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The Preliminary Examination Journal
STUDENT’S LITERARY MAGAZINE,
MISCELLANEOUS NOTICES AND REVIEWS OF EDUCATIONAL WORKS. For the convenience of those students who may be preparing for the Preliminary Examinations for Solicitors, for the Bar and the Royal College of Surgeons, we propose giving, from time to time, due notice of the special subjects selected by the various examining bodies as well as the dates when these Examinations will be held.
Preliminary Examination for Solicitors. Pursuant to the Judges' orders, the next Preliminary Examination in General Knowledge will take place on Wednesday the 12th, and Thursday the 13th of July, 1871. In addition to the ordinary subjects, the Special Examiners have selected the following books in which candidates will be examined :In LATIN.
Cicero, Pro Milone; or Virgil, Æneid, Book XII. In GREEK
Euripides, Hecuba. In MODERN GREEK Βεντοτής Ιστορία της Αμερικής βιβλίον ζ. In FRENCH . Voltaire, Histoire de l'Empire de Russie sous Pierre
le Grand, Part 2, Chap. I to 10; or, Corneille,
Cinna, ou la Clémence d'Auguste. In GERMAN. Schiller, Geschichte des dreiszigjährigen Kriegs,
Part 2, Book 3; or, Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris. In SPANISH. Cervantes, Don Quixote, cap. xv. to xxx, both in
clusive; or, Moratin, El Sí de las Niñas. In ITALIAN
Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi, cap. i. to viii. both in
clusive; or, Tasso's Gerusalemme, 4, 5 and 6
cantos ; and Volpe's Eton Italian Grammar. Each candidate will be examined in one language only, according to his selection. Candidates will have the choice of either of the above-mentioned works.
The Examinations will be held at the Incorporated Law Society's Hall, Chancery Lane, London, and at certain towns in England and Wales, particulars of which may be obtained on application to the secretary. Candidates are required by the Judges' orders to give one calendar month's notice to the Society, before the day appointed for Examination, of the
language in which they propose to be examined, the place at which they wish to be examined, and their age and place of education.
Preliminary Examination of the Royal College of Surgeons. The next Preliminary Examination for the diplomas of MEMBER and Fellow of this College will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the 20th, 21st and 22nd of June, 1871. Candidates desirous of presenting themselves for this Examination must signify their intention of so doing to the secretary (at the College of Surgeons, Lincolu's Inn Fields) on or before Tuesday, the 30th of May next.
The Compulsory subjects are the same as in the legal “ Preliminary," except that no candidate will be passed who does not show a competent knowledge of the first four rules, simple and compound, of vulgar fractions and of decimals; and the mathematics include Euclid, Books I. and II. or the subjects thereof, and algebra to simple equations inclusive. Candidates will also be required to translate a passage from the second book of Cæsar's Commentaries, “ De Bello Gallico.”
Papers will also be set on the following six subjects; and each candidate will be required to offer himself for Examination on one subject at least, at his option; but no candidate will be allowed to offer himself for Examination on more than four subjects :1. Translation of a passage from the first Book of the Anabasis of
8. Translation of a passage from Schiller's “ Wilhelm Tell." Besides these translations into English, the candidate will be required to answer questions on the grammar of each subject, whether compulsory or optional. 4. Mechanics. The questions will be chiefly of an elementary cha
racter. 5. Chemistry. The questions will be on the elementary facts of
chemistry. 6. Botany and Zoology. The questions will be on the classification
of plants and animals. The quality of the bandwriting and the spelling will be taken into account.
A candidate in order to qualify himself for the Fellowship is required, in addition to the ordinary subjects, to pass in Greek, French or German, and in French or German (as the case may be), mechanics, chemistry, or botany and zoology.
Preliminary Examination for the Bar. The Preliminary Examinations for the Bar are usually held every Saturday during each legal term, and once in the week next preceding each legal term. By the Consolidated Regulations of the Four Inns of Court, it is provided that no Examiner shall attend unless two clear days' notice prior to the day appointed for his attendance shall have been given to the secretary of the Board of Examiners, by at least one candidate, of an intention to present himself on that day for Examination. The subjects of Examination are-(a) The English language; (b) The Latin language ; and (c) English history. No Latin works are named by the Examiners in which candidates will be examined—hence it is necessary that they should be tolerably well acquainted with the Latin language. Candidates are, however, usually required to translate passages from the works of Sallust, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, &c.
Review of Educational Works. The greatest difficulty with which most students have to contend is in the selection of the best works adapted to the requirements of an Examination. It is not because a few candidates may have read certain books, and have met with success, that they are the best to be used! Although we have headed our remarks “ Review of Educational Works,” we shall direct the student's attention more particularly to the works best adapted to the Examinations in General Knowledge, rather than to their general merit. We mentioned in our last number the names of several books, but as we had carried it to a great length, we felt that so important a matter ought not to be noticed cursorily at the end,-indeed it needs our best attention.
