Can You Pass This Challenging Skills Test?


By: Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: 10'000 Hours / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Time is a limited resource. If you want to spend your time learning one skill, you will inevitably not learn another skill. It is a rare person who masters a musical instrument, oil painting, baseball and astrophysics all at the same time. While one skill can dovetail nicely with another skill, most people aren't going to be able to learn every skill they might find interesting because they are just too disparate.

Some skills are related. A linguist will find it easier to learn all the Latin languages than one Latin language and contact juggling. What is fascinating and peculiar is that some skills which do not appear to have much in common could actually be very easy to cross train between. For example, while baseball and football are both sports, the types of movements that football players are accustomed to probably translate more easily into the study of dance, rather than baseball. Baseball, on the other hand, would not translate as well into cricket, because everything baseball players are taught about how to throw a ball or swing a bat is wrong or against the rules in cricket.

So put your skills to the test! Are you an average Joe, or can you do the things few can? Find out with this quiz!

What is the first thing you should do after taking a steak off of the grill?

After cooking a steak or any large piece of meat, it is good to let the meat rest for a minute or two. This allows the distribution of the juices to even out. As a result, the meat will stay juicy after cutting into it, instead of having all the juices pour out after cutting it once.


How can you keep a fountain pen from leaking when on an airplane, without dumping out the ink?

Fountain pens leak because the bubble of air behind the ink has the air pressure of ground level, while aircraft are pressurized to 6,000 feet in most cases. Once the air pressure outside the pen is lower than that inside the pen, the air in the pen tries to escape, pushing against the ink that sits in the way, forcing the ink out. If you uncap a fountain pen with the tip up before takeoff, and leave it in this position until the aircraft is fully pressurized, the bubble in the ink cartridge or ink bladder will move to the mouth of the pen and connect to the outside air before pressurization of the aircraft. This means that the high pressure (ground level) air will not force the ink out when the air around it is pressurized to 6,000 or so feet above sea level.


How can you tell your PC to prioritize a graphics application while you are using other software?

Go to the program in the list in Task Manager, right click on it, and "Change Priority". This brings up a drop down menu allowing you to tell the computer how to queue the importance of software's access to the CPU.


What is the first thing you should do when handed a baby?

Babies are not very strong yet and have big heads. You should also support a baby's head until the baby is able to do it him- or herself. The baby and its parents will thank you!


What is a fairlead?

Sailors don't call ropes ropes. Ropes are either lines or sheets. A line is used to tie a ship to a dock. A sheet controls a sail. The jib is the sail on the front of a ship, and the jib sheet is the rope used to control the jib by pulling it in or letting it out. To control the jib sheet, it passes through several fittings on its way to the stern, where the crew are located. The furthest forward of these fittings is called a fairlead. The American Sailing Association requires this answer on their certification test.


What's a good tip for executing an excellent faro shuffle?

A faro shuffle is one of the most satisfying and useful shuffles for the professional croupier or magician. The goal is to perfectly weave one half of the deck into the other with just a little pressure, by putting the edges of one half of the deck against the edges of the other.


What are the three most important elements in filmmaking?

Alfred Hitchcock said "To make a great film you need three things: the script, the script, and the script." Without a good script, no movie can be good, and the better the script, the better the movie. No other element can make this claim, from the acting (remember Wild Wild West? Exactly.) to the directing (remember Waking Life? Exactly.) to the special effects (remember Radioland Murders? Exactly.)


How can you tell when a steak is cooked to the point of being "rare"?

A simple way of knowing how a steak is cooked is to poke it. If it feels like the meat of your cheek (fairly soft) it is rare. If it feels like your chin, it is medium. If it feels like your forehead, it is well done.


What is the most important thing to know to do when falling to the ground?

When one falls, one runs the risk of injuring one's spine. Tucking one's chin into one's chest keeps one's head from knocking around. This prevents neck injury. While break-falls and relaxing are good to know, they aren't as important as tucking one's chin.


How can you build a strong credit rating without taking out student or home loans?

By taking out a credit card and always paying it down a little, you establish that you can be trusted with credit, but by not paying it off you show that you're worth investing in for the interest paid to your creditors. Given a couple of years, this will give you a good credit history without having to take out loans for tens of thousands of dollars.


What is the key to learning Microsoft Office Suite?

The quickest way to learn Office is to learn the icons. Icons in Office are common to all Office applications, meaning that learning what they mean in one application means you know what they mean in other applications. Since those functions are most of what makes up the programs, learning them means that there are fewer things to learn within each program.


What's the best way to learn a new language?

Full immersion is the best way to learn a language. Move to a place where no one speaks any language you understand and force yourself to learn the local tongue.


How can you estimate when to make a turn when flying over the ocean and all you have for navigation is a map and a watch?

Naval aviators are taught to use math to navigate over the ocean, since there are no landmarks. By maintaining a constant speed and using some basic math, the pilot can use the watch's rotating bezel to mark the time when they will have reached the point on the map where they are to turn.


What must a director have in order to have a successful film shoot?

While all of these tools are good and many are often ignored, the director's book is the most important tool the director has. It contains all the notes on the script including direction for the actors, the script, storyboards, shot lists and everything else the director needs to run the set.


What is the very first thing you should do when writing a story, be it a novel or a script?

Loglines are important. A good logline means you really know what your story is about, because you can communicate the important bits in one sentence. Knowing this is important, since it makes everything else possible.


What is the best method for memorizing a list of a thousand items?

