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I. Special Examination Notices
NUMBER XII.- OCTOBER, 1873.
II. The Incorporation of the Inns of Court and the proposed Law University
V. Absence of Mind
NUMBER XVI.-OCTOBER, 1874.
I. Examination Notices
The Preliminary Examination Journal
STUDENT'S LITERARY MAGAZINE.
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS AND REVIEW OF THE PAST EXAMINATIONS.
NotwitHSTANDING the innumerable literary works which are published to assist candidates preparing for Examinations in General Knowledge, we feel ourselves justified in making a bold effort to support a Journal which is designed to assist the embryo lawyer. In an educational point of view, perhaps no period of a student's life is more momentous to him than when he is being initiated into the mysteries of his destined profession; but when he has passed his Preliminary Examination his course will be comparatively smooth.
The passing of Examinations in General Knowledge is now a sine quâ non; and it cannot be doubted that it is absolutely necessary, in order that we may really look upon members of the hitherto so-called learned professions as men of education. Any student who is opposed to a Preliminary Examination is, in our opinion, not fitted to occupy a position of honor and trust—a position on which the lives and interests of our fellow creatures depend. Surely if a man wishes to study for the medical or legal profession he ought to be acquainted with, at least, those elementary subjects which enable him to appreciate the more advanced studies so essential to sustain his professional reputation. We regret to remark that we have heard many say that it is absurd to compel students to pass an Examination embodying technical questions. They forget that they are living in an advanced age, that great strides are even made for the education of the children of the poor; and why should those who hold comfortable and very frequently affluent positions in society, refuse to give their children such a training as will enable them not only to be favorably received and recognized wherever they may go, but also to render them that primary aid to expound the more advanced doctrines with which they may hereafter have to contend? They likewise forget that in order that we may continue to progress in civilization, the education of the rising generation should be closely watched, and that everyone should possess a knowledge beyond the elementary subjects-reading and writing. If we take a retrospective view, we can trace, from the earliest times, the gradual growth and development of our literature and the extraordinary advancement in education. What is the reason of this? The various governing bodies have, from time to
time, insisted upon candidates receiving a good education, and will no longer grant their final certificates to one who merely pays a fee and passes a few years with a practitioner. The assurance that we formerly had of a man's reputation was his recognized ability; but we have now the consolation to know that he has passed various ordeals, and this, to a certain extent, is a guarantee of his general acquirements.
Having briefly pointed out the advantages of Examinations in General Knowledge, we proceed to make a few observations on the Preliminary Examination for Solicitors. We apprehend that no person, on perusing our answers to the questions, will condemn our labors on behalf of those for whom they are compiled. It is, we believe, scarcely necessary to remark that this Journal possesses features of a somewhat novel character, for we are not acquainted with any periodical which is published in the interest of one literary Examination. It is intended to convey to candidates some idea of the Examination they will be called upon to pass, and, we trust, we shall not in future hear of their being rejected, as many as, three and four times, before they are granted the necessary certificate.
There are, however, many students who, being entirely unacquainted with the nature of the Examination, speak of it with the greatest confidence, merely because it is a preliminary Examination, and thus they are induced to present themselves at the Law Society's Hall. The invariable result is, we regret to say, that they fail, and then, finding that they have wasted their time in mere conjecture, they are compelled to seek the best aids to enable them to overcome what they call a great difficulty. Although we admit that the Examination is rather peculiar, we think it by no means difficult; but would it not be farcical if a candidate, who spells incorrectly and scarcely knows the first principles of arithmetic, or the simplest facts of English history, could pass the Examination by merely giving notice of his intention to be examined and attending at the Hall for two days ? Thus many cherish the idea that it is a mere “matter of form.” What would they say if we were to tell them that many students sent from the public schools, and, indeed, from Oxford and Cambridge, have, to our own knowledge, failed to pass the Examination after two and three attempts. We cannot recount the times we have heard rejected candidates remark that they had no idea of the nature of the questions. In many instances it is necessary that a candidate should be previously prepared in the several subjects. Some persons may be inclined to insert the word “coached,” but we respectfully beg to tell them that such a course is not needed ; indeed, the Examination will not admit of it. For instance, if a candidate wishes to acquire a knowledge of English history, he may, as the questions on this subject take a wide range, read works in which the facts are condensed and the salient features of each reign are brought into a narrow nucleus. This will enable him not only to study for the Examination, but also to appreciate the writings of our great historians which he may feel inclined to read at any future time. An acquaintance with the elementary features of a subject will very frequently kindle in a student's mind a desire to seek further knowledge, and, indeed, it is well known to those who are in the habit of instructing, that when the main features are acquired, the superstructure may be more easily completed. What we call coaching is giving a candidate voluminous notes to learn like a parrot, without any explanation, thus making preparation a mere matter of 66 cram.” We know of many systems