I had a business meeting downtown in ’86 and walked in on the FCC – cold. Passed the General! (I confess that I was active as a SWL.) Bureaucrat asked me if I wanted to take the Advanced. I thought what the heck, but the written test was daunting. I still have respect for the current Advanced hams I work now. That was the second toughest test I ever took (I’m a PMP.}
At the age of 13, I took the General exam at a FCC visit to Rock Island Arsenal in 1981. It was pretty easy but then again I had studied for it. They then offered me the chance to take the Advanced, and I took it and barely passed, but yes it was very daunting to take an exam I had not studied for. I remember being intimidated by many problems/schematics with tubes and requiring some calculations (biasing? etc.). There were lots of questions about modes and regulations I knew nothing about, and lots of questions about antennas way more advanced than anything I had access to!
If anyone has a copy of the question pool from the 60's/70's I'd be very interested in seeing it. Like a Bash book from back then?