Millennium Post

Birds are a type of bird. True/False?

Asia is the best place to be educated, according to a global survey I read recently. I was astonished. Education elsewhere must be really bad. I mentioned this to a headmaster friend, who replied that he wanted to introduce an entrance exam for his school. Why? ‘Because we pretty much accept anyone who will pay, but the parents of the kids like to be able to boast that it’s tough to get into,’ he explained.

Parents are strange creatures. They were irritated when he said that there was no waiting list for his school; so he started pretending that there was. This also annoyed them.

One parent lectured him on the evils of grade inflation and in the same sentence demanded that his son be given ‘A’ grades, despite having an Intelligent Quotient (IQ) to match his shoe size. Another tried to bribe him with a dusty box of cakes which had clearly been passed around since Confucius had been the big name in Asian education.

The headmaster asked me to write an entrance exam like the sort of contests you get in the media, which are so easy that it’s almost impossible to get them wrong.

So here it is: the world’s easiest entrance exam. Time limit: 30 minutes.

  1. Greens are a healthy vegetable. What colour are they?
  2. What time is it when both hands are on the 12?
  3. What does UN (United Nations) stand for?
  4. How many weeks are there in a two-week period?
  5. What do coffee shops sell?

  1. A bald man’s hair is 0.0 inches long. Convert this to centimetres.
  2. If I had three apples in my left hand, how many apples would I have in my left hand?
  3. If two and two equal four on every day of the week, what does two and two equal on Tuesdays?

  1. What was Henry VIII’s personal name?
  2. What was Mahatma Gandhi’s family name?
  3. What rank was Admiral Nelson?
  4. How many rules are there in The Ten Commandments?

  1. What language do Urdu-speakers speak?
  2. What country is the Queen of Denmark Queen of?
  3. Where is the North Pole?
  4. Name the moon which revolves around the planet Earth.

  1. Birds are a type of bird. True/False.
  2. What insects do anteaters eat?
  3. What is the breast colour of a robin redbreast?
  4. How many cells do single-celled amoebas have?
  5. What substance do woodpeckers peck?


13-21 right answers: Congratulations, you’re in! 7-12 right answers: Congratulations, you’re in! 1-6 right answers: Congratulations, you’re in! 0 right answers: Try again!

We tested the exam out on a group of five children. Only two of them passed. The 3rd spoke only Urdu, the 4th Hokkien, and the 5th lost the paper.

So we decided to shorten the test to just one question and allow the parent or guardian to answer it. ‘Does he know his own name? Yes/No.’ This time, most of them passed. The Hokkien-speaking family just sort of glared at me, but I took that as a ‘yes’. Besides, there are no wrong answers in that sort of test. If only the same was true for real life.
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