University of Virginia Library


These are of three kinds; first, the daily examinations, which
precede or alternate with the lectures; second, the public examinations,
two in number, held the one about the middle of the
session, the other at its close; and third, the examinations for
held towards the end of the session.


In the daily examinations the student is questioned both upon
the subjects of the preceding lecture and such portions of the textbook
as may have been designated by the Professor. His preparation
thus tested is noted at the time of examination, and if the
student shall exhibit material delinquency, the fact is communicated
to his parent or guardian in the printed circular which is sent
home at the close of every month.


The two public examinations, embracing respectively all the
subjects treated of in the first half, and all those treated of in the
second half of the session, are thus conducted:

The Professor of the school prepares in writing a series of questions
to be proposed to the class, and affixes to them numerical
values, according to his estimate of their relative difficulty. On
the assembling of the class for examination, these questions are
for the first time presented to them; and they are required to
answer in writing in a prescribed time, without communication
with one another or with other persons, and without any reference
to books. Their answers are subsequently carefully examined
and compared, and a value attached to each, not exceeding that of
the corresponding question. In the schools of languages subjects
may also be selected for oral examination, and the values of
these exercises are marked at the time.

The students are then arranged into four divisions, according to
the merit of their examination, as determined by the following
method: The numerical values attached to all the questions are
added together, and also the values of the answers given by each
student. If this last number amounts to three-fourths of the first,
the student is ranked in the first division; if it be less than three-fourths,
and as much as one half, in the second; if less than one-half,
and as much as a fourth, in the third; if less than a fourth,
in the fourth division. The examinations are conducted and the
results ascertained by a committee, consisting of the Professor of


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the school and two other Professors. The standing of the student
at these examinations is communicated to his parent or guardian
in the last circular of the session.

Those who attain the first division receive in public, at the close
of the session, a printed certificate of their distinction at one or both
of the examinations, as the case may be, and their names are mentioned
in the published account of the proceedings which terminate
the course.

These public examinations, though less thorough than the examinations
for graduation, are sufficiently comprehensive and
difficult to render it impossible for the student, without steady
diligence, to secure a place in the first division.


These are partly oral and partly in writing, and are conducted by
the Professor of the School, in the presence of two other Professors,
forming with him the committee of examination for the school.
Here the student is subjected to searching interrogations upon the
details and niceties as well as the leading principles of the subject,
and he is expected to be accurately versed in all the topics treated
of in the lectures and the correlative texts.

As a due acquaintance with our own language is made indispensable
to the attainment of even the inferior honors of the University,

all candidates for degrees are subjected to an examination,
in order to test their qualifications in this respect. At this, which
is called the English Examination, and is held near the close
of the session, the student is called upon to correct in writing numerous
errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and is required
to prepare at the time a short composition on some appointed theme.