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opinion upon some book, place, or subject, with which he may happen to be familiar. A short sketch of the life and character of any one of the kings of England, and a notice of the life and writings of the author of any well-known and standard work, are among the subjects which have been set to candidates in an ordinary examination. The exercise is intended to test the power of writing correct and grammatical English, and not less than two folio pages should be written.

Precis Writing

Is the art of presenting a succinct, faithful, and intelligent abridgement of documents or correspondence. This subject tests several very important intellectual qualities, and the Commissioners value it highly in the relative distribution of marks. It will be seen (page 71) that the candidate receives "Instructions" from the Examiners, along with the correspondence of which a précis is required. The making a short abstract of several letters and the drawing up a Memorandum or Précis stating briefly their contents, the indexing of correspondence for easy reference, and the making a summary of parliamentary evidence, are the several methods adopted to test the candidate's ability in Précis writing.

History and Geography.

The Examination Papers on these subjects are so framed as to defeat the practice familiarly known as "cramming," and at the same time to give opportunities to those who know but little to show some degree of information, and to those who have been well instructed to display a greater amount of knowledge. To give an account of the leading statesmen of a particular reign; to mention the names of the commanders on each side and the general result of some of our most famous battles; to state the principal events of a certain epoch in history, in all cases with dates, are fair specimens of the kind of questions of which an historical Examination Paper is composed. In Geography the candidate may be called upon to mark the position of the principal towns, and to trace the course of the chief rivers, on an outline map of some European country; to explain fully the meaning of the geographical terms commonly in use; to enumerate the independent states of Europe and their capital towns; and to make a list describing the position of the

most important foreign sea-ports with which England has commercial dealings, stating the country to which each belongs, and the principal articles of its trade with Great Britain. These, with other questions of a like nature, form the ordinary examination in Geography. Unpaid Attachés are specially examined in the geography and statistics of the country to which they are about to proceed.

Latin, Modern Languages, and Extra Subjects.

Examinations in languages, literature, and science, are instituted for the purpose of ascertaining the relative ability, industry, and general education of the candidate. It is as evidence of these, rather than in reference to the value of the attainments themselves (except when from the nature of the appointment they fall into the class of practical subjects, as French and Modern History, in the Foreign Office), that the Commissioners regard the display of merit in these branches of knowledge. In offices where Greek or Latin are prescribed, a passage of from twenty to thirty lines of some well-known author, such as Homer or Tacitus, is given to be translated into English. Translation into Greek or Latin is not prescribed for any office, but is introduced into those competitive examinations of which these languages form a part. When French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Russian, is either prescribed or selected by the candidate as a branch of his examination, a page of a foreign author, such as Voltaire, Goëthe, Ariosto, Quintana, or Ystrjaloff, is given to be translated into English. Translation into these languages is not prescribed, except in the examination of candidates for the Diplomatic and Consular Services, but it is, except in the case of candidates for the Admiralty, introduced into all competitive examinations of which these languages form a part. Equity, Common Law, Political Economy, Euclid, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geology, Chemistry, and Natural Science, are all subjects which have been set, either in competitive examinations or when voluntarily chosen by candidates with a view of displaying their industry and intelligence.

Time and Place of Examination.

After obtaining a nomination in the manner indicated in “Under Government," the candidate receives instructions from the Civil Ser

vice Commissioners. Generally speaking, not more than a fortnight clapses between nomination and examination. The Commissioners hold examinations weekly throughout the year, commencing on the Tuesday, and their usual practice is to examine candidates at the next weekly examination after they receive notice of the nomination. Sometimes, however, there is a longer interval.

Competitions are occasionally held in Edinburgh and Dublin for situations in Scotland and Ireland; but the examinations for situations in London are always held at the offices of the Commissioners, Dean's Yard, Westminster, S.W.

The Commissioners sometimes despatch one of their staff to provincial towns, to conduct competitions for clerkships in such places. The time occupied by the examination varies according to the extent of the prescribed course, from two days to four or five.

Order of Examination.

Candidates for competition nominated by the Treasury usually receive from that department a notice of the day appointed for their examination, and subsequently receive from the Civil Service Commissioners the following formal Order, which is their passport to the Examination Room, and which explains the nature of their examination ::


having been nominated to [compete * with

other candidates for]

It is ordered that he be examined at

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on Tuesday the

O'CLOCK PRECISELY, in the following prescribed subjects:†

1. Writing from Dictation.

2. Arithmetic, including Vulgar and Decimal Fractions.

3. English Composition.

4. Geography.

5. English History.


It is also ordered, at his own request, that he be examined in the following extra subjects:


Civil Service Commission,

Dean's Yard, Westminster.



