Focus5 2E Unit Test Unit2 Dictation Vocabulary Grammar UoE GroupA

  1. English
  2. Diana Vovk
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The University of St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world.


St Andrews is a small town on the east coast of Scotland, which is famous worldwide as the home of golf. But the town is also known around the world for something other than sport. Its university: the oldest in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge.


It was founded in 1410 and received the approval of the Pope in 1413. By the time it was given royal authorisation in 1532 from King James V of Scotland (the father of Mary, Queen of Scots) the University had already grown considerably and it was to continue to do so during the rest of the 16th century. In fact, some university buildings that are still in use today date from that period.


However, from the 17th century St Andrews began to decline. When writer Samuel Johnson visited the town in 1773, the university had only about one hundred students. During the 19th century, things did not get any better: in the 1870s, the student population was still below one hundred and fifty.


This unsuccessful period can perhaps be explained by the fact that the university concentrated mainly on classical languages, theology and philosophy and in the 19th century those subjects were less fashionable than more practical subjects like maths, science, medicine and law. However, in 1897 the university founded University College in the nearby city of Dundee. This became a centre of medical, scientific and legal excellence and soon the university became popular again, especially amongst the upper classes.


Today St. Andrews is a prestigious university with almost 9,000 students. It is known for its research excellence and academic results. It is usually considered to be one of the top ten universities in the UK and one of the top 100 in the world. In terms of entry requirements it is the eighth most demanding in the UK and there are generally ten applications for every undergraduate place available.


The university has some strange traditions. Before becoming a student it is necessary to make a formal promise to behave well in Latin (the Sponsio Academica). During ‘Raisin Weekend' every November first year students are entertained by older students: the women throw a tea party while the men organise a pub tour. This ends in a spectacular fight with shaving foam on Monday morning. But perhaps the wildest tradition of all is the May Dip: on May the first students stay up all night before running into the icy cold waters of the North Sea.

A Always the best

B Back in fashion

C Successful at first

D Unusual customs

E 200 years of failure

F Two reasons for fame

G Top quality education

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