You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions

Application test included questions on the morals of killing protesters, ancient Persian thinkers and translating sentences in a made-up language

It might not be such a great leap of faith for the applicants - but children taking one of Eton’s entrance examinations were asked to imagine they were the Prime Minister.

Given Eton’s track record of producing 19 of them - including the present incumbent David Cameron - it could well have been on their parents’ minds when they encouraged their children to sit the exam.

The next part of the question was a touch more difficult, though. They had to write a script for a TV broadcast in which they defended the killing of 25 protesters by the Army after sending in the troops to quell protests.

They had to say why the decision was both “necessary” and “moral” in the wake of the protesters killing police officers as they ransacked public buildings after an oil crisis in the Middle East led to the UK running out of petrol.

Good training for high office, though. Perhaps you could call it a form of work experience.

The question was one of four in a 2011 general paper sat by 13-year-olds seeking one of the 14 places a year set aside for King’s Scholarships - where at least 10 per cent of the fees is subsidised,

Tony Little, Eton’s headmaster, stressed the style of question differed little from a GCSE English exam question which asked: “Imagine you are Lady Macbeth, write a diary entry to express your feelings on receiving your husband’s letter?”   Probably more applicable to Roedean’s entrance exam, that one, though.

It was then followed by a quiz about a made-up language called Jangli in which the pupils were given several phrases in the fictitious language and their translation into English - the pupils had to work out which word meant what. They then had to write their own sentences in Jangli and translate them into English.

It may be no coincidence - given there are old Etonians in prominent positions both in the Cabinet and advising Education Secretary Michael Gove (one of his special advisers Henry de Zoete is one) - that this principle of made-up words has now found its way into the English testing system. After all, the new reading check for six-year-olds demands they spell made-up words to demonstrate their understanding of phonics.

The rest of the test, which lasts 90 minutes, covers maths plus their understanding of the relationship between an inspirational teacher and his pupils. Again, good preparation as - hopefully - they’ll meet a number of them during their school days.

Eton says of the scholarship papers (the general paper is just one of four compulsory tests the candidates will take - the others are in English, maths and science): “In most papers of the examination there is a wide range of questions, so that any clever boy has ample opportunity to prove his worth: the examiners are keen to reward boys who show real ability, even if only in a limited field (i.e in running the country).”  My parenthesis.

The format, though, has been changed for this year with two general papers - the second of which gives more freedom for more creative writing.  One of the essay topics is “happiness”.

Now here’s a possible question for next year:  Imagine you are a member of the Bullingdon Club - what does happiness mean to you?

The Scholarship paper questions included:

1.  Twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army.  You are the Prime Minister.  Explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.

2. Consider the following sentences in Jangli (a made-up language) with their English translation:

Waldan razu - I am a writer; Had waldan razu - I am the writer.  Write down how you express the following in Jangli - the.

3. Applicants read a speech by inspirational teacher Zarathustra to his pupils and are asked what is meant by the following phrase:  "You are my believers: but what do believers matter"?

4. If today is Friday, what is the day that follows the day that comes after the day that precedes the day before yesterday?

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Network Manager - Oldham area - Up to £30,000

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

Teacher of special needs required for Burton on Trent

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Exciting Opportunity, Rand...

Behaviour Support Assistant

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Behaviour Support Worker Th...

Youth Worker / Teaching Assistant - Nottingham

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are looki...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home