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Introduction of the University-Entrance Examination [Abitur] in Prussia: Edict signed by King Frederick William III, State Chancellor Hardenberg, and Minister Friedrich von Schuckmann (October 12, 1812)

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§ 6. The benchmark for issuing these diplomas is the following:

1. For the first designation, the following features are required:

A. With respect to languages,

a) to understand in Latin easily and as a whole Cicero, Livy, Horace, and Virgil (which includes sureness in quantity and, with respect to the poets, also knowledge of the meter), and to explain Tacitus, however, properly after a certain period permitted for deliberation; to have command over one’s own mode of Latin expression without grammatical errors and serious Germanisms, not only in writing but also verbally in regard to appropriate subjects;

b) in Greek, the examinee must understand Attic prose, which also includes the easier type of dialogue by Sophocles and Euripides as well as Homer even without prior preparation; to be able to explain, however, a tragic chorus that is not critically difficult with the help of lexical assistance. Moreover, he must be able to prepare a short translation from German to Greek without breaking the rules of grammar and accents;

c) in French, the examinee must be able to write a short essay without error, translate a poet or prose writer presented to him with ease and to read him with the proper pronunciation; as well, knowledge of at least some of the nation’s most important writers must exist;

d) in German, the written mode of expression must not only be free of grammatical errors but also of vagueness and confusion of the poetic with the prosaic. Likewise, the candidate must succeed in giving a coherent oral presentation. Moreover, a requirement is familiarity with the major epochs of the history of German language and literature and the nation’s most pre-eminent authors.

B. With respect to the sciences:

a) in history and geography, the examinee must be able to demonstrate that he has acquired a clear and sure general idea of the entire field of ancient, medieval, and modern history, having to know the major events of the same with chronological accuracy and be able to indicate their geographical place.

b) in mathematics, the requirement is knowledge of the calculations pertaining to everyday life according to the principles based on the theory of proportions, pertaining to the algorithm of letters, to the first theory of squares and roots, to the equations of first and second degree, to logarithms, to elementary geometry (as far as presented in Euclid’s first six books as well as his eleventh and twelfth book), to plane trigonometry and to the use of mathematical tables;

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