28. The One Word Essay Question

via francescollier.blogspot.com

The New York Times reported that the end of an era (since 1932) has come for an infamous portion of the application process at one of Oxford University’s colleges called All Souls College.  In order to gain admittance to this extremely prestigious college, which admits no undergraduates, applicants take part in a two-day-long essay extravaganza.  The now extinct part of the exam is what is simply known as “Essay” in which prospective students have had to craft an essay in response to a single word such as harmony or style or reproduction.  Apparently the warden of the college, Sir John Vickers, decided that this particular style of question no longer  “proved to be a very valuable way of providing insight into the merits of the candidates.”  Perhaps not.  However, it is interesting to consider how they came to that conclusion and what forms of testing have actually proven to be a valuable way of providing insight into the merits of the candidates…

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