All Souls


'Bravery' was the word at the top of the exam paper. The person who was offered a place sat for 3 hours and on the last page of the answer booklet wrote 'This is bravery

These are the sorts of rumours that you hear about All Souls, the most highly-acclaimed but also the most mysterious of the Oxford colleges.

Since 1878, any student who has achieved a First in their Oxford undergraduate Finals has been invited to sit the All Souls Prize Fellowship Examination at the end of September.

Until a few years ago the special essay component of the exam existed where students were faced with one word from which to form an essay. The exam now consists of four papers of three hours each: two general ones and two specialist papers.

Example questions from the general paper include:

1. Is it immoral to buy a £10,000 handbag?

2. What, if anything, is wrong with selective schools?

3. Why is a leather jacket more acceptable than a fur coat?

4. It has been said that architecture is frozen music. Does this make any sense?

All Souls is really seen as the crème de la crème of the Oxford student body and if the exam papers aren't intimidating enough, the building itself screams academia, bursting through the skyline and standing out in its prime position in Radcliffe Square.

Top Tips

  • Members of the public are welcome to visit the College Front free of charge from 2.00pm to 4.00pm on weekdays and Sunday when the College is open.

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