Since It’s Midterm Season: Sample Exam Questions

Here is an item printed in the Vindicator, August 22nd, 1877:

“To those persons who think that High school is a useless luxury, used solely to teach such impractical things as Greek and Latin and a snatch of poor French, we beg to submit the following as some of the questions submitted to the male and female candidates at the recent Intermediate exams.”

To the female students –

12) How would you proceed in order to?

i) Cook a beefsteak

ii) Poach eggs

iii) To make good toast

iv) Prepare a nice dinner in the month of July, at a farm house where the only meat available is salt pork. N.B. Nothing expensive is to be used and nothing that cannot be, usually, or at least easily, had in a farm house.

Note: There ladies is an opportunity to apply your culinary art. There would be no running water; the pump might be quite a distance from the house. They would only have a wood stove on which to prepare the dinner and the cooking utensils would have been black iron pots, perhaps a few grey granite ones. The cook would likely have to see that the supply of wood was found for the fire. She might even have to cut it herself. That kitchen would be the hottest place this side of the “Infernal regions.” Did I hear someone say, oh but there would be a summer kitchen! Don’t be deceived; summer kitchens were as hot as any others. The only thing in their favour was they kept the main part of the house cooler. One redeeming feature, there would be plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on a farm in July.

A Suggested Menu

Soak the salt pork in fresh water for several hours, change the water often, this would eliminate some of the salt. The meat could then be boiled and served hot or cold with mustard, pickles or could be sliced and fried with eggs.

New potatoes, boiled and flavoured with parsley

Green peas, possibly new carrots (these would be small)

Lettuce, radishes and green onions

Homemade bread or rolls, and homemade butter, plain cookies

Usually plenty of pickles were available.


Desert – deep cherry pie, or steamed rolly poly cherry or black currant pudding with a custard sauce or cream. Or backed Rice pudding made with pump raisins.

Dried apple pie with cheese

Tea or coffee with cream, and sugar.

Whole milk


13) Why should a house be ventilated and beds aired?

14) Point out the advantages of having many windows in the house.

To male students the following were submitted for the intermediate exam.

8 ) Explain how you would feed cattle in order:

i.          to fatten them

ii.          to obtain the largest possible quantity of milk

iii.         to obtain milk of the best quality

iv.         to obtain the largest possible return in cheese

9) State where it is advisable

  1. not to plough deep
  2. to use sub-soil plough
  3. to drain

10) Explain the value of lime as manure, and state on what soils it is advantageous. Give the chemical composition of quick lime, slaked lime, mild lime, limestone and chalk.


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Filed under Early Oshawa, Schools

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