All Souls College is unique in that has no undergraduate students. All members of the college are Fellows. Each year the most outstanding Oxford undergraduate students are invited to take the All Souls examination in order to become Examination Fellows.
The examination is widely considered one of the hardest in the world. It consists of four three hour papers sat over two days. Until 2010 one of the papers consisted of an essay written on a single word, such as 'novelty', 'mercy', 'integrity' or 'possessions'. A handful of finalists go on to an oral examination with the Fellows, and then a dinner; up to two are then chosen as Examination Fellows. Sometimes none at all are chosen. Once selected, the successful applicants are given a seven year fellowship, without teaching responsibilities, in order to pursue their academic studies.