Grade VI Exam from 1881. Can You Do It?


So I was poking about in a old book about life in the 19th century and came across this exam from a little rural school in Ontario.  Likely a one room school with a wood stove at the back, snowdrifts filling the roads, wet mittens hung to dry and an assortment of farm kids whose prospects did not go beyond the pasture gate.   If you try it, no calculators please, no computers, no iPads, no phones, no asking friends.  You are about eleven and all alone at a wooden desk with pencil, paper and brain only.  Best of luck!  I do not have the answers.


  1. Define – Multiplication, quotient, subtrahend, common multiple, L.C.M. factor, denominator, improper fraction notation, composite number.
  2. The dividend is 8973219874584, the quotient 7947 and the remainder is 13.  Find the divisor.
  1. By what must 17 miles, 121 yards, 31 feet be divided to give 37 perches?
  1. Simplify3/5ths (1-11/2 21/2)of5/7th (1-131/2)
  1. Find the value of 3 3/4 x 1/2 of 2 1/2 x 8-5/16ths x 7/12th-3/4 of 5/12ths
  1. If I buy 80 turkeys at the rate of 5 for $4.00 and sell them at the rate of 8 for $9.00, how much do I gain?
  1. Find the cost of carpeting a room 30 feet long and 8 yards wide, with the carpet 30 inches wide, at $30 per yard.
  1. How many rails will it take to enclose a field 14599 feet long by 10361 feet wide, provided the fence is straight and 9 feet high, the rails to be the longest that can be used.
  1. How many minutes between 12 o’clock noon May 24th and half past 9 A.M. September 3rd?
  1. Find the total cost of the following: A pile of wood 32 feet long, 6 feet high and 4 feet wide at $1.80 per cord. 394560 lb of wheat at $1.30 per bushel: 873200 feet of lumber at $7.50 per M; 498365 pounds of hay at $12.50 per ton. The length of fence rails was governed by law, a legal rail fence was to be built of 12 foot rails, with a three foot crook.

Geography, Grade VI.

  1. Give the names of the Zones and the lines dividing them.
  1. Define: Arctic Circle, equator, tropic of cancer, meridian longitude, strait.
  1. Arrange in order the following places beginning with the one at which the sun is first visible in the morning: Alaska, Peru, Ontario, Russia, Spain, England, Ireland, France, New Brunswick,
  1. What general direction would a ship take in going from California to Madagascar?
  1. In what waters are the following Islands: Manitoulin, Joseph, Walpole, Grand Island, Orleans and Amherst?
  1. What and where are:Vancouver, Belle Isle, Lima, Assiniboine, Chaleur, Corea, Palks, Malacca, Cambodia, Lopatka, Formosa, Madias, Damascus, Kong Zambesia, Guardafui, Agulhas, Corrientes, Manchester and Liverpool.
  1. Name and locate at least five of the principal volcanoes of the world.
  1. Over what railways would you pass in going from Fenelon Falls to Ottawa?
  2. Draw a map of South America showing two of the largest rivers, four of the principal capes and any four cities.


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