Let us commence with English grammar ; or, if you please, “ English language.” Many are the complaints of candidates as to the erroneous impression created by this term. On perusing the notices issued by the law and medical societies, we perceive that candidates are examined in simply English grammar. Candidates and their tutors, on reading this, at once seek the aid of Lindley Murray or Lennie's Grammar, and, strictly speaking, we cannot say that their selection is unwise ; but, alas! when candidates present themselves for Examination, they learn, for the first time, that few questions can be answered with the aid of these books. tions are confined principally to the “elements of the language;" hence we think that the Examiners should call this subject "English language" (not grammar), which would at once be a sufficient notice to candidates that a thorough knowledge of etymology especially and of the peculiarities of the language is indispensable. Doubtless the last quarter of a century has witnessed the production of many works on the English language, which, if placed in the hands of the disciples of Lindley Murray, would astonish them in no small degree. This is owing to the great research and labours of Latham, French, Key, Marsh, Dasent, Craik, Rogers, Adams and Morell. Tutors would certainly be rewarded if, instead of adhering to the old books, however valuable in themselves, they would endeavour to ascertain the vames of those standard works which are used by Examiners of the present day. Now we really cannot recommend a better work than “ Adams' Elements of the English Language,” containing as it does a great deal of valuable information. We may however remark, that some parts are so dry that scores of students read it without appreciating or understanding it. It seems almost absurd to think that a student, who has never before studied the derivations of words, can read the book for himself, or even remember the various changes which many words have undergone, It is impossible to use the book with any degree of success without frequent reference to the examination questions which are appended. We, of course, admit that to a tyro the information appears confused, and for this reason we would recommend candidates to be guided by the questions alone, anc? to answer them from the text. We are convinced, from experience, that they would derive more benefit by adopting this easy method, than by reading the book through as if it were a history or a novel. Rules, we know, are difficult to remember unless apparent and intelligible examples accompany them; and we believe, if the author had selected modern quotations where it was possible, his explanations would be better understood. He, no doubt, leaves it to tutors to elucidate the examples given, or to supply some of their own selection to suit the ideas of their pupils. There are many peculiar points which cannot be traced to “Adams' Elements of the English Language,” and we therefore call attention to “ Angus' Handy Book of the English Tongue," which is a very carefully compiled work. We recommend it for occasional reference, but we would certainly advise candidates to keep to Adams, and not to waste their time by pondering over larger works for the sake of answering a few difficult questions, which in the end would not affect the result of their examinations. For our own part we never place either of the above-mentioned works in the hands of our students unless they wish, for we prefer directing their attention to the subject in a series of lectures, and we require them to take notes.
As so many works have lately been published on geography, we are not surprised to learn that many novices are perplexed as to the choice of a book on this important subject. Another difficulty, in the way of Examinations, presents itself: we have seen Examination papers containing questions which could be answered only by the aid of four or five geographies. Surely candidates cannot be expected to use so many works in order to acquire a knowledge of this subject. It is the student's duty to ascertain which book contains the most important information to enable him to answer the questions in such a manner as will satisfy the Examiners. We think Cornwell's Geography will meet this view; but we strongly advise candidates to make use of their maps, without which they never can expect to know much of physical geography. Frequent reference to maps will soon reward a candidate for his attention to our suggestions; indeed, we have been informed by many students that they were able to answer questions by picturing in their minds the maps on which certain towns, rivers or mountains, named in the questions, were to be seen. We recommend Cornwell's Geography as a text book, and “Steward's Compendium of Modern Geography” for occasional reference.
Perhaps no greater mistakes are made than in the selection of works on English history. We protest against a student wading through a voluminous work merely because he may have observed or been informed that it contains one or two points (useful for the Examination) which are not to be discovered in other works of the kind. That is a very weak argument. What a candidate preparing for these Examinations requires is, to acquire
general knowledge of this subject. We shall not mention those works which we do not recommend, but those that we do. Some, we say, are too voluminous; others possess very meagre information. Now, the book that we have used for some considerable time, and which is, in our opinion, an excellent little manual, is Collier's British History. The parts relating to England need only be studied. The facts are stated in close succession, and correctly; and, in fact, many important matters may be found in this book which could not be traced to any other but the works of our great historians. We shall not dwell at great length on this subject here, as we
publish remarks on the study of English history in Chapter V. We ask, however, is it possible for a student to learn much from an outline of English history, or even to make rapid progress by reading a large work of three or four hundred pages ? He will no sooner read the latter than forget it. While the Student's Hume is worthy of our notice as a book of reference for the Preliminary Examination for Solicitors, it will be found invaluable to candidates preparing for the Bar Preliminary or the Matriculation Examination of the London University.
There is not much variety in the selection of a work on arithmetic, Barnard Smith's and Colenso's Manuals still maintaining their positions above other similar works. We accord our support to both of them. Barnard Smith's Manual is well adapted to the Preliminary Examination for Solicitors, for the examples given at this Examination are rather peculiar, and may usually be traced to it; but, as candidates for the Medical Preliminary are examined in vulgar fractions and decimals, we prefer the explanations and examples given in Colenso’s Arithmetic.
With regard to the selection of works on other subjects, we think it is a matter of opinion. We prefer Todhunter's Euclid and Algebra. It will be seen that it is the province of this Journal to afford information to the Legal Preliminary Examination candidates; but we trust that no objection will be taken to our assisting the “medical man," as his Examination is somewhat similar, and is probably the basis of the Legal Preliminary.
LECTURES ON LANGUAGE.
The English Language. The English is a composite language, compounded of nearly half the languages of the civilized world. Its literature is remarkably rich, and it possesses some of the most beautiful poems that have ever been written by man. It has enabled some of the greatest men who have adorned the earth to hand down to posterity their noblest thoughts and most powerful ideas. Is it not then astonishing, that the study of the history of a language abounding in such wealth should almost be disregarded at the present day! As the English nation progresses in civilization, so will its language; for as improvements and inventions are constantly being made in every department of science and art, words of classical and of very ancient origin are introduced to assign to them appropriate terms. We propose, in the first place, to notice as briefly as possible the original foundation of our language and the elements of modern English. Strange to say, we anticipated that at no distant period questions would be asked requiring candidates to give some account of the introduction of the various ancient and classical elements into the English language, and it will be seen that the very first question in the “ English language” paper is based on this subject. An ordinary reader, or one who is seldom in the habit of criticising or looking minutely into our language, would no doubt be surprised to learn what an important position it holds as compared with other languages. Besides being a composite it may, in some measure, be considered an imported language, for