Nightly News   |  September 09, 2013

Think college is hard? Check out this high school test

Kentucky in the early 1900s really quizzed its students trying to enter high school. Would you be able to pass? NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight this next story is for all those parent who is proudly display bumper stickers saying their child is an honor student . in kentucky they have unearthed a century-old high school entrance exam that would make a lot of folks proud just to say their child got into high school . the story tonight from kevin tibbles.

>> reporter: life was likely simpler in rural kentucky a century ago, but don't assume for a second it was a cinch for the kids in the old one-room schoolhouse.

>> i probably could not pass it.

>> reporter: the history museum unearthed this high school entrance exam from 1912 to prove it. do you think bill gates could pass this test? [ laughter ]

>> i can't pass this test probably and i wrote the answers.

>> reporter: before the first world war when wilson was president and the "titanic" met the iceberg, kids in 8th grade were asked, at $1.62 1/2 a cord what would be the price of wood 24 feet long, four feet wide and 6'3" high? yikes! or who invented the cotton gin , sewing machine, telephone, phonograph. head scratchers even in 2013 .

>> we did google searches to get it done which they would not have had then.

>> reporter: back a hundred years ago before they took the test kids walked for miles to reach the schoolhouse hoping to get there before the teacher rang the bell. of course kids these days cram just as hard, but some of these old-fashioned questions confound newfangled minds. do you think you could pass this test?

>> no.

>> reporter: describe the battle of quebec .

>> quebec -- i'm not familiar with that one.

>> reporter: if you had a difficult math problem today, how would you solve the problem?

>> you could use a calculator.

>> reporter: oh, how times have changed. one thing has remained constant -- no matter what the questions, kids still stress over exams, proving the more things change, the more they do stay the same. kevin tibbles, nbc news, shepherdsville, kentucky .