Monday, May 25, 2009

Oxford University Entrance Exams 1983

Looking through old diaries and memorabilia recently, I came across the exam papers for my Oxford University Entrance Exams. I took these in November 1983, and heard that I was accepted on December 16, 1983. On the exam papers, I marked the questions that I answered. I was interested to see these; perhaps some of you will be too.

Section I
The passage printed below [from J.S. Mill’s On Liberty] contains nearly 1200 words. Summarise it in not more than 250 words, and answer ONE of the questions following it.
4. Should there be any limits to “absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects”?

Section II
10. Is the existence of evil irreconcilable with that of a loving, omnipotent God?
23. When, if ever, is it justifiable to break a law?

1. Why is unemployment in Britain so high?
14. Does the effect of a budget deficit depend on whether it is financed by printing money or borrowing from the public?
16. What is meant by “supply side” policies? Would they be effective?
22. Does the “natural monopoly” argument justify the present degree or nationalization in the UK economy?

1. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his means.” Is this a good principle by which to allocate rewards and burdens in society?
3. Is there a sense in which democratic government is “government by consent”?
11. Has the modern Conservative party justified its claim to be the heir to the Liberal tradition?
16. “How far a Prime Minister dominates the cabinet is more a matter of personality than of the institutional resources as his or her disposal.” Do you agree?

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