The 1906 Examination for License to Practice Medicine in Kentucky

The following questions were on the examination for licensure to practice medicine in the state of Kentucky in 1906. The questions were taken verbatim.

Do you have what it takes to pass the 1906 Board examination to practice medicine? Give it a try!


1. Name the glands the secretion of which form the saliva; give physiological action of the saliva. 

2. How is digested food absorbed and through what channel does it reach the circulation? 

3. Give the average amount of bile secreted in twenty-four hours and its various functions. 

4. (Give the essential difference between blood and chyle. 

5. Give the three principal forces which maintain the flow of blood through the veins. 

6. How many pairs of cranial nerves are there? Name the tenth pair and give its distribution and function. 

7. How is the temperature of the body kept at the standard? 

8. Where is the vasomotor nerve center and how is it stimulated to action? 

9. Describe the arrangement of the sympathetic nervous system. 

10. Describe the double function of the lungs. What organs furnish the blood with oxygen in utero and extra utero?


1. Give two methods of detecting albumen in urine. 

2. What reaction occurs when muriate of sodium and nitrate of silver are placed in the same solution? Give formula. 

3. What is matter? How many and what different conditions of matter exist? 

4. What is the difference between mono di and tri basic acids? 

5. Given a sample of urine to analyze, how would you proceed? 

6. Give the chemical names for Epsom Salts, Rochelle Salts, Oil of vitriol, Prussic Acid and Chalk. 

7. Give a simple test to determine whether a substance is acid or alkaline. 

8. When are substances said to be chemically incompatible? Give formula showing a chemical incompatibility. 

9. (a) What is atomic weight? (b) What is the difference between a compound and a mixture? (c) Give formula for nitric acid, chloroform, and alcohol. 

10. Define the terms (a)Crystal, (b) Element, (c) Precipitate, (d) Specific Gravity, and (e) Saturated Solution.


1. How do cells multiply? 

2. How would you secure a pure culture of the bacillus typhous? (b) Differentiate between it and the bacillus coli communis. 

3. Describe the bacillus tuberculosis and detail a method of staining it. 

4. How would you demonstrate the presence of anthrax bacilli in a kidney of an animal, which had died of general anthrax infection? 

5. Describe the method you would use to grow anaerobic bacteria. 

6. Define saprophytes, (b) phagocytosis, (c) anaerobic, (d) spirillum, and (e) culture media. 

7. Give the morphology of the spirillum obermeiri, and of what disease is it the cause? 

8. Tell in detail how you would detect the phasmodium of malaria in a patient whom you suspected of having this disease. 

9. Describe the bacillus of influenza, and give a point of distinction between it and other bacilli. 

10. Describe the streptococcus pyogenes and differentiate it from the staphylococcus pyogenes aureus.


1. What is pathology? 

2. What are the principal pathological characteristics found in tubercular meningitis? 

3. Give the pathology of malarial hematuria. 

4. Describe the post-mortem appearances in endocarditis. 

5. What do you understand by passive hyperemia? 

6. Give pathology of hydrocele. 

7. Give principal morbid conditions found in acute bronchitis. 


9. Give pathology of locomotor ataxia. 

10. Name the pathological changes in cirrhosis of the liver.


1. Give the etiology, pathology and diagnosis of yellow fever. 

2. Give the pathology and diagnosis of fistula in ano. 

3. What are the physical signs of empyema? 

4. Differentiate between eczema and psoriasis. 

5. What is the cause of diphtheria (b) of gonorrhoea? How would you make a microscopic diagnosis of each? 

6. How diagnose chronic constipation, and what diseases are due to it? 

7. What are the symptoms and pathology of leukaemia? 

8. What is the pathology and symptoms of anterior poliomyelitis? 

9. Differentiate between smallpox, syphilis, measles and chickenpox, and tell in detail how to do a vaccination. 

10. Differentiate between suppression and retention of urine.


1. Describe the great sciatic nerve. 

2. Describe the hypoblast and mesoblast, and tell what structures are formed by each. 

3. Describe one of the following bones: Temporal, or sphenoid. 

4. Describe the internal maxillary artery. 

5. Describe the pneumogastric nerve. 

6. Describe the gross and minute anatomy of the kidney, and give relations of structures entering and leaving it. 

7. Name the muscles of the gluteal region, and describe two of them. 

8. Describe Poupart’s ligament. 

9. Describe the ducts of the liver and pancreas. 

10. Describe the foramen of Winslow.


1. What are the indications for laparotomy in abdominal wounds? 

2. In what part of the body are varices most frequently found? 

3. Define osteo-malacia and give its prognosis. 

4. Give symptoms and pathological anatomy of intracapsular fracture of the neck of the femur and give treatment for same. 

