It was a big year, 1926. Robert Goddard launched the first rocket. Pontiac cars were introduced by General Motors. Winnie-the-Pooh was published. And for the first time, the College Board administered a standardized test that would come to live in dreams and nightmares as the SAT.
Yep, the Scholastic Aptitude Test: bane of high school students for 87 years and counting.
The old-timey SAT was similar only in the broadest sense to the test we know today. It gave students both multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. It was first administered to 8,040 candidates -- 60 percent (hey, only 60 percent!) of whom were male. It consisted of 315 questions, which students had 97 minutes to answer.
And while today's SAT has three core sections (Critical Reading, Math, and Writing), the SAT of 1926 had nine sub-tests, seven devoted to verbal skills and two devoted to math: Word Definitions, Arithmetical Problems, Word Classification, Antonyms, Number Series, Analogies, Logical Inference, Paragraph Reading, and Artificial Language.
You read that right: Artificial Language. And this section was, it turns out, fantastically literal. The writers of that first SAT actually constructed a fake language for students to translate during their 97 minutes of aptitude-testing. The trial tongue is unnamed, alas, yet distinctly Esperanto-esque.