[This Order must be produced on the day of examination.]

* If the examination is not competitive these words are omitted in the Order. These subjects vary according to the office for which the Candidate is nominated. (See List of Departments, p. 1.)

Rules of Examination.

Each candidate receives the following code of Instructions:

1. Every Candidate is required to present himself punctually at the time specified in his Order.

2. The examination will commence every morning at

5 P.M.

and close at

An interval of about an hour will be allowed in the middle of the day.

3. Each Candidate is required to sign his name every morning, before proceeding to his examination, in a book kept for that purpose. 4. Candidates will be permitted to leave the Examination Room for a short time after having given up each paper, before proceeding to the next; but no Candidate can be allowed to quit the room until he has given up the paper on which he is engaged.

5. No Candidate will, on any account, be permitted to exceed the time allowed for each paper. Candidates are warned to pay attention to any instructions on this subject which may appear on the papers given to them.

6. Candidates are required to write their answers on the paper which will be given to them, and to write their names at the top of every sheet of paper which they use.

7. Any Candidate who is dissatisfied with the pens, ink, or paper, supplied to him, is requested to apply to one of the Examiners; but those who are accustomed to use any particular kind of pen are recommended to bring it with them.

8. Copy of Notice given to Candidates:


"Cases having occurred in which Candidates under examina"tion have been detected in attempting to use books and manuscripts which they had brought with them for their assistance, the "Civil Service Commissioners think it right to give notice that they "will regard any offence of this description, committed either in "the Examination Room or elsewhere during the hours of examination, as affecting the moral character of the Candidate, and 66 as rendering it necessary that his certificate should be refused. "Any Candidate copying from the papers of another, or per"mitting his own papers to be copied, or receiving or giving "assistance of any description, will expose himself to the same penalty."



9. Each Candidate is informed, by letter, from this office, of the results of his examination as soon as his case is disposed of.

10. The Commissioners usually return the baptismal certificates, &c. of Candidates who have failed in their examinations and apply for those documents; but it must be understood that no Candidate is under any circumstances entitled to claim the return of any certificate deposited by him in their office, and that official forms are not in any case parted with.

Limit of Age.*

The following particulars show the evidence of age required from candidates ::

I. Every Candidate born in England or Wales after the 30th of June, 1837, should produce a Certificate from the Registrar General of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, or his provincial Officers. These Certificates may be obtained at Somerset House, or from the Superintendent Registrar of the District in which the birth took place.

II. Every Candidate not producing the above Certificate must prove his age by Statutory Declaration, and should also, if possible, produce a Baptismal Certificate, or an official Extract from a Non-Parochial Register, deposited at Somerset House, under the Act 3 & 4 Vict. cap. 92. Regulation applies

1. To all Candidates not born in England or Wales.


2. To Candidates born in England or Wales on or before the 30th of June, 1837.


3. To Candidates who, though born in England or Wales after the 30th June, 1837, cannot produce the Registrar General's Certificate. The Civil Service Commissioners reserve to themselves the right of deciding, in each case, upon the sufficiency of the evidence produced, but they subjoin the following general rules for the guidance of Candidates: (a.) The Declaration should specify precisely the date and place of birth, and should if possible be made by the father or mother of the Candidate. If made by any other person it should state the circumstances which enable the Declarant to speak to the fact. If an entry in a Bible or other family record be referred to, the Bible or other record must be produced at the time of making the Declaration, and must be mentioned in the Declaration as having been so produced.

(b.) If the Candidate was born in England or Wales after the 30th of June, 1837, the Declaration must contain a statement, that after due inquiry no entry has been found in the books of the Registrar General, or a separate Declaration containing that statement must be made.

(c.) If no extract from a Parochial or Non-Parochial Register is produced, the Declaration must contain a statement, that after careful inquiry no such Record has been found, and that none is believed to exist, or a separate Declaration containing that statement must be made.

(d.) Statutory Declarations must be exactly in the form prescribed by the Act of 5 & 6 William IV. c. 62. The Eighteenth Section of that Act is as follows:

"And whereas it may be necessary and proper in many cases not "herein specified, to require confirmation of written instruments or "allegations, or proof of debts, or of the execution of deeds or other "matters; Be it therefore further enacted, that it shall and may be

* For limit of age prescribed for admission into each department, see "UNDER GOVERNMENT."

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