How Well Would You Do On This 8th Grade Final Exam From 1895?

July 30, 2016

Most of us have at least one school story of an exam that no amount of studying could prepare you for. Almost like we were destined for failing the test…long before we even took it.

You probably have at least a few childhood memories of a grade school exam that you dreaded, or the test that produced the lowest class score ever. But eventually those exams ended, and we moved on to new challenges in life that weren’t graded in red ink.

We are now at a point in our life where we watch our children sometimes struggle with their studies, just as we did.  And when our kids bring home an exam they passed in school, we can’t help but wonder if (as adults) we would be able to achieve the same grade.

As a parent who has forgotten many of our “elementary teachings“, I know you look at their questions and say: “they did a thousand times better than I would have!”

But if you think the exams our children bring home today are tough, you haven’t seen anything yet!

Take a look at the following 8th grade final exam that dates back to 1895 and put yourself to the test!  You’ll likely discover very quickly that this exam might be one of the reasons so few needed to go to high school back then, much less a college or university.

Grammar (60 minutes)

  1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
  2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
  3. Define
    • Verse
    • Stanza
    • Paragraph
  4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of
    • do
    • lie
    • lay
    • run
  5. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
  6. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (85 minutes)

  1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
  2. A wagon box is 2 ft deep, 10 ft long, and 3 ft wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
  3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 pounds, what is it worth at 50¢ per bu, deducting 1,050 pounds for tare?
  4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school 7 months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
  5. Find cost of 6,720 pounds of coal at $6.00 per ton.
  6. Find the interest on $512.60 for 8 months 18 days at 7%.
  7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 feet long at 20¢ per inch?
  8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10%.
  9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
  10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

US History (45 minutes)

  1. Give the epochs into which US History is divided.
  2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
  3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
  4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
  5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
  6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
  7. Who were the following:
    • Morse
    • Whitney
    • Fulton
    • Bell
    • Lincoln
    • Penn
    • Howe
  8. Name events connected with the following dates:
    • 1607
    • 1620
    • 1800
    • 1849
    • 1865

Orthography (60 minutes)

  1. What is meant by the following:
    •  alphabet
    •  phonetic orthography
    •  etymology
    •  syllabication
  2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
  3. What are the following, and give examples of each:
    • trigraph
    • subvocals
    • diphthong
    • cognate letters
    • lingual
  4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
  5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
  6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
  7. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound:
    • card
    • ball
    • mercy
    • sir
    • odd
    • cell
    • rise
    • blood
    • fare
    • last
  8. Use the following correctly in sentences:
    • cite, site, sight
    • fane, fain, feign
    • vane, vain, vein
    • raze, raise, rays
  9. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (60 minutes)

  1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
  2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
  3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
  4. Describe the mountains of North America.
  5. Name and describe the following:
    • Monrovia
    • Odessa
    • Denver
    • Manitoba
    • Hecla
    • Yukon
    • St Helena
    • Juan Fernandez
    • Aspinwall
    • Orinoco
  6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the US.
  7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
  8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
  9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
  10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

THAT’S THE END!  So…how did you do??