Can you pass The Citadel’s entrance exam from 1882?

A copy of The Citadel's entrance exam from 1882

In the fall of 1882, one hundred eighty-nine cadets reported to The Citadel for the first time in seventeen years. Before they were offered admission to the South Carolina Military Academy they were required to pass a rigorous 50-question entrance exam. Could you have passed the entrance exam in 1882? Take the test below and check your answers at the end!

Check out a high-resolution scan of the original entrance exam in The Citadel’s digital archives.


  1. From what place did Columbus sail on his first voyage to the New World?
  2. Where and when was the first permanent English settlement made in America?
  3. After whom was Carolina named?
  4. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
  5. Name the British and American commanders at the battle of Cowpens.
  6. What was the date of the surrender at Yorktown?
  7. What President died one month after his inauguration?
  8. What South Carolinian was one Vice-President of the United States?
  9. Name the “Original Thirteen” States.
  10. What State first seceded from the Union, and what was the date of her secession?


  1. In what direction does the earth turn?
  2. Into how many equal parts is every circle divided?
  3. What is the Equator?
  4. Name the Zones in order, beginning at the North.
  5. What is the longest river in the Western Hemisphere?
  6. Bound South Carolina.
  7. Mention the States in the United States which border on the Atlantic.
  8. What two islands chiefly compost the British Isles?
  9. Where is the “Delta of the Nile?”
  10. What is the longest river in the world? What is the highest mountain?


  1. Define a vowel; a syllable.
  2. Define etymology; syntax.
  3. Define an adjective; a verb.
  4. Compare the adjectives “bad” and “fore.”
  5. How are verbs divided with respect to their form? How with respect to their meaning?
  6. Give the three principal parts of the verbs “see” and “lay.”
  7. Decline the pronouns “I” and “it.”
  8. Define a regular verb.
  9. What is the predicate of a sentence?
  10. Parse “John gave the book to his brother and me.”


(Answers to problems will not be considered unless accompanied by the work.)

  1. What is an odd number?
  2. Define a proper fraction; improper fraction; mixed number.
  3. Add 36 5/8, 42 2/3, 39 7/16, and 51 1/4.
  4. Solve 1 1/3 + 1/2 x 1/5 – 6 1/7 ÷ 9/7.
  5. What is the denominator of a decimal?
  6. Express by figures, according to decimal notation, four million seven hundred and thirty-five thousand nine hundred and one hundred-millionths.
  7. Multiple twenty-three hundredths by nine millionths.
  8. Divide fourteen thousand two hundred and seventy-four millionths by sixty-one thousandths.
  9. Reduce 3 miles 1 furlong 17 rods 2 yards 1 foot and 8 inches to inches.
  10. If 8 men mow 40 acres of grass in 3 days, how many acres will 9 men mow in 4 days?


Correct any errors which occur in the following words:

  1. Acknowledgment
  2. Refered
  3. Changeable
  4. Batallion
  5. Beleiving
  6. Separation
  7. Nonsense
  8. Reccommend
  9. Benefitted
  10. Misellaneous

When you’re ready to see how you did, you can check the answer key here.