The so-called "memory palace" system is useful, but in order to remember any one item in a list one needs to begin at the door to the house and pass through every room. The peg system uses phonetic sounds for digits 0-9, which can be turned into words for numbers ("rat" for 41, the sounds for which are "R" and "T" or "D") which are then associated with the objects in a funny way. A rat nibbling on an iPhone is an easier thing to remember than "41=iPhone".


What should you keep in mind when opening a Japanese puzzle box?

Japanese puzzle boxes are fun, but difficult. To complete them, people find it is often necessary to go back a bit, because the mechanisms are often built to go one way, then back. Also, the marquetry on the outside is there to conceal the moving pieces, and hitting the box with a hammer is cheating.


What is the first step in executing a split-s?

A split-s is an air combat maneuver as old as the hills. To do it, the pilot must turn their plane so that it continues on its current vector while upside down, then pull "up" (which is really down) and turn in the direction opposite the vector on which they were originally traveling.


What is the best way to ensure you don't lose all the documents on your computer?

Backing up to multiple encrypted hard drives means that only you will have access to the data, and that if you lose one of them in say, a fire, you'll be fine. It's a good idea to keep one at home, one at work, and on in your wallet or on your keys, just in case.


What must a pilot do in order to correctly execute a hammer?

The hammer is one of the earliest air combat maneuvers, and requires the pilot to pull the aircraft into a vertical climb until it stalls, then let it yaw to one side into a dive which restarts the engine and gives the attacking aircraft speed, altitude and surprise.


What is the best, invisible way to write notes in class without getting caught?

Stick a Post It to your ID so you have something firm to write on, and use the broken off tip of a pencil to write in your pocket. No one will be able to see you, and if the teacher identifies the motion as happening, the last thing they'll think is that you're writing notes, and be too embarrassed to say anything.


What style choice will make a stone sculptor's life easier?

While a mask can be good for stone sculptors because it will keep dust out of one's lungs, short hair will have more immediate uses. Stone dust has a tendency to collect in one's hair, and even wearing a hat or a ponytail won't help. Stone dust can really get into your hair, and even washing it won't get it all out if you have long hair, so make like Michelangelo and cut your hair short.


How should you arrange seating at a dinner party so everyone is included?

By splitting up people from the people they came with, you can introduce them to new people by sitting new people on either side of them. This means everyone makes a new friend! Try to introduce people to other people you think they will find interesting or professionally useful, for extra points!


How do you kill the signal of a cellphone without using the power button, liquid or smashing it?

A Faraday cage will block radio signals, but how do you make one? Some older microwaves will do, but most modern ones will not cut off the signal because their design is built to block microwaves, not radio waves. Your basement would have to be deep underground to block the signal, and Mylar wallets only block signals on some models, and only some of the time. A copper bird cage would do the job though.


What's the last thing you should do when cleaning hinges with WD-40?

WD-40 is actually a degreaser, not a lubricant. As a result, it actually causes any oil left on a thing to come off after application. If you use WD-40 to clean a hinge or a bicycle chain, you're cleaning it and exposing it to potential rust. After using WD-40, clean off the WD-40 with a rag and apply machine oil as appropriate to your tool.


What is the first thing you should do when a PC gets a blue screen of death?

The BSOD is the bane of every PC user's existence. It is, luckliy, not too hard to fix. The first thing you should try is restarting the machine without all your hard drives, gaming accessories, etc. plugged in.


How can you basically guarantee you will win at a casino without being a professional gambler?

To gamble is to risk losing. Croupiers are the dealers in a casino, and the math is entirely on their side in every game. Do you want to win at a casino? Become a croupier. That's the only way you can guarantee success.


How do you throw a knuckle ball?

Throwing a knuckle ball isn't like throwing a curve or a cutter. A knuckle ball does not spin, so the throw is more of a push, but it has to appear like any other throw in order to fool the batter. Interestingly, the old fashioned way of throwing a splitter used to produce a ball without spin, giving it knuckle-ball-like characteristics.


What tool might you need to split a playing card into two layers of paper?

All that is really needed to split a playing card is a fingernail. After abusing a corner a little by tapping it against the table, the edge of the paper will start to open up and allow you to pry it open some more with a nail.


How do you find a road while in the wilderness, without a map?

Depending on the situation and surroundings, the best way to find a road could mean following carrion birds that tend to eat roadkill, or listening for the tire roar of a road, or climbing to high ground so you can view the road from a hilltop.


How can you guess what side is on the bottom of a die without seeing the sides?

Indeed, opposing sides on a die always add up to 7, so if the number on top is a 2, the bottom is a 5. If the number on top is a 6, the number on the bottom is a 1. If the number on top is a 3, the bottom is a 4.


What should you use to get corrosion off the terminals of a car battery?

Rust is iron oxide, and acid dissolves iron oxide. Coca Cola has mild acids in it (carbonic acid and citric acid) that, together, pack enough punch to remove rust from car batteries. In a pinch, it works. Then get your car to a garage, because your battery contacts shouldn't be rusting.


How can you outwit facial recognition software to go unrecognized?

Computers use algorithms to recognize faces. They apply a series of shapes to what they see, looking for patterns like the shadows under the eyebrows, nose, and chin. By disrupting this pattern with paint, you won't be recognized as a person.


How long should your starting pieces of lanyard be, for making a box stitch?

To begin a box stitch lanyard, you should have two colors of lanyard material, cut to 9 times the total length you want to have when finished.


How should you fold a fitted sheet?

You can make a perfect rectangle, though the inside seams won't be perfect. It's all about putting one corner inside the other, then neatening things up and doing it again. There are videos online so check 'em out!


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