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Cambridge University Library


Established in 1822 and first held in 1824, the Previous Examination was originally a compulsory examination in Greek, Latin and Paley’s Evidences of Christianity for all students in their fifth term; in 1854 mathematical topics were added to it for honours students. Students who were natives of Asia or Africa, and not of European descent, were, in due course, allowed to substitute Arabic, Chinese, Sanskrit or Pali for the Latin and Greek, provided they were not offering those languages in a tripos . After the introduction of public examinations for schools an increasing number of students were granted exemption from all or part of the Previous Examination on the strength of their ‘Higher School Certificate’ (roughly the equivalent of ‘A levels’), while others took all or part of the Previous before coming into residence. The Previous was abolished by grace 5 of 12 November 1960 which introduced new regulations for the academical requirements for matriculation.