Originally created 01/09/98

Tests give glimpse of students

The C students run the world.

-- Harry Truman

There was good news for Georgia schools this week.

First, state officials said they needed more money because more youngsters than expected were earning HOPE scholarships.

Second, a national education magazine praised the academic standards set by Georgia schools. Education Week gave Georgia an "A" for setting high standards for core subjects.

Of course, things could be better. And there are still those out there who suggest that school used to be tougher.

Was it really?

You and I might think so. But so did our parents and grandparents.

To give you some objective idea, I present some questions from more than a century ago -- an 1890 Georgia Tech entrance exam.

Try your hand at these, and see for yourself.


The largest portion of this test was grammar. Here are some examples:

Parse the italicized words in the following sentence: James had returned home before the rain began to fall.

Write the third person singular of the verb "to do" in all its moods and tenses.

Give the three degrees of comparison of the following adjectives: good, beautiful, little, bad, ill.

Give a sentence containing a verb in the active voice, and then change it to the passive; also a sentence using an infinitive as a noun; also sentences showing that the same word may be used as an adjective and a noun.


Here are some from history and geography test sections for those Tech applicants before the turn of the century.

Name the presidents in order to Cleveland, and place opposite the name of each the length of his term of service.

Give the capitals and the principal cities of the following countries: England, France, Germany, Russia and Brazil.

Mention the rivers of Georgia and Texas.

Name the countries which lie on the eastern and southern coasts of Asia.

Through what waters would you pass in going by steamer from Pittsburgh, Pa., to St. Petersburg, Russia.


Divide by decimal division, two-tenths by one tens of millionths.

Divide 34 bu., 2 pks., 5 qts., 1 pt. by 7.

A speculator sold 18 mules for $2,148.84, thereby making a profit of 26 percent. What did the mules cost apiece?

If 450 soldiers are to be furnished with clothing, each suit requiring 9 yards of cloth 1 yard wide, how many yards of flannel, 3/4 of yard in width, would be required to line the suits?

Define notations, numeration, and factor.

(Time allowed, two hours.)

How'd you do?

Somehow, I suspect, I would not have been an engineering student a century ago, much less today.


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