Oh Cuckoo! shall I call thee bird
Or but a wandering voice?
State the alternative preferred
With reasons for your choice.
(F. H. Townsend, after Wordsworth)
Examinations have taken a central place in Institute life for the last 130 years—indeed, from its very foundation the Institute's function as an examining body was clearly recognized. Many members of the Institute have an interest in the examinations, and no doubt this interest is greatest amongst those still in the process of taking them. It is therefore perhaps surprising that, although there is no shortage of official material relating to the examinations, there has been very little attempt to open the subject to discussion by presentation of a general paper. Indeed, apart from Professor Pegler's provocative but slightly specialized paper (11) presented to the Society in December 1979, I can find no evidence of any. It seems probable that the topic has often been discussed but that, perhaps from an unnecessary fear of breaches of secrecy, few if any have committed their views to paper.