Wednesday, 10 June 2009


I have not been updating the blog because of the prospect of my rather terrible second year university exams in physical, organic and inorganic chemistry. Wish me luck!

In a week I shall be sitting under a massive portrait of Karl XII, King of Sweden in some of the most beautiful settings one can be in while under exam conditions. Oxford University has a monument of a building devoted for the sole purpose of exams (The Examination Schools) and the thought of going in there again does not make me happy.

Oh, and we have to dress up (we call the attire sub fusc) in order to be allowed into the examination hall... If you wear brown socks instead of black they can fine you sums of over £20... You must carry your mortarboard (the square cap seen on the picture) but not wear it except for in official buildings.

A number of myths surround subfusc and its use in examinations - for example, that subfusc has a counterpart in 'full fusc', said to be a full suit of armour, which if worn to Finals examinations automatically results in a student being given a First (ie. the highest mark attainable); or the claim that a student read the examination handbook prior to his finals and discovered that all students sitting exams in subfusc are entitled to a glass of sherry. He demanded his due in the exam, and the University's Proctors duly responded, before fining him one shilling for failing to wear his sword, allegedly also part of the archaic statutes.

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