5. What is (a) trichiasis, (b) a cholazion, (c) exostosis, (d) pes planus, and (e) hernia? 

6. Given a crushing injury of the leg, what symptoms would cause you to advise amputation? Name the structures through which you would pass at the junction of the middle and upper thirds. 

7. Differentiate between appendicitis, salpingitis, stone in ureter, cholelithasis and colic. 

8. How would you diagnose an intestinal obstruction, and what symptoms would call for an operation? 

9. Give the pathological anatomy of Colles’ fracture; (b) of Pott’s fracture. 

10. Differentiate between compression and concussion of the brain, alcoholic and opium poisoning.


1. What are the means used in examination of the pelvic organs of the female? 

2. How differentiate between intra-uterine fibroid and pregnancy? 

3. What are the most common benign growths in the cavity of the uterus? Causes, symptoms, and what symptoms would demand operation? 

4. Differentiate between amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, and metorrhagia, and what would you suspect if the latter symptom was persistent? 

5. Give symptoms, diagnosis, and pathology of tubal pregnancy? 

6. (a) give etiology, symptoms and pathology of anteflexion, and (b) of anteversion? 

7. Give the pathology of a dermoid cyst, and (b) tell how to differentiate between an ovarian cyst, a myomatous uterus, ascites, and a uterine fibroid. 

8. Describe the blood vessels, lymphaties and nerves which supply the female genito-urinary organs. 

9. Describe the menstrual cycle and (b) differentiate between the corpus luteum of menstruation and that of pregnancy? 

10. What are the causes, symptoms and pathology of inversion of the uterus?


1. (a) What, in your judgment, would constitute a normal labor? (b) Upon what symptoms would you establish a diagnosis of rupture of the uterus? 

2. (a) What is amniotic fluid? (b) Placenta? (c) Lochia? (d) Fundus? (e) Douglas cul-de-sac? 

3. Name two abnormal conditions during labor, demanding immediate interference, and how would you manage them? 

4. Name the more serious dangers to which a woman would be subjected the ten days following confinement and the measures you would adopt to avoid said dangers? 

5. (a) How would you manage a shoulder presentation? (b) An occiput posterior? Give every detail in each case. 

6. What would you suspect as cause of antepartum hemorrhage? 

7. What treatment would you employ in recent lacerations of the osuteri?

8. Describe Crede’s method of delivering the placenta. 

9. Describe the proper method of resuscitation of the newly born when asphyxiated. 

10. Give the name and number of bones that constitute the human pelvis, and give the normal measurements of the various diameters.


1. Describe the optic nerve, the optic chiasm and optic thalmus. 

2. In giving evidence what characteristics of wounds should be described? 

3. Given a fracture of the last cervical vertebra with compression of the cord, what muscle would be paralyzed? 

4. Describe the symptoms of epilepsy and give the differential diagnosis between epilepsy and feigned epilepsy. 

5. What is the duty of a physician that is called to a room where a party is found dead? 

6. Name two forms of insanity and define each. 

7. What are the evidences of recent confinement in a woman? 

8. If the testator were a paralytic would you, if called on, say that he was capable of making a will?

9. What are the symptoms of poisoning by morphine or opium? 

10. Differentiate between corea and progressive locomotor ataxia, and give the pathology of the latter.


1. What diseases of animals are communicable to man, and what precautions should be taken to prevent them? 

2. Where is the contagion of typhoid fever found? How carried and how is the spreading of the disease prevented? 

3. Give details of fumigating a room recently occupied by a patient with scarlet fever, and what disinfectant would you use? 

