Entrance exams for the MGU sociology faculty, or 'All you need to bring is a pen'

Sociology Student, MGU:


I would like to support you and to provide some information which will, I think, be interesting. I am not going to come out in the open and give my name, I have a lot to lose at present. I well understand that in so far as there will be no actual names in my account (and I can actually only name two people anyway), it may appear like an unsubstantiated accusation. Still, I hope it will be published because it will resonate both within and outside the faculty, where the administration knows what I am writing about far better than I do. Like you, it is important to me to receive a good education and I cannot bear the constant pressures exerted by the administration.

Entrance exams for the MGU sociology faculty, or 'All you need to bring is a pen'.

It so happened that my father, without my asking, decided to ‘insure' me and paid someone so that I would certainly get in.

I knew about this a day before the exam and was hurt to discover that my father had no faith in me, but, it was too late and a lot of money had been spent.

I want to provide a brief account of how the sociology faculty ‘admissions' system works for children who pay.

On balance, I have no idea how they grade the exam essay because they only give a score - if the score is higher than a 2 (D) then the candidate goes through to the next exam.


A day before the exam a pleasant female voice phoned and said that after the exam I should go immediately to a lecture hall on the first floor (I don't remember which one).

To my astonishment, about 30 people were gathered in the lecture hall. Several lecturers came in with the exam papers we had just submitted. On each paper was a sticker with a number (representing the amount by which each candidate's grade should be raised, according to their performance in the essay exam). They explained how to solve the maths problems and then sat down with the prospective students to help them correct their work ‘as much as was needed'.

General Knowledge

Two days later a pleasant voice phoned and said that on the day of the exam I should go to Lecture Hall 100 and something, in the sociology faculty. I arrived and there was a queue all the way down the corridor. It would seem that people had decided to economise and just pay to pass General Knowledge because there were far more people than for Maths.

The door to the office was open and everyone behaved as if a totally normal everyday thing was happening.

A woman with a kind smile was sitting behind the desk in the office. On the desk was a box of new pens in four colours. I chose a pen offered by the woman and she used it to write my name on a piece of paper, saying that I must write my General Knowledge exam with the exact same pen, and heaven forbid if I forgot or lost it.

After that it was all easy, I got the required number of points on the test.

To be honest, it was very nasty to see people in the Maths and General Knowledge exams who just sat and sat, gave in blank, absolutely blank exam papers, and were admitted nonetheless. [...]

And that is the story.