Crossword Genius

Severe test — exam without notes (6)

Ross

I believe the answer is:

ordeal

Here is my best explanation:

'severe test' is the definition.

(I've seen this before)

'exam without notes' is the subsidiary indication.

'exam' becomes 'oral' (spoken academic test).

'without' is an insertion indicator.

'notes' becomes 'de' (**).

'oral' placed around 'de' is 'ordeal'.

This clue was last seen in The Times

(Other definitions for ordeal that I've seen before include "Trial; nightmare", "Severe trial", "Painful experience", "Difficult and testing experience", "Torture", "Loader (anag.)", "Tribulation", "Severly trying experience", "Difficult or arduous experience" and "Suffering - trial".)

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