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1906: Becoming a clerk at the Bank of England Part Two

Okay, here's an extract from the Arithmetic Test:
Time allowed 3 hours
Candidates must write their names in full on every sheet of paper that they use. The complete working of each question must be shewn (sic) on the fair copy of their work, on the white paper, otherwise full marks will not be given.
1. Write down in words 28013026; and express in figures two hundred and three million ninety thousand six hundred and four.
2. Write down in column, and add up the following amounts:- £8,460 18s 2d., £282 13s 7d., £37 19s 11d., £757 10s 2d., £567,892 15s 1d., £476 17s 2d., £83,395 6s 1d., £31 19s 9d., £1,001 4s 6d., £9 8s 11d., £292 11s 3d., £5351 10s 2d.
3. Divide £739 11s 11d by 556.
4. Find the G.C.M. of 3192 and 7809.
....

Comments

  • Jesus, people were dumb back in 1906.
  • So to work at the Bank of England in 1906, you had to do an A-level in geography, but only a year 6 SATs in maths.
    Sounds like they got their priorities wrong.
  • So to work at the Bank of England in 1906, you had to do an A-level in geography, but only a year 6 SATs in maths.
    Sounds like they got their priorities wrong.

    I think it shows how much education has improved in 108 years, that and the invention of the calculator!
  • I agree that in comparison to the other questions these are easy, but I'll admit I can't remember how to find the GCM of two numbers. Besides, I'm too youthful and good looking to work out the shillings..

    I remember going around Chatham Dockyard and seeing the maths that the young apprentices used to have to do in Victorian times, just to get an apprenticeship at the yard - now that was some mind boggling stuff.
  • So to work at the Bank of England in 1906, you had to do an A-level in geography, but only a year 6 SATs in maths.
    Sounds like they got their priorities wrong.

    I think it shows how much education has improved in 108 years, that and the invention of the calculator!
    Think that's a bit harsh. Their work probably involved little more than adding up columns and some repetitive basic arithmetic. The skill needed was accuracy and concentration not a mathematics degree. This test just did that. Don't know how many factors are there in those two numbers but you could easily miss a few after the first few hundred mental arithmetic divisions.
  • GCM looks like it stands for Greatest Common Multiple (which would be infinity) whereas it should be Lowest Common Multiple, so I guess it must stand for something else. Anyone?
  • GCM looks like it stands for Greatest Common Multiple (which would be infinity) whereas it should be Lowest Common Multiple, so I guess it must stand for something else. Anyone?

    I had to look it up earlier! Can't remember what it was, but it essentially meant highest common factor.
  • Greatest Common Multilple is the highest number that divides into both numbers but don't know how you work it out apart from trial and error, I think we used to have a book with tables of factors at school.
  • Fantastic ...

    wonder how many who passed the test were back at their desks by dec 1918?
  • So to work at the Bank of England in 1906, you had to do an A-level in geography, but only a year 6 SATs in maths.
    Sounds like they got their priorities wrong.

    I think it shows how much education has improved in 108 years, that and the invention of the calculator!
    Think that's a bit harsh. Their work probably involved little more than adding up columns and some repetitive basic arithmetic. The skill needed was accuracy and concentration not a mathematics degree. This test just did that. Don't know how many factors are there in those two numbers but you could easily miss a few after the first few hundred mental arithmetic divisions.
    Good point, but try and explain the reason for the difficult geography questions!

    GCM is greatest common factor, you use Euclid's Alogirthm, it would take a while without a calculator, with one you could do it in 5 minutes.
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  • Euclids Algorithm or Logarithm ? all the same only on Charlton life ...fanatastic !
  • Is the GCM 57? Or have I cocked up?
  • It is the Greatest Common Multiplier. A very old fashioned phrase. More usually today we refer to the GCF or Greatest Common Factor. Its not a difficult thing to do but has multiple steps, if you're working without a calculator as they would have been in 1906, I can see it taking a while but 3 Hours?

