1860 List of Questions to be Answered by Candidates for Admission to the High School

Are you smarter than an 1860 eighth grader?

According to Clippership Publications, “In the mid-19th century, a high school education was beyond the needs and the finances of the average person. Many smaller communities did not have a high school, and those students who wished to attend one needed to apply for admission to the high school of a nearby community. To be sure that students coming in from other areas were sufficiently prepared, many high schools had entrance exams.”

Here are the questions that Clippership Publications has published from the test used in 1860 in Chicopee, Massachusetts. If you'd like to see if you're smarter than an 1860 eighth grader, take the exam (below) and send your answers to Mary Lloyd-Evans at MLloydEvans@nullgmail.com or PO Box 88, East Andover 03231. Mary will correct your exam, and if anyone scores 100%, we'll announce their achievement in the Beacon.

Feel free to do whatever research you need to in order to take exam in the context of the times. Where appropriate (particularly in the Arithmetic section), show your work.

For more information about Clippership Publications, visit www.Clippership-Publications.com.


List of Questions to be Answered

by Candidates for Admission

to the High School


1.     How much of the earth's surface is land?

2.     In what direction from Chicopee is New Orleans?

3.     Mention the principal mountains in North America.

4.     Where is the Black Sea? Yellow Sea? Baffin's Bay?

5.     Where is the Caribbean Sea? Hudson's Bay?

6.     Mention the political divisions of South America.

7.     What is the capital of Arkansas? Of Ohio? Of Maine?

8.     Name the Southern States; the Middle States.

9.     What is the capital of Austria? Of Spain? Of Prussia?

10.   Where are the Pyrenees Mountains? The Alps?

11.   Where is Cape Horn? Cape Sable? Cape Cod?

12.   Where is Brazil, France, and the State of New York?

13.   How many Zones are there? Name them.

14.   How many motions has the earth?

15.   What is Latitude? What is Longitude?

16.   In what Latitude is Europe? S. America? Australia?

17.   Name the oceans. Which is largest?

18.   Name the principal manufacturing towns and cities in New England.

19.   What is Isthmus? What is a peninsula?

20.   Suppose you were to go all the way by water from Chicopee to St. Petersburg: through what waters would you sail?


1.     How many parts of speech are there?

2.     What is a Conjunction? Pronoun? Interjection?

3.     What is an Adjective? Noun? Verb?

4.     How many cases have nouns? Name them.

5.     What are the different modes of a verb?

6.     What is a regular verb?

7.     Write the principal parts of the verb to write.

8.     How many tenses has the imperative mood?

9.     In the sentence, “John is a better boy than Samuel,” parse, is, better, boy, and Samuel and give the rules.

10.   Decline the pronoun I, also the pronoun, he.

11.   In the sentence, “The bird flew swiftly over the house,” parse, flew, swiftly, over, and house. Which is the subject and which is the predicate?

12.   Correct this: “Mary and me called to see Aunt Nancy but she had went out before we reached her house.”

13.   In the sentence, “I will tell you what I saw at Paris,” parse will, tell, you, what, and at.

14.   Give the indicative mode, perfect tense of the verb to come; also the subjunctive mode, future tense of the same verb.


1.     Write in words these numbers 87000039, 49701342641714

2.     What is Subtraction? What is the Minuend? What is the Subtrahend?

3.     If a man's income is 8467 dollars a year, and he spends 269 dollars for clothing, 467 for house rent, and spends 879 for provision, and 146 for traveling: how much will he have left at the end of the year?

4.     Multiply 105070 by 8145. Divide 79165238 by 288.

5.     Mr. Nelson supplied his farm with 4 yoke of oxen at 98 dollars a yoke; 4 plows at 11 dollars apiece; 8 horses at 97 dollars each, and agrees to pay for them in wheat at 1 dollar and a half per bushel. How many bushels must be given?

6.     How many mills in 8 dollars?

7.     How many kinds of Reduction are there?

8.     Write the table for Avoirdupois Weight.

9.     If a vessel sails 5 L., 2 m., 6 fur., 36 rds. in one day, how far will it sail in 8 days?

10. In £15, 19s, 1 d, 8 far., how many farthings?

11. Reduce 87 & 11/24 to an improper fraction.

12. Add 9, 2/3, 1/15, 5/6, and 2/9 together.

13. If a house is worth 320 dollars, what is 9/16th of it worth?

14. What will 15 & 2/3 cords of wood cost at 8 & 6/7 dollar a cord?

15. Divide 7 & 1/17 by 3 & 3/5 and reduce the answer to a simple fraction.

16. What is the amount of $125.75 for a year, 9 months and 27 days at 7 per cent?

17. A. owes B. 600 dollars; one third is to be paid in 6 months, one fourth in 8 months, and the remainder in 12 months: What is the mean time of payment?

18. How many days have you lived?