Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The hardest test I've ever seen

I'm pretty smart. I have a pretty broad and deep base of useless trivia. I am a big-league history nerd. And I'd totally fail this test. Go have a look!

I could partially answer 29 of the 50 questions. Most of them are Googleable. Some of them would require a librarian (hi AareneX!)

This was an eighth grade test. Even accounting for the differences in what knowledge we teach kids today, I don't think I knew that much stuff in the 8th grade.

Now! For the one I think I'd nail:

A cite to a website will probably give you a failing grade. A happy dog is a sight for sore eyes. I think "fain" means something like "want," but I'm not sure. I could feign a definition for fane, but it'd be a lie. Nevada breezes would blow away a cheap weathervane. As you get older the veins on your hands start to stand out. Loggers who clearcut raze forests. Who wouldn't like a pay raise? The rays of the sun were really lovely the other day.

And the one I'm most intrigued by right now - why is the Atlantic so much colder than the Pacific at the same latitude? My completely uneducated guess is "something to do with the Gulf Stream." Anybody know the answer... or any of the answers? No cheating til you guess here!

edit: dammit, snopes! Oh well, it's still a cool test. Siiigh.


  1. I think it has to do with depth. Then there's always those active volcanos all over the floor of the Pacific.

  2. Yah I failed that one miserably as well. I should get my 12 yr old to take it *evil laugh*

  3. My favorite:

    "Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?"

    Sounds like a koan to me, or perhaps a line of poetry!

  4. Uh oh. Now I want to take the test. We know this can't end well.

  5. Thanks for the fun post :)

    Modern day eighth graders wouldn't have a prayer on that test - who learns to parse sentences anymore?!

    Pacific currents move south to north, Atlantic move north to south. primarily... I think :)

    Aarene - sounds like "Industrial Revolution speak" to me... how can we profit from exploiting the worlds resources etc.

  6. Whoa, I consider myself pretty smart and there is no way I could pass that test!!

  7. My 4th grader is studying WWII, something that NEVER happened when I was in school. I encounter things he's studying all the time that I don't remember studying in 4th grade.

    Of course, I get a refresher course as we go through it since he's going to an online charter school.

  8. isnt it because of the Labrador current?Also the downward plunge of the Artic currents?

  9. Well, I think I could answer about half of them, though maybe not as fully as the examiners intended. I would bomb the US history one, but that's because I'm Canadian (though I do know most of the famous names there - but might argue that Eli Whitney did NOT invent the cotton gin, which would, in less patriarchal times, likely have been accredited to Catherine Littlefield Greene).

    As for geography, Manitoba is a province in central Canada, with flatlands, lakes, rivers, polar bears, and darn cold winters. It has interesting place names like Bird Tail, Flin Flon, and Starbuck. And it was the birthplace of my ex - but I won't hold that against it.

  10. Haha, yall are just as intrigued by the Atlantic/Pacific thing as I am!

    I am waiting for the first coat of yellow paint to dry in the bathroom, so I briefly looked up ocean currents. My vague guess was right; the Gulf Stream does head north along the Atlantic seaboard. The currents in the northern hemisphere tend to make clockwise circles (reversed in the southern hemisphere) - this means that there's a cold current coming from the Arctic down along the Pacific Coast, and a warm one coming up from the Caribbean along the Atlantic Coast. Here's a lot more info.

    Ok, here's my new theory, which I will try to confirm/deny the next time my paint is drying. Air masses usually move west to east, usually from the north too. The PNW/NorCal has such mild winters because their weather is always blowing in from the ocean, which is pretty stable temperature wise. The Great Plains have horrible winters because their weather comes from the Canadian Shield/Arctic - same with the East Coast.

    I think ice-cold Arctic air comes down from Canada and slams into warm moist air near the coast and BAM horrible weather.

  11. I wish I knew all that in 8th grade. Or now.

  12. Terry, if you knew all that in 8th grade you wouldn't remember half of it now. I mean, I am quite sure that I used to know how to multiply and divide fractions. Hell I used to know how to do long division by hand! It's all gone now though...

  13. I will say, I particularly liked Snopes explanation of why this test was irrelevant.

    However, I did watch a show the other night about The Sahara Desert and I had no idea that Timbuktu was, at one time, a cultural mecca. They translated mathematical documents from hundreds of years ago and sent them to a French college to find out when today's society started teaching this particular math...It was 2nd Year college math. I thought that was amazing.

    However, after reading the Snopes page, I am wondering...They said the library at Timbuktu was for scholars...I assumed that meant younger people, but I'd bet anything most of the scholars learning there were 'college-age' or older. So maybe the only remarkable thing about it is, that they have been teaching the same math for eons now and that the documents survived. ???


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