A cumulative exam examines all of the material covered since the start of the term. The term “cumulative” denotes the outcome of a steady increase in quantity through repeated additions. All of the topics are covered in a cumulative exam because they build on one another.
In the world of education, final exams are typically divided into two categories: cumulative tests and last-unit exams. By definition, last-unit tests cover less information, yet they do not reflect what the student has learned during the term.
A student who does satisfactorily on a cumulative final has achieved the objective of most courses, which is for them to build upon the material they have learned and successfully retain it.