Granite Staters are wicked smart, but they could be smarter

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New Hampshire residents will have to get their act together if they want to compete with their New England neighbors when it comes to brain skill smarts.

The Granite State finished 17th overall, and well behind every New England state except Rhode Island, in a quiz by online jigsaw-puzzle company The quiz of 5,000 adults used questions from the Scholastic Aptitude Test – the SATs taken by high school students across the country as part of the college admissions process.

Some 58 percent of New Hampshire residents passed the math component; 62 percent correctly answered the evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) section, with an overall 60 percent passing average.

New Jersey was the top state, with a 72 percent math result, 73 percent reading and writing, and 73 percent overall result. Arkansas residents did the worst, with a 37 percent math score, 40 percent reading and writing and 39 percent overall.

Of the New England states:

  • Massachusetts finished second among the 50 states, with 79 percent math, 69 percent EBRW and 72 percent overall.
  • Connecticut was third, with a 52 percent math total, offset by a highest-in-the U.S. 82 percent EBRW, for 67 percent overall. 
  • Maine finished sixth, with 73 percent in math, 56 percent in EBRW and 66 percnet overall. 
  • Vermont was 10th with 54 percent in math, 70 percent in EBRW and 62 percent overall.
  • Rhode Island, the only New England state to finish lower than New Hampshire, finishing 39th, with 40 percent correctly answering the math portion, 68 percent the EBRW and 54 percent overall.
  • NH students doing all right

For those wondering how a quiz for pandemic-stressed adults by an online jigsaw site aligns with testing for students in the state, there is hope for future Granite State adults. 

According to the Nation’s Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress ranking tool, New Hampshire eighth-graders in 2019 were fifth in the nation (tied with South Dakota), overall in testing. In all subjects, 77 percent of students were at or above basic levels and 38 percent at or above proficiency. [That was the last year and highest grade for which numbers are available.]

A 2021 Wallethub study, which ranked each state’s public school systems based on 32 metrics, ranked New Hampshire fifth overall, with Massachusetts and Connecticut at numbers one and two. Metrics in the study ranged from academics to bullying reports. The Granite State was ranked fourth in the nation in reading scores, third in highest ACT scores and third in teacher-pupil ratio. It was ranked 47th in reported bullying incidents.

Test yourself

As far as the online quiz goes, Neal Taparia, of said it’s more about seeing how well adults were doing at keeping their brains sharp during the pandemic.

“It’s great to see that, overall, most adults across the country haven’t got too much to worry about when it comes to their post-pandemic brain sharpness,” Taparia said. “It’s always a good thing to brush up on our general math and EBRW skills.”

An example of the questions on the quiz (answers at the bottom) were:


If X + 6 = 9, then 3xX + 1 = ?

  1. A) 6
  2. B) 10
  3. C) 4
  4. D) 12


What does ‘burgeon’ mean?

  1. A) to rapidly shrink
  2. B) to become tired
  3. C) to make 
  4. D) to rapidly expand

To take a similar quiz, or to see what your kids are up against when they take the SATs, click here.

[Quiz answers: Math, B; EBRW, D]


About this Author


Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a contract reporter and content producer for consumer financial agencies. She has worked for northern New England publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, for 25 years, and most recently at Mainebiz in Portland, Maine. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.