Can You Conquer This Difficult General Knowledge Quiz?

By: Torrance Grey
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Can You Conquer This Difficult General Knowledge Quiz?
Image: shapecharge/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you're like us, you can only yell at the TV screen during "Jeopardy" for so long before you need a new challenge -- and they're not easy to find on TV. The 2000s were great times for quiz show lovers, with the megahit, "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," as well as "The Weakest Link" and "1 vs. 100." But in the 2010s, studio executives have turned their attention to more "relatable" game shows -- bake-offs, for example, or competitions between "makers." What's an ultra-competitive brainiac to do?

We're here to help. We've crafted a general knowledge quiz that'll cover a little bit of everything -- science and geography, arts and entertainment, history and sports. (Maybe we'll throw in a question about the "history of sports," just to keep things fresh). The questions will start off moderately easy, but don't worry, they'll get more difficult. Do you know which Central American country's capital is Belmopan? Or which Hollywood actress was the first to be paid $1 million for a role? Admittedly, these factoids aren't terribly necessary in everyday life ... but you're probably dying to show off that you know them. 

So turn off that "Great" baking show, flex your keyboard fingers, and get to work. The bragging rights are yours for the taking!

Which river does the Brooklyn Bridge span?
The Brooklyn River
The East River
This famous bridge crosses the unimaginatively named East River. The bridge's profile, with its high, narrow arches and steel cables, is one of the most recognizable in the world.
The Monongahela
The Schuykill

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Which of these regions most influenced bluegrass music?
Appalachia
This musical genre is named for the grass that grows underfoot in the Eastern U.S. region. But its artistic roots are in Scotland, England, and Ireland, where fiddle music, reels and jigs came from, crossing the Atlantic with immigrants. If you've never seen the accompanying dance style, "Appalachian flatfooting," check out the videos on YouTube. It's worth watching.
The Adirondacks
The Mississippi Delta
The Florida Keys

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How many stocks comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average?
12
15
30
The Dow is actually a very small index. To get a better feel for how the American economy is performing, check the Standard & Poor's 500 (commonly abbreviated as "S&P 500"). It's much more reflective, though the Dow steals all the headlines!
500

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Which planet has moons named Phobos and Deimos?
Venus
Jupiter
Mars
Phobos and Deimos mean "fear" and "panic," respectively. The names were chosen because these would be typical results of war, and Mars was the Roman god of war.
Saturn

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Which of these is NOT a commonwealth?
Pennsylvania
Kentucky
New York
There are four commonwealths in the United States. Despite this, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Kentucky are all casually referred to as "states," and operate, in terms of administration, like America's other states.
Virginia

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"Atomic number" is the number of what in an atom?
Electrons
Neutrons
Protons
Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. This is one of the first things you learn in chemistry class. If you said "water molecules," stay in school, sweetie!
Water molecules

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The "New Deal" was a program of which U.S. president?
Abraham Lincoln
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The New Deal was spearheaded by FDR. He used public works projects and farm subsidies to stimulate the economy after The Depression. Economists are mixed in their opinions of how successful Roosevelt's programs were, and how much of the rebound was due to a "natural recovery."
Ronald Reagan
Harry S Truman

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A gemstone of pink to dark-red corundum is called ____.
A sapphire
A hematite
A ruby
"Ruby" comes from the Latin word, "ruber," for red. It is one of the most valued gemstones in jewelry-making, along with emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds.
An onyx

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Which actress was the first to command $1 million for a film role?
Lauren Bacall
Hedy Lamarr
Judy Garland
Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor received this hefty paycheck for "Cleopatra." William Holden had already crossed the boundary for "Bridge Over the River Kwai." Though A-list actresses command salaries closer to the eight-figure range these days, working ones would be quite happy with Liz's "Cleopatra" pay!

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The approach of 2012 prompted a minor end-of-the-world craze based on what ancient calendar?
Coptic
Hopi
Mayan
We're not sure how many people got their affairs in order and said goodbye to loved ones based solely on the idea that the Mayan calendar didn't extend past the year 2012. But the idea gained enough traction to justify a disaster movie with everyone's favorite action hero, John Cusack. (Wait, what?)
Ainu

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Alfred Nobel, who established the Nobel Prizes, is otherwise best known for inventing what?
Aspirin
Dynamite
If you got this question right, you might know the story. After a newspaper prematurely printed an obituary for Nobel that criticized him for contributing to modern warfare, he founded the Nobel Prizes so he'd be remembered for something good. It worked out pretty well, wouldn't you say?
The coffee decaffeinator
The compact disc

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From which poem do we get the expression, "miles to go before I sleep"?
Elegy on a Country Churchyard
Leaves of Grass
Shakespeare's 23rd sonnet
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
This short and sweet rhyming poem is by Robert Frost. Its final refrain is, "For I have promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep." Why repeat the final line, when nothing else in the poem is doubled? That kind of artistic choice is what made the man a great poet!

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Where would you find the city of Heidelberg?
England
Germany
Heidelberg is a university town in Germany. A lot of scientific research is done there, especially at the Max Planck Institutes. Pretty impressive for a town whose name roughly means "Goat Mountain."
Lithuania
Russia

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Which of these was the former name of the African nation of Zimbabwe?
Burma
Chad
Rhodesia
Rhodesia was named for British businessman and colonialist explorer Cecil Rhodes. It was one of the African nations that gained independence in the mid-1960s, but under minority white rule. It became a majority-ruled democracy and took its new name in 1980.
Zanzibar

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Janet Yellen was the first woman to hold which position?
Chair of the Federal Reserve
Yellen was appointed by President Barack Obama. She succeeded Ben Bernanke, who had the misfortune to preside over the Fed during perhaps the rockiest economic period since the Great Depression.
CEO of IBM
President of Harvard University
Vice President of the United States

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The stretch of the United States prone to tornadoes is known as what?
Tornado Alley
This is a broad designation covering most of the Great Plains and the Midwest. It's a favorite of journalists; meteorologists and climate scientists do not use it very much.
Tornado Valley
Tornado Boulevard
Cyclone Street

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Which of these metals is the most conductive?
Brass
Copper
Gold
Silver
Surprised? Silver is actually more conductive than copper, but copper is less expensive to use in industrial and electrical applications. Gold is also very conductive and sometimes chosen -- despite its high cost -- because it resists tarnishing so well.

