UIHistories Project: A History of the University of Illinois by Kalev Leetaru
        S T U D E N T    L I F E

Early Scholarship Exam

The following, known as the "Competitive Examination for Prize and Honorary Scholarships in Illinois Industrial University / also of other candidates for admission" was a scholarship exam dating from 1867 for those interested in the University. How would you fare on this exam? [1]

  1. No person except an examiner is allowed to see the questions before the examination begins.
  2. No assistance of any kind is to be rendered candidates, except in explanation of the meaning of a question, in case of doubt.
  3. Only the papers of those who intend, if successful, to enter the University, should be forwarded to the Regent. Explain particularly that a failure to obtain a Scholarship need not prevent any one [sic] qualified from entering the University.
  4. The questions being on one sheet are to be separated and given to the students in the order of their numbering.
  5. Candidates should answer correctly 70 per cent. of the questions.

M. N. GREGORY, Regent


  1. Define Orthography.
  2. How many sounds in the English Language, and how many letters used to express those sounds?
  3. What is a syllable?
  4. Give us an example of a primitive and also of a derivative word.
  5. In the following sentences capitalize correctly, and give the rules: new york is the Largest of all american Cities and I heard, but I Understood not
  6. Spell the present participle of the verb To beg, and give the rule for the spelling.
  7. Spell the plural of Fly, and give the rule.
  8. Spell and capitalize correctly the following: a man named john right appeared in vue and was scene buy sevral nabors he bore in his rite hand a peace of potery and a pain of glass to which he had no write.


  1. Decline [sic] the pronouns He, Who, I.
  2. Compare the adjectives Bad, Able, Much, Benevolent, Good.
  3. Give the Synopsis of the verb Be through the indicative mood with the pronoun She.
  4. Write sentences containing That used as an adjective, a conjunction, and a relative.
  5. Define a sentence.
  6. What are the essential elements of a sentence?
  7. Define a simple, a complex, and a compound sentence.
  8. Parse the italicized words in the following sentence, and give reasons for each step:

    Breathes there a man with soul so dead,

    Who never to himself hath said,

    This is my own, my native land?

  9. I refunded him the money. Change this to the passive construction.
  10. Correct the following sentences when needed and give the reasons.
  1. Which do you like best, bread or fruit?
  2. It was him who I saw.
  3. Turn your toes out, like I do.
  4. He is an uneasy person ; he cannot lay still or set still a moment.
  5. The wisdom and justness of his decisions is now apparent.


  1. What does Mathematical Geography embrace?
  2. Name the States bordering upon the Gulf of Mexico, with their Capitals.
  3. Name the mountain ranges of North America, with their respective directions.
  4. Through what waters, and in what direction would a traveler pass in going by water from Pittsburg, Pa., toConstantinople?
  5. Name and describe three of the largest Rivers of Europe.
  6. Commencing at the mouth of the Mississippi, trace it to its sources, naming the States on each bank, and the principle cities as you pass them.
  7. In what direction and through what waters will a vessel sail from New York for a cargo of tea?
  8. Is the climate of England warmer or colder than the climate of the same latitude on this Continent? Why?
  9. Define Longitude _______


  1. Give a brief account of the first settlement of Massachusetts.
  2. What general war preceded the Revolution?
  3. What reason led France to assist us in our revolution, and what aid did she afford?
  4. Give an account of the most noted battles fought in the State of New York during the Revolutionary War.
  5. Under what form of government was the country after the Revolution?
  6. In whose administration did the war of 1812 occur? Name two important land, and two important naval battles of this war.
  7. What were our alleged reasons for the war with Mexico, and how, in consequence of this war, did Californiabecome a part of the United States?
  8. What is meant by the Missouri Compromise?
  9. What was the first battle of the war of the Rebellion?
  10. What reasons were alleged by the South in justification of the rebellion?


  1. Define the expression, numeration, notation, unit of a number, abstract number, concrete number. [sic]
  2. Give the leading principles of addition, substraction, [sic] Multiplication and Division.
  3. Define the expressions, common multiple, least common multiples, common divisor, greatest common divisor.
  4. What is a fraction, the unit of a fraction, a fractional unit?
  5. What was the leading principles of fractions?
  6. What is a decimal fraction?
  7. Give the value, with work, of the expression, ([(1/8 / 2) + 1/2)] x 5/7) / 125
  8. Give the interest, with work, of $75 for 16 months at 7 per cent.
  9. What is the square root of 125 69, with work.
  10. What is the cube root of 1729.10, with work.


  1. What do you understand by the term Quantity in Algebra.
  2. Give the names the symbols used in Algebra.
  3. Define Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Dvision in Algebra.
  4. Show that ao is equal to 1.
  5. Reduce a/b, e/d, c/f, h/g, to equivalent fractions having a common denominator.
  6. What is an equation, and what operation can you perform upon one without destroying it?
  7. Find the value of x in the equation x/3 + f cx = hdx
  8. What is the true value of (a2 b2) / (a-b) when a is equal to b.
  9. Demonstrate a rule for the extraction of the square root of numbers.
  10. Demonstrate rule [sic] for the extraction of the cube root of numbers.

[1] RS 2/1/5
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