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The way we were: Pens down, please

Extracts from diaries and writings on exams

By Ian Irvine   May 2012

The Exam Room by Cyril Edward Power (1934)

John Henry Newman writes to his friend Walter Mayers about his final examinations at Oxford, January 1821:

“My failure was most remarkable. I will grant I was unwell, low-spirited, and very imperfect in my books; yet, when in the Schools, so great a depression came on me, that I could do nothing. I was nervous in the extreme, a thing I never before experienced, and did not expect—my memory was gone, my mind altogether confused. The examiners behaved with great kindness to me, but nothing would do. I dragged a sickly examination…

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