8th grade exam from 1912 puts adults to the test


by ABC News/ Michelle Arnold


Posted on August 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 5:46 PM

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) —David Strange has been answering phone calls from some big names-- the Huffington post, Smithsonian magazine, and it’s all over a piece of paper.

In fact, the Bullitt County exam from the early 20th century has gone viral. The county history museum website averages a few hundred hits a week. In the last week, that number has grown exponentially.

“We've gotten over 250,000 hits that I know of before our counter quit counting,” the Executive Director of Bullitt County History Museum, said.

A local Bullitt County woman brought the 1912 eighth grade exam to the museum more than a year ago. Since its rediscovery, the questions have been head scratchers for many readers.

Here is coverage from ABC News after the story went viral:

A museum in Kentucky has unearthed a rare find: an 8th grade exam given to students 100 years ago.

“For us, this is just fascinating,” David Lee Strange, a volunteer at the Bullitt County History Museum, told ABC News. “It puts us in the mindset of 1912.”

The exam spans eight subjects: spelling, reading, arithmetic, grammar, geography, physiology, civil government and history.

“Some people say that the questions are trivial, but the questions relate to what the children at the time would have been familiar with,” Strange said.

For example, there’s a geography query: “Locate the following countries which border each other: Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania.”

An 8th grader today may have trouble with that one but “the students back then would have to be familiar with that part of the world,” according to Strange.

Strange explained, “1912 was right around the corner from what would become World War I. Eighteen students in Bullitt County would go on to die in that war.”

The exam also asks students to define the cerebrum and cerebellum, differentiate between copyright and patent rights, and define each part of speech in the English language.

Think you have what it takes to pass the 8th grade? Take a shot at these final exam questions:

How long of a rope is required to reach from the top of a building 40 feet high to the ground 30 feet from the base of a building?

What is a personal pronoun?

Through which waters would a vessel pass in going from England through the Suez Canal to Manila?

Compare arteries and veins as to function. Where is the blood carried to be purified?

During which wars were the following battles fought: Brandywine, Great Meadows, Lundy’s Lane, Antietam, Buena Vista?

Sketch briefly Sir Walter Raleigh, Peter Stuyvesant.

Answers to the exam can be found on the Bullitt County History Museum’s website.