Unless you had a very solid classics education in high school, know the sources of the Danube, the Volga, the Ganges, and the Amazon off the top of your head, and are comfortable tackling some hoary arithmetic and plane geometry without the help of a calculator or Wikipedia, you’re likely to find this Harvard entrance exam from 1899 more than a little challenging. (Thanks to the NYT for digging it up.)
Granted, Latin and Greek were de rigueur for the well-heeled youths of the day — they probably would have been stumped at the Spanish and Chinese that today’s high school students are learning — but there are plenty of college graduates today who would flee in terror at that first polynomial equation.
Full entrance exam below. How would you do?