Skip to content

“Could You Pass the 1885 Admission Test for High School?”

June 24, 2008

June 16 2008

Could You Pass the 1885 Admission Test for High School?”

Submitted by Lou Neiger

A friend recently sent me this Internet link, , called “Could You Pass the 1885 Admission Test for High School?”. It is interesting the difference from 1885 to 1965 to 2008 with social promoting and subjects that have nothing to do with the basics of education. From the time when I entered high school, schools have continued to make test easier for more people to pass and ask for more money with the end product having less knowledge. How many people, let alone 14 year olds entering high school, do you know who could pass the 1885 Admission Test for High School? The following partial entrance examination for prospective high school students in Jersey City, N.J. was reprinted in the Union City, N.J., newspaper, the Hudson Dispatch, and later in the Wall Street Journal, June 9, 1992, Section A, p. 16.

Jersey City High School, JUNE, 1885


I. Define Algebra, an algebraic expression, a polynomial. Make a literal trinomial.

Algebra: A method of computation in which letters represent numbers and quantities in order to uncover an unknown quantity.

Algebraic expression: An equation consisting of a collection of variables and numbers involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or other kind of calculation.

Polynomial: A sum of two or more algebraic equations.

Literal trinomial: x + y + z

II. Write a homogeneous quadrinomial of the third degree. Express the cube root of 10ax in two ways.

2x3 – 2x2 + 3x + 5
cube root of 10ax
ax to the 1/3 power

III. Find the sum and difference of 3x – 4ay + 7cd – 4xy + 16, and 10ay – 3x – 8xy + 7cd – 13.

Sum: 6ay + 14cd – 12xy + 3


I. If a 60 days note of $840 is discounted at a bank at 4 1/2% what are the proceeds?

365-day year, $833.79

II. Find the sum of {square root of} 16.7281 and {square root of} .72 1/4.


III. The interest of $50 from March 1st to July 1st is $2.50. What is the rate?

15 percent

IV. What is the cost of 19 cwt. 83 lb. of sugar at $98.50 a ton? What is discount? A number?

Using U.S. hundred weight of 100 pounds, $97.66.

What is a discount?

Percentage rate deducted from certain quantity.

A number?

Concept of how many.

V. By selling goods at 12 1/2% profit a man clears $800. What was the cost of the goods, and for what were they sold?

If profit is based on cost, cost is $8,400 and selling price is $7,200. If based on selling price, cost is $5,600 and selling price is $6,400.

VI. A merchant offered some goods for $1170.90 cash, or $1206 payable in 30 days. Which was the better offer for the customer, money being worth 10%?



I. What is the axis of the earth? What is the equator?

The real or imaginary line on which the earth rotates or is supposed to rotate.

What is the equator?

Imaginary circle around the earth that is everywhere equally distant from the two poles and divides the earth’s surface into the northern and southern hemispheres;

What is the distance from the equator to either pole in degrees, in miles?

90 degrees, and 6,250 miles

II. Name four principal ranges of mountains in Asia, three in Europe, and three in Africa.

Asia: Himalayas, Urals, Hindu Kush and Khangal;
Europe: Alps, Carpathians and Pyrenees;
Africa: Atlas, Drakensberg and Ethiopian Highlands.

III. Name the capitals of the following countries: Portugal, Greece, Egypt, Persia, Japan, China, Canada, , Cuba.

Portugal: Lisbon, Greece: Athens, Egypt: Cairo, Japan: Tokyo, China: Peking (Beijing), Canada: Ottawa, Cuba: Havana.

IV. Name the states on the west bank of the Mississippi, and the capital of each.

Louisiana (Baton Rouge), Arkansas (Little Rock), Missouri (Jefferson City), Iowa (Des Moines) and Minnesota (St. Paul).

V. Write the state or country of the following: Detroit, Chicago, Portland, Rio Janeiro, Callao, Venice, Bombay, St. Louis, Halifax, Vera Cruz.

Michigan, Illinois, Oregon or Maine, Brazil, Peru, Italy, India, Missouri, Nova Scotia, Mexico.

VI. Name 10 countries of South America, and the capital of each.

Argentina (Buenos Aires), Bolivia (La Paz), Brazil (Brasilia), Chile (Santiago), Colombia (Bogota), Ecuador (Quito), Paraguay (Asuncion), Peru (Lima), Uruguay (Montevideo), Venezuela (Caracas).

VII. In what countries is coffee raised?

Tropical countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Nigeria.

VII. New York is nearly 75 {degrees} west of London. When it is noon at the former, what time is it at the latter?

5 p.m.


I. Analyse the following: Perseus ground his teeth with rage, for he saw that he had fallen into a trap.

II. Make a list of all the verbs in the sentence above, and give the principal parts of each of them.

Ground: grind, ground, ground; saw: see, saw, seen; had fallen: fall, fell, fallen.

III. Parse for, had fallen, that, saw

For: preposition introducing the prepositional clause “for he saw,” which is used to explain Perseus’ rage.

Had fallen: past perfect tense of the verb fall; this tense is used to indicate that the action of falling took place at a time before the action of seeing.

Saw: simple past tense of the verb “to see,” used here to indicate a) what caused Perseus’ rage, and b) the sequence of events in the sentence.

IV. Give two uses of the hyphen.

To join two words used as a compound noun; to indicate division at the end of a line of type.

Copy the sentence below, and punctuate it properly. “Will you please to tell me boys, for what the reindeer is useful”?

