Cambridge exam question takes a leaf out of Horrible Histories

History students were asked to explore the accuracy of a song from the children’s TV show in their exam

Chloe Bayliss

Katy Bennett

Walking into exams, it’s normal to feel trepidation, nervousness, or even a bit sick. Examiners aren’t always the easiest people to read, and it can be hard to tell whether your course coordinator is going to give you exam questions that will leave you hugging the invigilators with glee or skulking out the hall, quietly gathering the fragments of your shattered self-confidence.

It’s not unlike examiners to send horrifying curveballs whirling towards sleep deprived students, but yesterday, Part I History students were sent a surprisingly hilarious curveball. Observe:


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‘I’m a Knight / And my only aim in life is to fight’ [HORRIBLE HISTORIES ’I’m a Knight’ song]. How accurately does this describe the role of the knightly class in English society?

Now as a lowly theologian, I can’t tell you whether this question strikes fear or joy into the hearts of aspiring English medievalist historians, yet my 10 year-old self is jumping for joy.

Horrible Histories for many of us were our introduction to formal education, and it’s satisfying to see Cambridge University acknowledging the place of this foundational scholarship.