    Broadly it would involve finding the lowest common prime number that factors into the original number then calculating the product of those lowest common primes, as I say not hard if you know your times table but extraordinarily tedious.
  • So to work at the Bank of England in 1906, you had to do an A-level in geography, but only a year 6 SATs in maths.
    Sounds like they got their priorities wrong.

    I think it shows how much education has improved in 108 years, that and the invention of the calculator!
    Think that's a bit harsh. Their work probably involved little more than adding up columns and some repetitive basic arithmetic. The skill needed was accuracy and concentration not a mathematics degree. This test just did that. Don't know how many factors are there in those two numbers but you could easily miss a few after the first few hundred mental arithmetic divisions.
    Good point, but try and explain the reason for the difficult geography questions!

    GCM is greatest common factor, you use Euclid's Alogirthm, it would take a while without a calculator, with one you could do it in 5 minutes.
    Yeah, I reckon the answer is 19. But how do you write down the "complete working of your answer". I guess saying "trial & error" would not have been deemed sufficient?
    And I reckon Dippenhall's right about what attributes they were looking for. That and using a quill pen. It's probably time for me to own up to working at the BoE in 1971 and even then mistakes in the handwritten ledgers were a big, big no-no. I did once leave a cheque for £45mn in my desk drawer overnight rather than paying it in. I wasn't very popular. Interest rates were quite high then and I worked out I'd have to work for free for 4 years to pay off the overnight interest. (I think, in today's terms, £45mn is about 1.25 Roland Duchatelets.)
  • "Good point, but try and explain the reason for the difficult geography questions!"

    In those days anyone who had been to school would have been forced to memorise virtually every capital city, mountain range and major river system that appeared on a globe. Might have proved they had been to school and could keep awake while being utterly bored.
  • Is the GCM 57? Or have I cocked up?

    Yes, 57. Took me about 5 minutes on paper
  • Is the GCM 57? Or have I cocked up?

    I don't know, I assumed it had to be a prime number and 3 x 19 = 57.

  • edited April 2014

    "Good point, but try and explain the reason for the difficult geography questions!"

    In those days anyone who had been to school would have been forced to memorise virtually every capital city, mountain range and major river system that appeared on a globe. Might have proved they had been to school and could keep awake while being utterly bored.

    Guess it's the skill to do repetitive boring work!

    No trial and error in the algorithm cafcfan!

    57 is right 19 is the greatest prime factor, and 3 the lowest common factor.
  • cafcfan said:

    Is the GCM 57? Or have I cocked up?

    I don't know, I assumed it had to be a prime number and 3 x 19 = 57.

    Why would it have to be prime?

    57 divides evenly into both numbers, and it's the largest number that does so.

    If GCM is the same as HCF then it has to be 57. If it's actually 'what is the biggest prime number that divides evenly into both numbers', then a) what is the value of this information? and b) it would be 19.
  • IA said:

    cafcfan said:

    Is the GCM 57? Or have I cocked up?

    I don't know, I assumed it had to be a prime number and 3 x 19 = 57.

    Why would it have to be prime?

    57 divides evenly into both numbers, and it's the largest number that does so.

    If GCM is the same as HCF then it has to be 57. If it's actually 'what is the biggest prime number that divides evenly into both numbers', then a) what is the value of this information? and b) it would be 19.
    It doesn't have to be a prime number, the use of primes is just a step to make the calculation more simple. What you are looking for is the lowest prime that multiplies into the original numbers times the digits in the original numbers. The highest common factor will be the product of each of those primes where they are duplicated between the two.
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  • So GCM is the old name for HCF. Thanks. This is something we did in the first year at secondary school, along with LCM (lowest common multiple). Both very straightforward, don't require knowing your tables but you have to be able to divide and know what numbers are prime.

    You don't need such big numbers to see if the examinee knows the idea, so I'm guessing they chose them to test for diligence and accuracy.
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