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The essays were, in most cases, highly satisfactory; only a few were specially weak, while the work of the best candidates was characterized by fullness of matter and good expression. The analysis and the parsing were generally accurate, but the précis was lacking chiefly in stating concisely the topics of the various paragraphs. The errors in syntax were detected by the majority, but the explanations were often defective. The paraphrase was praiseworthy, but not many candidates were successful in pointing out the metaphors in the passage. In explaining the classical phrases and in describing literary characters several candidates showed a wide and accurate knowledge.
Most of the candidates showed a fair acquaintance with the texts of the play and the poems. The renderings of difficult passages and the sketches of character were praiseworthy in the case of the best candidates. The answers of the weaker candidates were deficient in matter and discrimination.
A creditable percentage of candidates obtained the mark of Distinction, and there were a good many who only just missed it. The answers of these candidates were very good indeed. The others who passed did fairly well, but there were sometimes serious mistakes, generally the result of confusion of periods. The rest were very poor.
There is again a slight improvement in knowledge of geographical principles, but the knowledge otherwise is still very scanty and superficial. In fact, outside Questions 1, 6, and 9, there was practically complete ignorance. Thus, it is stated that "England is cold, because of the isotherms which pass through it"; N. Australia, India, Zanzibar, Leeward Islands, Mauritius, Ceylon, and the East Indies are all quoted by various candidates as parts of the British Empire having "Mediterranean" climate.
ARITHMETIC AND ALGEBRA.
The average work of the candidates was not so good as on former occasions. Only a few of the candidates were able to multiply decimals by a contracted process, or understood much about the Metric System, and not a single candidate appeared to be acquainted with Functional Notation. The graph was well drawn by one group of candidates, but the question was generally avoided, and the number of correct solutions of the problem was very small.
As on the last occasion, a number, greatly increased, of unsatisfactory papers were followed by a number of satisfactory papers, but these latter papers did not contain so many successful attempts at the riders. Many of the candidates were evidently unprepared for the examination, for they did not send up a single reasonable attempt at a rider, and little more than the particular enunciations of the propositions.
It was most unfortunate that a figure was omitted from Question 2, but liberal allowance was made by the examiner.
The papers reached a high average of merit: the definitions, laws, and principles were generally stated with exactness, and the illustrations in most cases showed a clear understanding of this very mixed science. A failure was a very rare phenomenon.
One very moderate paper.
In the translation from the French, the first piece was not satisfactory, the vocabulary being rather poor. The candidates' reading has evidently been insufficient, and many common words were not known. In the second passage, the style of most of the candidates was poor: very few seemed to grasp the general idea and feeling of the passage.
In the Grammar the verbs were very uneven, and the rules were but poorly known as a rule. When the explanations were given in French, the French was generally so bad as to cause marks to be lost.
The Translation into French was the most satisfactory, though many candidates persisted in coining words, especially verbs. The use of the imperfect and past definite needs particular attention.
Reading, practice in translation, retranslation, and epitomizing would help candidates to realize French style and to express themselves. in French.
The work, on the whole, was very satisfactory. The translation of the set books was generally close and idiomatic, though a few slipped at times into paraphrase to avoid a difficulty. The Unseen Translation was not so successful, except in the case of two or three who did well. The Grammar was satisfactory both in accidence and syntax, and the Composition in most cases was very promising.
LIGHT AND HEAT.
The knowledge of Heat was very fair. In describing the verification of Boyle's Law, it is not sufficient to end by saying, "If the pressure be increased by pouring more mercury into the open tube, it will be seen that the volume of the gas varies inversely with the pressure The object of the question was largely to bring out candidates' knowledge of how the pressure is measured in each case.