# 1912 8th Grade Exam vs. 2013 8th Grade Exam: Which Is Tougher?

Jacqueline Burt Cote

Hey, let's all play the 8th grade edition of  "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" Actually, let's play the 1912 version of the 8th grade edition of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" If, that is, you're in the mood for a little humiliation. Here's the story: An authentic 1912 8th grade exam  was recently donated to Bullitt County History Museum in Kentucky, and since then, the difficulty of the test has been generating buckets of buzz. Because quite frankly, not only are you most likely NOT smarter than an 8th grader in 1912, the average 8th grader in 2013 is most likely NOT smarter than an 8th grader in 1912, either. So this is not a case of creaky, cobweb-filled adult brains unable to access volumes of facts and figures learned years ago -- this is a case of school being way, way harder way back when.

How much harder? Well, let's "compare and contrast" (I'm pretty sure that term was on MY 8th grade exam!) the two tests and find out ...

Math

TODAY

Solve the equation below for x.

x+9 = 5 (4x-2)

a.) 1 b.) 10 c.) –8 d.) –10

1912

A man sold a watch for \$180 and lost 16 2/3 a/c. What was the cost of the watch?

Science

TODAY

A gazelle eats grass and is later eaten by a tiger. Which is the prey?

1. lion 2. tiger 3. grass 4. gazelle

1912

How does the liver compare in size to other organs of the body? Where is it located? What does it secrete?

Geography

TODAY

Which of the following is not an official language of Switzerland?

a.) French b.) Italian c.) Spanish d. German

1912

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

Anyway, you get the point. (By the way, all of the present day q's are from actual exams used in schools. I did not make them up!)

Were you able to answer any of the questions from the 1912 8th grade exam?

Image via jonnygatenby/Flickr