At the end of the course of Philosophical studies, is the exam of Universa Philosophia. Held once every 2 years, this comprehensive exam consists of 2 parts, a written exam and, for those who passed the written stage, the oral exam. This exam is the culmination of months of great effort and personal study, beginning with a month of intensive classes in the of April where the philosophical topics of the past 3 years of study were reviewed and clarified. This was followed by another month of personal study which ended in the written and oral exams.
As its name suggests, the Universa Philosophia exam covers the entirety of the scope of philosophical studies, and is intended as a review of the philosophical instruction and a deepening of their knowledge of philosophy, especially that of St. Thomas Aquinas which Mother Church consistently upholds as perennially valid.
A total of 9 seminarians took part in the exams this year. The panel of examiners for the final oral examinations consisted of 5 priests who were the teachers and formators of philosophy, who had taught the course both in Chinese and English. The oral examination consisted of each student being give a different pre-selected topic and a period of time to prepare before expounding on that topic before the panel who would then pose questions, first, on the topic just presented and then further questions from the entirety of the course.
With the attendance of our whole religious family consisting of seminarians, novices and postulants of the IVE and also religious of the SSVM, the participants were nervous and anxious but overall managed to acquit themselves well in propounding the finer points of Thomistic philosophy and fielding the various dubia thrown them by the panel of examiners.