Can You Pass Harvard’s 1869 Entrance Exam? (We Bet Not)

Cord Jefferson

A New York Times education blogger recently uploaded to the web an 1869 Harvard entrance exam (PDF) in a post reminiscing on the days when college was "a buyer’s bazaar." Long before attending college was a cutthroat affair, so eager was Harvard to get qualified applicants that it would boast in its ads of the ease of the application exam. Click through to see if you think it’s easy.

Besides Latin, Greek, Greek history, and ancient geography, applicants were expected to know more standard educational fare like arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Not only is this slideshow a great way to find out how little you actually know about Greek language, it’s an amazing glimpse into what elite education used to mean in America, and sometimes still does: A very narrow, ethnocentric experience almost tailor-made for wealthy white men.

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