What Is a Cumulative Exam?

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.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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