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  1. #1
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    Default Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    This site has got the Cambridge Proficiency exam from 1913:

    What would you do… if you had to sit this exam? ę one year

    It's worth a look to see what they were testing in those days.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    Fascinating. I particularly liked " Embody each of the following words in a sentence, in such a way as to shew that you clearly apprehend its meaning":


    You mightalso be interested in questions that native speakers were dealing with a few years earlier.

    London University Matriculation Examinations

    1. Account for the letters in italics in - nam
    e, these, those, passenger, sovereign, wettest, cities, potatoes, sceptre, sceptic, handiwork, righteous, tomb, could, our.(1879)

    2. What was the ancient form of the Feminine Gender? What traces remain of it? How has it been supplanted? Discuss the meaning an origin of the termination
    -ster (1879)

    3. Classify the pronouns. (1879)


    4. Trace as fully as you can the history of the inflexions of
    thou, and of he, she , it, in singular and plural (1880)

    5. Distinguish between Syntax and Prosody. Define
    a perfect rhyme.(1880)

    6. Discuss the words italicised in the folloowing:-

    'Long ago we were wont to let plain living accompany high thinking.'
    'Methinks you might have spoken, but you durst not.' (1881)

    7. Parse must in 'He says he
    must go' and 'He said he must go,' and mention some other words that are similarly unchanged. What do you know of the verbs quoth and wot? (1887)

    8. Derive the following county names:
    Middlesex, Northumberland, Cornwall, Durham. Hampshire, Surrey.

    College of Preceptors Senior Certificate:


    1.
    Analyse into clauses only, naming in each case the kind of clause, and showing the way in which the different clauses are related:-

    ............................To bleed for others' wrongs
    In vindication of a cause, to draw
    The sword of the Lord and Gideon - oh, that seems
    The flower and top of life! But fight because
    Some poor misconstruing Trifler haps to say
    I lie, when I do not lie,
    Why should I? Call you this a cause? I can't.
    Oh, he is wrong, no doubt; he misbehaves -
    But is it worth so much as speaking loud ?
    And things so merely personal to myself
    Of all earth's things do least affect myself.

    2. Parse the words italicised in the above passage. (1903)


  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    I wonder what they would make of our exams- I think that while Proficiency may test very different things, it is still a testing exam.

  4. #4
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    Unhappy Re: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    Shame, I can't open it. I sat the exam in '76 and would have liked to compare.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    I've just tried the link and it's working.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    I finally gained access through Google and then searched the site till I found the article. (The link still doesnít work for me, nor typing out the url for the home site. Go figure.)

    Itís very interesting, and pretty different from the 1970iesí exams. Students in 1913 were expected to explain or justify their choices. Scary! Very often you just go by the ear, whether in your native language or a foreign one, and explaining things like this in an examÖ well, I never had to do it before I went to teachersí training college. As to the essays, the examinees (if thatís a word, lol) were expected to have an ample cultural background. In my time we were given the chance to use our imagination and write fiction. Iím not sure Iíd heard about the Pre-Raffaelites when I was 17! Also, in the 70ís we didnít take phonetics in secondary school.
    There were some interesting remarks below. And to think I and my university lecturer friend often rant about how ignorant todayís kids are and how educational standards have significantly dropped since our time! Gives food for thought.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough

    I was surprised by the amount of phonetics there, but without tapes it makes sense. I would not like to have to write any of the essays.

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