It’s that time of year when countless students prepar to sit examinations of one kind or another: GCSEs, A Levels, end of year exams. My 12 year old grandson has just completed a week of intensive exams. He is relieved that is was all in one week, but I can’t remember doing anything like that at his age. Is he too young? Is it right that there is less course work and more formal testing?
Examinations were always a regular feature of College life. In 1854 students who failed their first year examinations had to re-sit. Typical examination questions included:
Geography: Explain the geographical allusion in Psalm cxxxvi 5; ‘Turn our captivity, O Lord,as the rivers of the South’.
Scripture: Give dates for the following events – The Deluge;The Passage of the Jordan;The Death of Abraham. Fortunately, arithmetic questions were more straightforward, such as – reduce fractions to their simplest form.
In the 1900s, students dreaded practical teaching exams known as ‘Major Day Crits’. Children were taken to the College from local Salisbury schools and the anxious students had to present a lesson in front of fellow student critics and a lecturer. After the lesson there was 30 minutes of critical discussion and assessment before the student was given a grade, which counted towards their final result. A treat at the end was a slice of a special ‘Major’ cake which must have tasted so good!.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the feeling of relief when exams are over- that is, until the results are published.