University entrance exam from 1895 baffles Twitter - but could you answer any of the questions?
1 November 2019, 11:42
A 100-year-old entrance exam for Trinity College Cambridge has left some people completely baffled.
The question paper taken from 1895 has gone viral on social media as it shows just how hard it was to get into uni in the 19th century.
Testing knowledge on English History between 1485 and 1815, the exam features 12 different questions.
Bizarrely, it advises students to attempt to answer no more than eight of them.
Oxford history professor William Whyte shared a photo on Twitter yesterday, and unsurprisingly it caused a serious debate online.
Entrance examination for Trinity College Cambridge 1895: history of England pic.twitter.com/JfNZbbMU4O— William Whyte (@william_whyte) October 29, 2019
Some questions included “giving your estimate on the foreign policy of Henry the Eighth before 1520”, and “illustrating the political importance of the Protestant Dissenters in the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Second”.
Replying to the Tweet, many people thought they would struggle to answer any of the exam questions.
One said: "This paper looks like you’d already need a degree in history to answer it."
While another simply replied: "Good grief," and a third added: "Proof that we are being dumbed down to a frightening extent.”
Here are the full set of questions:
1. Give your estimate of the foreign policy of Henry the Eighth before 1520.
2. How did the doings of the reforming party under Edward the Sixth facilitate a return to Catholicism under Queen Mary?
3. Did the execution of Mary Queen of Scots increase or diminish the difficulties of Elizabeth’s position?
4. How did the policy of James the First change for the worse after the death of Robert Cecil?
5. How did the acceptance by the English Parliament of the Solemn League and Covenant affect the subsequent progress of the war between the Parliament and the King?
6. Discuss the good and the bad features of the government of England under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
7. Illustrate the political importance of the Protestant Dissenters in the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Second.
8. On what matters of practical policy did the Whigs and the Tories differ most markedly in the later years of William the Third?
9. Was there any utility to England in Walpole’s jealousy of rivals?
10. How did the elder Pitt differ in political opinions from Newcastle or Rockingham and their followers?
11. How did the general election of 1784 make the House of Commons a less unpopular institution than it had been?
12. In what respects was the Spanish Peninsula more advantageous ground for an attack by Great Britain on Napoleon’s power than any other part of Europe?
Nowadays, most universities don’t require applicants to take an admissions test, instead using their exam results and personal statements.
However, particularly competitive courses can use tests to help unis - such as Cambridge and Oxford - to distinguish the top applicants.
As well as written exams, plenty of courses at these institutions also require interviews before candidates are accepted.