4. Discuss the dangers proceeding from an impure water supply? 

5. Enumerate in detail all directions you would give a trained nurse to prevent infection in a case of diphtheria.


1. What are the diagnostic differences between conjunctivitis, iritis, and glaucoma? Describe two of these diseases. 

2. What is the difference between myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia, and what kind of lens would you use to correct each? 

3. How would you diagnose a foreign body in the anterior chamber? (b) In the posterior chamber? 

4. What are the causes and symptoms of nystagmus? 

5. Describe the ophthalmoscope. In what cases would it be used? Tell in detail how to use it. Describe a choked disc.


1. Give etiology and treatment of mycosis of external ear. 

2. Give diagnosis, pathology and indications for operating of acute inflammation of the middle ear. 

3. Give the physiology of the sound conducting apparatus. 

4. What are the principal causes of deafness, and how would you distinguish between deafness of central and of peripheral origin? 

5. What serious constitutional troubles may result from otitis media?


For license to practice medicine, held by the State Board of Health of Kentucky, at the City Hall, Louisville, Ky., July 2, 1906.

Total number of questions: 120

Percentage required to pass: 70, and not less than 60 in any one branch.

Number of applicants examined: 17 

Number of applicants passed: 11

Passing Scores

Applican’t School of MedicineYearExam Score
Med. Dept. St. Louis Univ.190678
Med. Dept. Univ. of Penn.190585
Med. College of Ohio190678
Med. Dept. Univ. of Louisville190676
Hospital College of Medicine190676
Hospital College of Medicine190679
Barnes Medical College190674*
Medical College of Ohio190282
Med. Dept. Univ. of Tenn.190670*
American School of Osteopathy190672*
American School of Osteopathy190477.5
*Second Examination

Failing Scores

Applicant’s School of MedicineYearExam Score
Med. Dept. Univ. of Tenn.190555
Southern School of Osteopathy190265*
McCormick Opt. & Neur. Inst.190436
Hospital College of Medicine190365
American School of Osteopathy190667*
American School of Osteopathy190661
*Second Examination


Editor Kentucky Medical Journal:

Replying to your inquiry as to how the State Board of Health is able to conduct examination of applicants to practice medicine in Kentucky without knowing the college from which the applicant graduates, I would say that the Boanl was compelled to devise means for doing this by the law which provides that “all examinations shall be conducted in writing, and in such a manner that the result shall be entirely fair and impartial, the applicants being known by numbers so that no member of the Board shall be able to identify the papers of any applicant until they have been graded and the case passed upon.” In order to accomplish this mandate of the law we have devised the following system: Applicant, upon entering the examination, identifies himself to the Secretary, who has nothing to do with grading the papers. After this identification is satisfactory he draws an envelope containing two cards with the same number upon them from a bundle numbered consecutively from one to one hundred and fifty. He writes his name and post office address on each of these two cards, putting one back in the envelope, sealing it, and returning it to the Secretary, retaining the other for his own identification afterwards. From the time the examination begins until all grades are made up each applicant is only known to the members of the Board by this number. It is written in the upper left-hand corner of every page of his examination. As the papers are brought in they are laid face downward in a pile on the table. As soon as all the papers in any given subject are finished they are rolled up into a compact bundle and sent by registered express to the member of the Board selected to grade the papers on that particular subject. Each member has a blank book, sample page of which I attach hereto, in which all grades are made up. As soon as the papers are graded, usually in ten days or two weeks, the Board assembles in open meeting. The grades for each number are read out by the member grading on that branch and when all have been set down they are tabulated and the averages made up). The law further provides that all applicants shall be required to make an average of 70, with a minimum of 60 in any one branch. This is a plain provision of law, and the members of the Board grade these papers under their oath of office. After the grades have all been made up the number that has made below 60 in any one branch, or that has made below 70 on an average, is marked “failed,” and all who have made above 70 are marked “passed.” In the presence of the whole Board the sealed envelopes are then opened and each is marked passed or failed, and this is the first time the Board knows the names of the individuals who have been examined. Under the rules any paper that is so marked that it can be identified by the examiner is excluded from examination.

Very respectfully,
J. N. McCormack,

Contributed by Shawn Logan |

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