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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XV. Education

§ 23. Examinations at Cambridge

But these statutory courses and exercises fail to give a picture of university education at that date. In the first place, the educational system of the colleges frequently ensured that the forms were not empty. Thus, at St. John’s college, Cambridge, in 1694, a candidate for the B.A. degree was examined by two fellows of his college during three days in rhetoric, ethics, physics and astronomy; the three days’ examination in the “schools” and “answering questions,” exercises before the university at a later stage, were merely formal. Bentley, in 1702, introduced written examinations for scholarships and fellowships at Trinity college, and, twelve years later, we read of “a full examination including two days of book-work in classical literature for fellowships at Merton College, Oxford.”