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21英语教师网 > 备课资源 > 美文阅读 > 正文
[高二]A real test of nerve
作者:21ST    来源:21世纪学生英文报·高二版第401期    日期: 2010-06-25
A real test of nerve
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IT is thought to be the simplest yet hardest exam in the world. For almost a century, just a few of the brightest young graduates of Oxford University have been picked by All Souls College, part of Oxford, to sit it each year and often only one is successful.

But this year, for the first time, the exam is dropping its most difficult part – the one-word essay question.

The task has defeated even the most brilliant of minds. Candidates (投考者) were required to open an envelope, inside which was a card with a single word – for instance, innocence or water – and to write coherently (连贯地) on the subject for three hours.

The announcement of the word was always an exciting event. Crowds were said to gather outside the ancient university’s exam hall to learn which word had been set.

Decades later, many candidates still remember the words. Past words, chosen by the fellows, include “style,” “censorship (审查制度),” “charity,” “reproduction,” “novelty (新奇),” “harmony” and “mercy”.

It was not a test for everyone.

“Many candidates, including some of the best, seemed at a loss when confronted (面对) with this exercise,” said Mr Briggs, a longtime teacher of modern history at Oxford.

Elizabeth Chatterjee, 23, who passed in 2008 when the word was “novelty”, said that in her year candidates spent the first hour wandering around the exam hall, thinking and sipping water.

The writer Harry Mount, an Oxford graduate and the author of Put a Little Latin in Your Life, didn’t get in. His essay, in 1994, was on “miracles (奇迹)”.

“I was a cynic (愤世嫉俗者) and didn’t believe in miracles, and perhaps that was bad,” Mount explained to The New York Times.

But that was then. “We have dropped it with some regret. It was the part of the exam where everyone did the same thing,” said Sir John Vickers, head of the college. “But for a number of years, the one-word essay question had not proved to be a very valuable way of providing insight (了解) into the merits of the candidates.”

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核心词汇

regret //

n. /vt./vi.遗憾;抱歉

My greatest regret is not going to college.

merit // n. 优点;长处

The plan has many merits.

21ST



关键词:高二 A real test of nerve



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