As a student you take exams and a professors sets the question. So he is the one who is the authority on the exam. I am looking for a word which can be used in the following sentence-

Professor Charles ____________ three exams last month.

If I were to translate from my first language, I would use took, but this seems ambiguous because it is students who take exams. Other words that I thought of but am not sure about are gave, and set.

Which word should I use?

  • 3
    He conducts them.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 18:38
  • conducted for past tense but, @Stephie has it right. You could also use "gave". Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 18:45
  • 1
    You could also say "held". Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 18:49
  • 1
    I would use "gave"
    – John B
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 19:10
  • I feel "held" is probably the most natural word for this context. Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 23:45

2 Answers 2


Took is actually not ambiguous at all in the way you are thinking. It means the professor was the one answering the test questions, the role you'd expect his students to be in. The other meaning would be that he physically collected the exams from the students, but to clear that ambiguity, you can add "from the students" to your sentence.

Other common acceptable words are: gave, held, administered, or conducted.

Set would be understandable, but I personally haven't seen it in exactly this context.

  • I actually meant exactly what you said when I said ambiguous, Thanks for your answer, administered and conducted seems too heavy, I think I'm going to settle for gave
    – Rohcana
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 20:33
  • Also, I would like to add that administered is more commonly used with medical terminology, "administering a bandage" "administered first aid". Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 23:42

The verb "take" is used for students taking part in an exam. On the other hand, a teacher or professor gives an exam. So the correct sentence is:

Professor Charles gave three exams last month.

In British English, you can also use "set" instead of "gave".

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