Are You Smarter than a Funeral Director?

I’m in the throes of preparing for my National Board Examinations in funeral directing and embalming, which I will be taking in less than a month (eeek!). I thought I would invite you along on the journey by offering you the opportunity to take a short quiz of your very own. Below, you will find 10 questions covering a variety of topics in funeral service. Take the quiz to see if you have what it takes to be a funeral director. If you’re really brave, post your own answers in the comment section. The answer key has been inserted at the bottom so you can compare your answers with mine.

1) The term for placing cremated remains into a final container is:
A. Entombment
B. Interment
C. Inurnment
D. Cremains interment

2) It is an FTC requirement that which of the following must be offered to customers for their information and retention?
A. Casket Price List
B. Outer Burial Container Price List
C. General Price List
D. All of the above

3) According to OSHA, the formaldehyde standard for short term exposure is:
A. 0.5 ppm/8 hours
B. 2 ppm/15 minutes
C. 0.75 ppm/2 hours
D. 0.75 ppm/30 minutes

4) Embalming is usually not practiced by members of which religious tradition:
A. Mormon
B. Jewish Orthodox
C. Catholic
D. non-liturgical Protestant

5) Statement of Death by Funeral Director form:
A. SSA-8
B. Form 40-1330
C. DD-214
D. SSA-721

6) Which of the following is one of the first organs to decompose?
A. Lining of the trachea
B. Mesentery
C. Nonpregnant uterus
D. Urinary bladder

7) In a Roman Catholic Funeral Mass, the casket of a lay-person is traditionally placed:
A. Horizontally in front of the altar
B. With the foot end towards the altar
C. With the head end towards the altar
D. None of the above

8) The path of one drop of blood travelling away from the heart to the right forearm:
I. axillary artery
II. brachiocephalic artery
III. brachial artery
IV. subclavian artery

A. I, II, IV, III
B. III, II, I, IV
C. III, IV, I, II
D. II, IV, I, III

9) Which of the following is a postmortem physical change?
A. livor mortis
B. postmortem caloricity
C. rigor mortis
D. postmortem stain

10) Sorbitol is an example of a:
A. Disinfectant
B. Buffer
C. Humectant
D. Solvent

Ok, folks, here are the answers:

1. C-Inurnment
2. C-General Price List
3. B-2ppm/15 minutes
4. B-Jewish Orthodox
5. D-SSA-721
6. A-lining of the trachea
7. B-with the foot end towards the altar
8. D-brachiocephalic, subclavian, axillary, brachial
9. A-livor mortis (intravascular discoloration)
10. C-Humectant

I’ve had complaints that the quiz was too difficult, and to be honest, I’m not sure the majority of morticians could get all these questions right. These few questions, however, are remarkably representative of the kinds of things asked on my upcoming licensure exams. I hope it at least gives you a glimpse into the wide, wide range of topics and issues involved in funeral service. Next time you see one of us mortician types standing around at a funeral or a graveside, remember what all we’ve done to get to that point. As always, if you would like more information about anything you see here, please feel free to ask.

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