These two example Louisiana literacy tests are typical of the tests used before passage of the Voting Rights Act to deny Blacks (and other non-whites) the right to vote. While state law mandated that the test be given to everyone who could not verify that they had at least a 5th-grade education, in real life almost all Blacks were forced to do so even if they had a college degree while whites were often excused from taking it no matter how little education they had.
Determination of who "passed" and who "failed" was entirely up to the whim of the Registrar of Voters — all of whom were white. In actuality, whites almost always "passed" no matter how many questions they missed, and Blacks were almost always "failed" in the selective judgement of the Registrar. On the 1963 test, for example, the Registrar was free to choose which portion of the Constitution to dictate — simple or complex — and was then the sole judge of the applicants written response (and in some cases their oral interpretation). The "citizenship test" component then asked often obscure questions about government and law and few people — Black or white — could correctly answer them all. If you were Black and missed one question you "failed," if you were white and couldn't even read the questions you "passed."
As you can see, on the 1964(?) test the questions were deliberately
designed to be tricky and confusing. For example, Question 20 reads:
Spell backwards, forwards." Answers by whites would be
judged correct no matter what they wrote. But Blacks who wrote both
words but forgot to include the comma would be failed, or if they
included the comma they would be failed for that, or if they just wrote
backwards" they would be failed for not including the word
forwards." Or if they wrote "
sdrawkcab they'd be failed for that and the same
for vice-versa. See
The Louisiana Literacy Test
and How It Worked to Deny Black Voting Rights for more information
on how this test was used.