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Here's the test: We hope you will be able to pass the __________ examination (speak).

I'm confused with those two words: "spoken exam" and "speaking exam". I know they say "spoken English exam" and "speaking exam". But I'd like to ask if people will ever use the phrase "spoken exam" or not.I've already ask people on forum.wordreference.com and they chose "spoken", but I want to check once more time. Please give out your opinion and by the way, it would be great if you could show any reliabe source (so I can show it for my teacher).

Thanks you for reading.

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Typically this would be an "oral" exam.

The oral exam (also oral test or viva voce) is a practice in many schools and disciplines, where an examiner poses questions to the student in spoken form. The student has to answer the question in such a way as to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the subject in order to pass the exam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_exam

However, "speaking exam" appears to be gaining momentum.

  • Thanks for your opinion. I'm sorry for not be able to vote you up (due to my lack of reputation :() – DearMyLove Nov 20 '14 at 13:03
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I don't think either "spoken exam" or "speaking exam" is a commonly-used term.

If I heard or read "speaking exam", I would understand this to mean a test of your ability to speak -- perhaps to speak a new language you are learning, or to have good poise and diction when speaking in general, or maybe testing how well you are overcoming a speech impediment like stuttering.

I'd assume "spoken exam" meant a test where the questions, and probably the answers, are spoken rather than written. But it wouldn't necessarily be a test of your ability to speak well. The conventional term for this is "oral exam" rather than "spoken exam". Sometimes an oral exam is given when the person being tested does not know how to read and write, or is unable to read and write because he is blind or some such. Oral exams are also used to test someone's ability to "think on his feet", that is, to see if he can give answers without having to sit and think about it for a while. And it is very difficult to cheat when taking an oral exam.

  • Spoken/Speaking..to my mind gives a first impression of a test of one's ability to speak..I concede that i was surprised to find a lot of people endorsing it. – Manish Nov 20 '14 at 15:35
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A speaking exam is one in which you are required to speak your answers. This is also called an oral exam.

Oral means 'relating to your mouth'. It also describes things that involve speaking rather than writing.

i.e. "an oral test in German"

On the other hand, a spoken exam is one in which the questions are spoken to you and must be received by listening. This is also called an aural exam.

Aural means 'relating to your ears and your sense of hearing'.

i.e. "I have used written and aural material."


Both aural and oral are fairly formal words. They are used mainly to talk about teaching methods and examinations.

Source for all: Collins COBUILD English Usage from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/aural


In conclusion, if you need to be formal, best to use oral.

  • "On the other hand, a spoken exam is one in which the questions are spoken to you and must be received by listening. This is also called an aural exam." May I ask where you get this information, please? – DearMyLove Nov 20 '14 at 13:02
  • Yes, as stated in the post, the source for all my information is the Collins dictionary of English usage as found at thefreedictionary.com/aural . Furthermore, back in my day, we always called exams either oral or aural, if they were such, as opposed to spoken or speaking. – Charon Nov 20 '14 at 13:05
  • I'm sorry, but I can't find any proof shows that spoken exam is also called an aural exam in the website. – DearMyLove Nov 20 '14 at 13:18
  • Look at these two quotes: "Both aural and oral are fairly formal words. They are used mainly to talk about teaching methods and examinations." "I have used written and aural material." So they give an oral exam as an example, and then say that aural is also used to describe exams - therefore, one would call it an aural exam. It is explicit. Moreover, they then give another example, mentioning 'aural material'. Examination content is called material and so this exmaple also relates to exams, aural exams. I mean look at the first quote in this comment; what else could that possibly mean?? – Charon Nov 20 '14 at 13:24
  • Surely this is all the proof you need: "Both aural and oral are fairly formal words. They are used mainly to talk about teaching methods and examinations." What do you think that statement means, if not that one can call a spoken exam an aural exam? – Charon Nov 20 '14 at 13:27

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