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The world’s hardest test

The world’s hardest test

The world’s hardest test

The world’s hardest test has been found at All Souls College at Oxford University, and if you’re wondering why it is so hard here are some facts; the test features abstract questions, there are no right or wrong answers, and it is pretty much impossible to revise for. Furthermore, around 80 candidates take the test each year, which takes place in September, and only one or two of them will receive a fellowship.

The research fellow or fellowship is a 7-year programme which refers to an academic research position at a university or institution, and follows on from a post-doctoral position, such as a research associate. A fellowship grants academic researchers a chance to carry out their research, seek funds and even become internationally and academically renowned for their work.

When students take the papers, they usually sit two general exams, and two from their specific discipline. Those who are lucky enough to ‘pass’ the exam are then asked to perform an oral test, called a viva, where they have to orally present their answers to a panel/examiner(s).

Additionally, to increase the pressure of passing, most of the college Fellowship, which is around 80 people at a time, is there to watch too. The candidate who receives the Fellowship who is conducting academic work will be paid £15,000 a year.

A source who passed this exam, and now grades them, told The Independent what the examiners look for. When you have had a go at the questions below you can have a look at past exam questions here.

Example questions taken from the ‘hardest test in the world’
  1. Did the left or right win the twentieth century?
  2. “Secure people dare”. Do they?
  3. Should intellectuals tweet?
  4. Should prisoners be allowed to watch television?
  5. How can words be beautiful?
  6. Can we be forced to be free?
  7. Is the financial sector larger than it should be?
  8. Can policy rely on human rationality?
  9. Is there an economic case for limiting pay bonuses to twice an annual salary?
  10. Should the state restrict what people should do with their pension savings?
  11. Is homelessness a reflection of a badly functioning economy?
  12. Would an inflation target of 4% be better than 2%?
  13. How do apologies work?
  14. Does the status quo have any moral privilege?
  15. Can emotions be reasons for decisions?
  16. Who should pay for the costs of educating and bringing up children?

Here are some photographs of the questions found in the All Souls college ‘world’s hardest test’















How did you do at the world’s hardest test? Or what do you think about the questions in the test?

Let us know in the comments below!
[image sources]

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