Here’s a Smart Test—and a Devilish Quiz

Reader's Digest first ran these deceptively easy questions in 1970. 
Not one person in a hundred can answer all ten correctly.

Be ready to get mad. The answers are:

1. Land (now known as the
island of San Salvador) was first sighted by a sailor aboard Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria in 1492. The actual date, as recorded in Columbus’s log, was:

a) October 11

b) October 12

c) October 13

d) November 5


2. The first president of the United States of America was George Washington.

a) True

b) False


3. According to a map of the United States, which city is farthest west?

a) Los Angeles

b) Honolulu

c) Seattle


4. Between which two cities is the shorter distance by air?

a) New York and Chicago

b) New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico


5. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to four successive presidential terms.

a) True

b) False


6. According to the latest scientific findings, a given volume of gold weighs less than the identical volume of aluminum.

a) True

b) False


7. The formula E=mc2 was first conceived by the physicist Albert Einstein.

a) True

b) False


8. Henry Ford introduced the first Ford automobile. Henry Kaiser introduced the first Kaiser automobile.

a) True

b) False


9. The first name of the great English playwright Shakespeare was:

a) William

b) John

c) Will


10. If you were born on February 29, 1904, you were legally 64 years old on February 29, 1968.

a) True

b) False


That’s right; in each case, the answer is the “obvious” one. Your knowledge was not really being tested. It was your conviction, your capacity to stick with what you believe is true. If you answered at least seven correctly, you did very well indeed!

Tell us how you did in the comments.

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  • Your Comments


      I got seven correct. The FDR Questions is where I started questioning myself. Until then I was on a roll.

    • Herb Clemen

      I got number 1 wrong

    • Dianne

      I did not do well at all. When can we anticipate RD’s next challenge?

    • Marillyn

      I got 8 correct ones!
      Missed #s 3 and 8.

    • Jax

      I got all 10 answers correct! This is due to my reading and learning everything I can and my background of a good school and parents who taught me well on educational knowledge!

    • Jenni

      Only got 2 wrong, not bad!

    • Carolyn

      Got nine correct. I didn’t think any president had served more than 2 terms. So I missed the one about FDR being elected 4 times.

    • Barbara Leary

      All correct!