Examinations at Harvard in 1675.
The conditions for the admission examinations were as follows:- "Whoever shall be able to read Cicero or any other such like classical author at sight and make and speak true Latin in verse and prose, and decline perfectly the paradigms of names and verbs in the Greek tongue. Let him then and not before be capable of admission into the college." It was certainly a higher standard in the classics than we have at the present day, for there are very few who can speak and write Latin with ease and correctness. Weekly declamation were held on Fridays during the college year, in the College Hall, also disputations at which either the president or one of the fellows presided. These declamations and disputations were held once a month "in the presence of the magistrates, ministers and other scholars," to test the progress of the students in "learning and godliness." For three weeks in June each year all students of two or more years' standing were required to attend in the "Hall," from nine to eleven and from one to three on Mondays and Tuesdays for their annual examinations. Visitors might at this time test their proficiency in the various studies, and as it was customary for some of the overseers to visit the school whilst the students were thus doing "what were called sitting of solstices," these weeks were called the "weeks of visitation." Those who failed to pass the examinations were "deferred to the following year." The degree of bachelor of arts was conferred upon all who had successfully completed the four years course of study, and the degree of master of arts upon graduates of three year's standing. The examination for degrees were frequent and severe, especially just before commencement. Good conduct as well as scholarship was essential in order to obtain a degree. "Every scholar that giveth up in writing a system or synopsis or some of logic, natural and moral philosophy, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy; and is ready to defend his theses or positions; withal, skilled in the originals as above said and of godly life, is fit to be dignified with his second degree."