Will you please to tell me, boys, for what the reindeer is useful?

V. Write a sentence containing a noun used as an attribute, a verb in the perfect tense potential mood, and a proper adjective.

VI. Correct

{a} It is only me.

It is only I. Predicate nominative.

{b} Who did she invite?

Whom did she invite? Object of verb invite.

VII. Write the declension of

{a} bird,

bird, birds

{b} man,

man, men

VIII. Write four lines of poetry, giving particular attention to the use of capitals, and to punctuation.

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime;
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and spend our long love’s day.

IX. Make three sentences, using the plural of sheep

{1} in the nominative case,

The sheep are in the meadow.

{2} in the possessive,

The sheep’s wool was carded.

{3} in the objective.

We sheared all the sheep.


I. What people settled Massachusetts?

The English Puritans

Where did they land, and what was their character?

They landed at Plymouth Rock, Boston, Mass.; and Providence, R.I.

They were strongly religious and believed in predestination, divine omnipotence, and the need to create a holy community that could serve as a model for other people.

II. Name four Spanish explorers and state what induced them to come to America.

Ponce De Leon, Balboa, Coronado, Cortez;
To conquer and Christianize the inhabitants.

III. What event do you connect with 1565, 1607, 1620, 1664, 1775?

1565 — Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine, Fla.
1607 — Jamestown settled.
1620 — 103 Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
1664 — British seized New Netherland from Dutch.
1775 — Battles of Lexington and Concord.

IV. Name the thirteen colonies that declared their independence in 1776.

Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.

V. Name three events of 1777. Which was the most important and why?

Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Brandywine; Saratoga was the most important, since British Gen. Burgoyne was stopped in his push southward.

VI. What caused the war of 1812?

Disputes over British interference with American shipping and impressments of American sailors; concern that the British were instigating Indian uprisings; and American land hunger.

Who was president during that war?

James Madison

What was the result of it?

The United States acquired Indian lands in the Southeast and Old Northwest; Spain subsequently agreed to recognize a U.S. boundary extending to the Pacific Ocean; the Federalists were stigmatized as traitors.

VII. What form of government was established in 1789?

A federal system of government

Into what three branches was the government divided?

Executive, legislative, and judicial branches

What do the Senate and House of Representatives constitute?

The legislative branch

VIII. What caused the Mexican war?

Disputes between Mexico and the United States over the Texas border and Mexico’s refusal to sell California and New Mexico to the United States.

What was the result?

The United States acquired California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming, and established the Texas-Mexico boundary at the Rio Grande River.

How many people do you know who could pass this test now? How many 14 year olds who are entering high school would pass this test? Give this to some of your friends and let them try. For the full test go to the above mentioned Internet link. We need to support our local public schools and encourage the promotion of excellence in education. South Carolina still has twenty to nearly fifty percent of our young adults dropping out of our public schools state wide from eighth grade on. Ask our state and school administrators to go back and teach the basics.

Till next time.

Louis Neiger

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2008 7:01 am

    Although slightly different – this is another of those internet jokes.

  2. Lou permalink
    June 25, 2008 11:22 am

    Obvious JBV did not go yo web page and check out as reported in article. Must be an adminastrator with nothing else to do.

  3. LOU from SC permalink
    June 25, 2008 11:38 am

    MFAH, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Chicago Historical Society and National park Service, US Department of Interior jst to name a few of the sponsers of the web page.
    There are many other interesting thing about US History.

    LOU from SC

  4. Silence Dogood permalink
    July 3, 2008 10:16 am

    This is a bogus test in that it was never an 1885 high school entrance exam. Note for example that Brasilia was not the capital of Brazil in 1885 since the city was a planned capital that wasn’t built until the 1900s (1950s?)

    None the less, that is just one of the reasons you can look and quickly know the test is B.S., but it does give a good insight into who is really pushing an “agenda” by “pushing” this fake test.

    • May 16, 2017 1:08 pm

      Trying to watch all the MacGyver videos, I get "We're sorry, this video is no longer av;euabli.&qlotaAnd yes, I'm in the US.and I was so excited to learn how to make a bomb with gum and a paperclip …

  5. Loud Dobad permalink
    July 4, 2008 8:07 pm

    The third answer to II is wrong anway. It should be (10ax)^(1/3), not (ax)^(1/3)

  6. May 17, 2013 6:15 am

    I will immediately clutch your rss as I can not find your email
    subscription link or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly permit me understand in order that I may subscribe.

  7. July 16, 2013 10:15 pm

    You can go through the internet for finding relevant Host – Gator coupon codes and
    reviews, but it wastes your lots of time and effort.

    These only test the patience of people who are looking for your website.
    Dedicated Plans supply a Linux or a Windows Dedicated Server.

  8. May 16, 2017 10:31 am

    I couldnt agree more!! We both trust each other, it so nice to have that peace of trust!! After a horrible first marriage an divorce never again would i want to lose that trust! I am so blessed to have a wonrdeful soon to be hubby now

  9. May 31, 2017 1:15 pm

    Have you ever been the only sober person in a group of drunk people and all of the drunk people are trying to have a conversation but they just end up talking themselves in circles until they pass out? That’s what reading this book is like. You are the sober person and the author is an entire group of drunk people. If this is your criminal law textbook go ahead and purchase one of the supplements for the course. I am partial to the Examples and Explanations but the Mastering Criminal Law is another good one.


  1. jersey james west
  2. Could you pass this 19th century secondary school entrance exam?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: