Can you pass this grade 8 exam?

Dawes, Stephen Stephen.Dawes at
Tue Jun 1 10:59:23 EDT 2004

Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents, and such stated that
they only had an 8th grade education? 
Well check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, KS. USA.  It
was  taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley
Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS and reprinted by the
Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam Salina, KS -1895

Grammar (Time, 1 hour)

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

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1.    Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2.   A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many
bushels of wheat will it hold?
3.   If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50
cts./bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4.   District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary
levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104
for incidentals?
5.   Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6.   Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7.   What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20
per meter?
8.   Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
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.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1.    Give the epochs into which U.S. 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, and Howe?
8.   Name events connected with the following dates:  1607; 1620; 1800;
1849; 1865

Orthography (Time, 1 hour)

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, linguals?
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.   Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word:
Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup 
8.   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.
9.   Use the following correctly in sentences, cite, site, sight, fane,
fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10.  Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation
by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, 1 hour)

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,  Heca, Yukno, St. Helena, Juan
Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.  
6.  Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.  
7.  Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.  
8.  Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same
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 the inclination of the

Gives the saying "she/he only had an 8th grade education" (when speaking
of an early 20th century person) a whole new meaning.

Steve Dawes
Phone: (403) 268-5527
Email: SDawes at

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