An exit exam or exit examination is a test a student may be required to take in order to show proficiency in a class, in a major subject in college, or as in the case with high school to exhibit basic proficiency in math and English to gain a high school diploma. When you search for exit exam information on the Internet, you will find the subject mainly discussed in context of this last definition. This is especially true in regards to the California high school exit exam (CAHSEE), which is now a graduation requirement of all high school students in the state. Other schools, states and countries may also require exit tests for students to make sure no students graduate or move on to other course without proving they have mastered what they have studied.
Sometimes exit exams are highly standardized as in the case with the CAHSEE. Other times, especially in the college setting, an exit exam may be composed by teachers and made for specific students studying in a certain area. Some people in Master’s programs, for instance, might not have to write a thesis and are able to take an exam option to receive their degree. In this case, they may need to take a written examination to prove competency in their major, and take an oral exam too.
In other instances a college may require that all students planning to graduate with a bachelor’s degree take an exit exam. Often colleges test written proficiency a year or two before students graduate. If they are unsuccessful in writing a few five-paragraph essays, they may need to take a remedial course or two to improve their writing. Trade and professional schools may require exit tests, especially if they offer certification. Students may need to pass these tests prior to getting licensure or certification in a given subject.
Exit exams are primarily a means of helping students who may not be fully prepared to pass a class, graduate high school or college, or work in their chosen field. Many of them are general and non-specific tests that merely look for writing skills and fundamental math skills. Unless these areas pose problems for you, you might not need to study for these generalized knowledge tests. On the other hand, exit exams that evaluate skills in a certain field can require tons of study, since they are often very specific and require significant knowledge of your field.