water/waters to check people’s reaction to a plan before you decide to use it:
The government is clearly testing the water, to gauge the country’s reactions to their proposals.
⇨ tried and tested at ↑ tried 2
• • •
▪ check to look at something carefully and thoroughly in order to make sure that it is correct, safe, or working properly:
I’ll just check the water level in the battery.
The immigration officer checked their passports.
We need to check the building for structural damage.
▪ examine to look at something carefully and thoroughly because you want to find out something about it:
Experts who examined the painting believe it is genuine.
The police will examine the weapon for fingerprints.
▪ inspect to look at something carefully and thoroughly in order to make sure that it is correct, safe, or working properly, especially when it is your job to do this:
The building is regularly inspected by a fire-safety officer.
Some insurance people have already been here to inspect the damage caused by the storm.
▪ go through something to examine something such as a document or plan from beginning to end, especially in order to check that it is correct:
You should go through the contract before you sign.
I’ve finished my essay, but I just need to go through it to check for spelling mistakes.
▪ double-check to check something again so that you are completely sure it is correct, safe, or working properly:
I double-checked all my calculations and they seemed fine.
Travellers should double-check flight information before setting off today.
▪ test to examine or use something in order to find out whether it works or what its qualities are, or in order to check that it is satisfactory:
Test your brakes to check they are working correctly.
These products have not been tested on animals.
▪ monitor to carefully watch or keep checking someone or something in order to see what happens over a period of time:
Doctors monitored her progress during the night.
Observers have been monitoring the situation in Burma closely.