When you’re doing a test and you see a tough question, and you want to tell someone else about it later on, would you say that question was “on the test” or “in the test”? This article will explain which one is correct and what the difference between both prepositions is.
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Both “On the test” and “In the test” can be used to talk about the contents of any given test. While there are differences in general regional usage of both phrases, they both see comparable use, and one is not definitely superior to the other.
You may use “On the test” and “In the test” interchangeably because both are extremely popular ways of referring to the same thing.
“On the test” is the phrase you use to talk about something, be it a question, or a data point, or a problem, that is written on some form of test.
You use the preposition “On” because a test is generally going to be some form of sheet of paper, and you consider the questions and problems to be “on” the test itself, in the same way that a cup can be “on” a table.
Here are some example sentences that will easily showcase the proper way to use “On the test”:
- That final question on the chemistry test was ridiculously difficult.
- On the test you’ll find only four questions, but you will have to develop each answer thoroughly.
- I was thinking that maybe she should have more space to develop her ideas on the test.
- He had not looked at what he had actually written on the test, which was a little nonsensical.
- Does anyone else think that the math problems on the test are actually really easy?
- When you look at what I’ve written on the test, I think I defend my ideas fairly well.
- On the test there’s a bonus question that I’ve purposefully made really hard to answer.
“In the test” is a phrase that is used to refer to something, either a question or a graph or a similar object, that comes from a test.
The preposition “In” is used in this case because whatever it is you’re talking about is contained within a test or inside a test, and therefore the preposition “In” can be utilized to talk about whatever it is you’re talking about.
Here are a few example sentences that will teach you the proper way to use “In the test” in a sentence:
- Will today’s class still be included in the test?
- I don’t think that graph should have been in the test in the first place.
- In the test you will find several clues that should lead you to an extra question.
- I wasn’t sure about what to write in the test but my studying did pay off in the end.
- In the test you had several options to achieve the highest score, and many of you did that exactly.
- I think if you see what I wrote in the test itself, you’ll agree with my perspective.
- Her position is that in the test you had many ways of solving the exam, so it was still fair.
According to information provided by the UK Google Ngram Viewer, “In the test” is the correct phrase to use in the United Kingdom.
The information showcases the fact that since at least the year 1900, “In the test” has been more popular than “On the test”, though since 2010 that gap has narrowed to be the smallest it’s ever been.
According to the data compiled by the US Google Ngram Viewer, by a very narrow margin, “In the test” is more popular than “On the test” in the United States.
The data compiled is very interesting, as it shows that since 1900, “In the test” has been more popular than “On the test” in the US.
However, since the year 2017, that gap has narrowed to become the smallest it’s ever been, and “On the test” could overtake “In the test” in the next few years.
You can use either “Did well on the test” or “Did well in the test” interchangeably. Because of the fact that both prepositions are similarly popular to use with regards to something being part of a test, you may use either of the expressions with little issue.
Here are a couple of examples, one of each form:
- I don’t think I did well on the test that we took last night.
- Do you think you did well in the test from last week?