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What was the name of Walt Disney's brother, who co-founded the studio?
William
Matthew
Robert
Roy
The brothers founded Disney as an animation studio. From there, it grew into an entertainment-world behemoth. Today, Bob Iger is its chairman.

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Which of these musicians did not die at age 27?
Jimi Hendrix
Jim Morrison
Janis Joplin
Chris Cornell
Other "members" of the unfortunate "27 Club" are British singer Amy Winehouse and grunge legend Kurt Cobain. However, Chris Cornell -- lead singer of Audioslave and Soundgarden -- lived to the age 52.

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Which city's NFL team has a name inspired by Edgar Allen Poe?
Atlanta
Baltimore
Short-lived poet and author Poe spent a lot of his adult life in Baltimore and died there. The Baltimore Ravens are named for one of his famous poems, "The Raven," a choice made by the citizens of Baltimore.
Denver
Minneapolis

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Which of these is NOT a day in Holy Week, just before Easter?
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It begins the six weeks of penitence before Easter.
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Palm Sunday

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Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are major languages in which nation?
Armenia
Bulgaria
Nigeria
Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are all indigenous languages. Nigeria's official language is English, which is widely studied in schools and used in business.
Rwanda

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What distinguishes the current Ms. Marvel from other Marvel Comics characters?
She is Hindu.
She is Muslim.
Kamala Khan is a teenager from Jersey City, and comes from a Muslim, Pakistani-American family. She is not the first teenager to headline her own comic, but she is the first Muslim to do so.
She is happily married.
She uses a wheelchair.

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Which river does the U.S. Military Academy at West Point overlook?
The Deschutes
The Hudson
Some jaded cadets call West Point "the South Hudson Institute of Technology." However, West Point is a beautiful campus in upstate New York. It's Annapolis, the naval academy, that's on the Severn.
The Missouri
The Severn

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A life-threatening allergic response that swells tissues and prevents breathing is called ...
Anaphylaxis
This is also called "anaphylactic shock" or "anaphylactic crisis." Patients at risk often carry an epinephrine auto-injector, or "Epi-pen."
Diabetic shock
Serotonin syndrome
Thyroid storm

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The Chevrolet Corvette takes its name from which of these?
A multi-colored bird
A small, light warship
"Corvette" is the name of a light, speedy warship. If you picked "no one knows," you were likely thinking of the Camaro, an invented name which they later tried to characterize as a Spanish word for a "close and faithful companion." (No one was buying it).
A military fort
No one knows.

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True or false? Earth's moon revolves around the Earth, but does not rotate on its own axis.
True
False
This was a tricky one, we know. The moon has a "synchronous rotation," meaning that it rotates at the same speed as the Earth. For this reason, we always see the same side, the one with the big, beautiful Sea of Tranquility.

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From which northeastern state does Cape Cod extend out?
Rhode Island
New York
Massachusetts
Cape Cod is part of the state -- excuse us, commonwealth! -- of Massachusetts. It's a popular vacation destination, like nearby Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
Maine

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Which of these is NOT a borough of New York City?
The Bronx
Queens
Staten Island
Long Island
The five boroughs are Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan. Long Island is a much larger area -- a geographical designation with a number of smaller towns.

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In the 20th century, Lee Kuan Yew made which developing nation into an economic power?
Indonesia
Federate States of Micronesia
Singapore
Singapore recently had a moment in the sun with the release of the film, "Crazy Rich Asians," which was set there. The film showcases the economic strength Singapore has achieved under the leadership of Yew, who came to power in the 1960s. Of course, most Singaporeans don't live like the film's "virtual royal family."
South Korea

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Which of these U.S. presidents was raised Quaker?
Barack Obama
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon's mother was Quaker, and his father converted to the faith. Suffice it to say that Nixon, who resigned after the Watergate scandal broke, didn't exactly exemplify the ideals of his mother's simple faith.
Theodore Roosevelt

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Actor Bill Mumy, famous as a child actor for "Lost in Space," was part of the cast of which 1990s sci-fi show?
Babylon 5
Mumy played adventurous Will Robinson on the classic show, "Lost in Space" -- hence everyone's favorite quote from the show, "Danger, Will Robinson!" He made the jump to musicianship and character acting in adulthood.
Lexx
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate

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Before becoming a PBS star, "Joy of Painting" host Bob Ross did what for about 20 years?
Served in the Air Force
As a sergeant, Ross was responsible for chewing out subordinates who didn't do their job properly. In later interviews, he said that inspired him to seek a line of work after retirement in which he could be nice nearly all the time. He certainly found it!
Taught mathematics
Wrote Western novels
Was homeless

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Belmopan, the capital of Belize, has a population of less than what figure?
20,000
It helps if you know that Belmopan is the smallest capital city in the Americas. It isn't even the largest city in Belize (that's Belize City).
50,000
100,000
150,000

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Where would you find Mt. Etna?
Cyprus
Honshu
Sicily
Sicily is a large island at the tip of Italy's "boot" in the Mediterranean Sea. Mt. Etna, a volcano, is a symbol of Sicily, like Mt. Fuji is for Japan.
New Zealand

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