College Entrance Exam, Before the SAT

This is a college entrance exam that predated the SAT (College Board).  There are 6 sections: Latin & Latin Grammar, Greek Grammar, History and Geography, Arithmetic (including Logarithms and Trigonometry), Algebra, and Plane Geometry.  As the exam was required for admission to Harvard in 1869, calculators were not allowed.

This is a link to Free SAT Practice Questions, as provided by the college board.  There are 3 sections: Reading, Math, and Writing.  Calculators are required and students are given the following  reference information (graphic provides representations and formulas for Area and Circumference of a Circle, Area of a Rectangle and Triangle, Volume of a Rectangular Cube and Cylinder, Pythagoras’ Theorem, and formulas for the hypotenuse and side of 45/45/90 and 30/60/90 Triangles).

Below are some examples to compare and contrast. 

I.  Harvard Entrance Exam, 1869, Arithmetic
Note: Applicants are given a pencil and paper and are reminded to ensure their responses are concise, legible, and accurate.

  • Reduce 184800 / 1180410 to its lowest terms.  What is a prime number?  When are two numbers said to be prime to each other?  Reduce the numerator and denominator of the above fraction to their prime factors.
  • One meter = 39.37 inches.  Compute from the datum the value of 4 miles in kilometers.

II.  Modern SAT, MATH

There is no arithmetic on the modern SAT because students are given calculators.

I.  Harvard Entrance Exam, 1869, Algebra

  • A man bought a watch, a chain, and a locket for $216.  The watch and locket together cost three times as much as the chain, and the chain and locket together cost half as much as the watch.  What was the price of each?
  • Find x, in terms of a, b, and c from the equation (a-2x)/b = (cx-bc)/a .

What is the value of x when a=2, b=-1, and c=3?

II.  Modern SAT, MATH

  • A cyclist bikes from town A to town B and back to town A in 3 hours. He bikes from A to B at a speed of 15 miles/hour while his return speed is 10 miles/hour. What is the distance between the 2 towns?
    (a) 11 miles
    (b) 18 miles
    (c) 15 miles
    (d) 12 miles
    (e) 10 miles
  • How many integers x are there such that 2x < 100, and at the same time the number 2x + 2 is an integer divisible by both 3 and 2?
    (a) 1
    (b) 2
    (c) 3
    (d) 4
    (e) 5
  • If 5xy = 210, and x and y are positive integers, each of the following could be the value of x + y except:
    (a) 13
    (b) 17
    (c) 23
    (d) 15
    (e) 43

I. Modern SAT, READING

  • Today Wegener’s theory is ____ ; however, he died an outsider treated with ____ by the scientific establishment.
    A. unsupported – approval
    B. dismissed – contempt
    C. accepted – approbation
    D. unchallenged – disdain
    E. unrivalled – reverence
  • The revolution in art has not lost its steam; it ____ on as fiercely as ever.
    A. trudges
    B. meanders
    C. edges
    D. ambles
    E. rages

II. Modern SAT, Writing – Grammer

Part 1 – Identify the grammatical error in each sentence.

1. Illiteracy is an enormous problem,A it affectsB millions of people worldwide,C and is an impediment toD social progress.  No errorE.

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

2. The company president has takenA steps to ensure that sheB can handle the pressure and anxiety associated withC the job, includingD joining a yoga class and enlisting the support of a network of friends. No errorE.

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

Part 2 – Select the correct wording for the incorrectly worded portion of each sentence.

1. Trying to keep her balance on the icy surface, the last competitor’s ski-tip caught the pole and somersaulted into the soft snow.

A. the last competitor’s ski-tip caught the pole and somersaulted into the soft snow.
B. the ski-tip of the last competitor caught the pole and somersaulted in the soft snow.
C. the last competitor caught the pole with the tip of her ski, and somersaulted into the soft snow.
D. the last competitor caught the pole with her ski-tip, which made her somersault into the soft snow.
E. the last competitor somersaulted into the soft snow when the tip of her ski was caught by the pole.

Part 3 – Edit a given essay.

Questions 1-6 refer to the following passage, which is a draft of an essay:

(1)Cicero said, “A room without a book is a body without a soul.” (2) Certainly when I enter someone’s home for the first time, I am likely to gravitate to the bookshelf, in part to glean further insight into the personality of its owner. (3) But now that the family encyclopedia is likely to have been replaced by a CD-ROM it is possible that the book might be reduced to an item of decoration rather than information and entertainment.

1. Which is the best version of the underlined portion of sentence 3 (reproduced below)?
But now that the family encyclopedia is likely to have been replaced by a CD-ROM it is possible that the book might be reduced to an item of decoration rather than information and entertainment.

A. might be reduced to an item of decoration rather than information
B. might be reduced to an item of decoration rather than a source of information
C. will be reduced to an item of decoration rather than information
D. will be reduced to an item of decoration rather than a source of information
E. could be reduced to an item of decoration rather than information

III. Modern SAT, Writing – Essay

Time has a doomsday book, on whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated characters never to be effaced.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Assignment:
Are there some heroes who will be remembered forever? Or are all heroes doomed to be forgotten one day? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)

III.  Harvard Entrance Exam, 1869, Reading & Writing

The Harvard entrance exam from 1869 contained no formal sections on Reading or Writing.  However applicants were asked the following questions which required written responses.

History and Geography {Note:  Applicants were expected to answer all of these questions and more}

  • Describe the route of the Ten Thousand, or lay it down on a map {Note: a map the applicants were expected to draw – not one provided to them}
  • Pharsalia, Philippi, and Actium – geographically and historically.
  • Compare Athens with Sparta.

Plane Geometry

  • Prove that similar triangles are to each other as the squares of their homologous sides.
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