Our Toughest Basic Knowledge Quiz Yet


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Donald Iain Smith / Blend Images / Getty Images

About This Quiz

General knowledge is difficult to pinpoint. For most people, it's not all that important for daily life, yet for others, having an expanded general knowledge is vital. Why? Well, if you know enough about a range of subjects, you can fit in just about anywhere.

And it's not that hard to pick up. General knowledge is about following what's going on in the world around you. Try to catch a news bulletin every day. Instead of spending hours on social media, open a news site and get up to date with the world around you. Read about things in history that interest you. We guarantee it will lead you to even more exciting finds.

The key is starting off with things you like to learn about, then moving on from there. But you knew that, didn't you? You are here to try your luck at our tough general knowledge quiz, where you can expect questions about just about anything! A range of questions faces you, taking in many different general knowledge subjects. These questions span many ages, from ancient history to modern times, planes, trains and automobiles... OK, maybe not!

How do you think you will fare? Will you pass with flying colors? Well, why not take the plunge and let's see what you can score. Good luck!

Which of these below are the reason a blood cell is colored red?

Hemoglobin, which is effectively the level of iron in your blood, is the reason blood is colored red. This comes from the reaction between the oxygen and iron in the blood, and is why someone with a lighter red blood color has a low iron count.


Of the options below, which is a flightless bird?

Kiwi's are small flightless birds found only in New Zealand where they mostly live in forests. There are five distinct species of Kiwi birds. They are characterized by their round bodies and long pointy beaks.


How many golf balls are there on the moon?

Golf balls on the moon? Yes, thanks to Alan Shepard, there are three golf balls on the moon. Shepard modified a collection tool, fitting an 8 iron head to it to allow him to launch the golf balls at low gravity!


True or false? President Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor before turning to politics.

Yes, indeed. Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor. He appeared in more than 80 different productions from between 1937 till 1964, including many cowboy movies.


Which structure divided Berlin during the Cold War?

After World War II, Germany was split into an east and west section, with the Russians controlling the east and the Allies, the west. Berlin was also split, with the Russians eventually constructing a wall that separated East Berlin from West Berlin. Even families were split with no one allowed to cross over between the east and west section.


In the world of music, which of these is a famous country music star?

Over the course of his career, Hank Williams had 11 No. 1 country singles. However, he had a drink and drug problem and on Jan. 1, 1953, while he was being driven to a New Year's Day concert, Williams died from a hemorrhage near his heart. He was just 29 years old.


In an adult skeleton, how many bones would you find?

While we have 270 bones in our body at birth, this drops to 206 by the time we are adults. Why? Well, it is simple, really. Bones fuse into each other, and that is how the numbers drop.


Of the options below, can you name the famous magazine that was published for the first time in 1953?

Playboy was first published by Hugh Hefner in December 1953. And who was the first Playboy bunny? Well, it was none other than Marilyn Monroe. The first edition sold 50,000 copies!


Can you name the American state considered the birthplace of aviation?

In 2003, Ohio was declared the birthplace of aviation. Why? Well, in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright became the first men to fly when on December 17, their aircraft, the Wright Flyer, first flew.


In the biopic, "Bohemian Rhapsody," which actor played singer Freddie Mercury?

After Sasha Baron Cohen was originally cast in the role of Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek took over the role once Cohen was dropped. Malek had made a name for himself in the cyber series, "Mr. Robot," but had appeared in other acting roles, including "The Pacific."


Name the leader of the U.S.S.R. who died in 1953?

Joseph Stalin was the feared leader of the U.S.S.R. for a period of 30 years from 1922 to 1952. Not only did he lead the Soviets in defense of their homeland after the German invasion in 1941, after they were repelled, he ordered his troops to launch attacks into Germany, eventually taking Berlin in 1945. Stalin also led a purge of what he called "enemies of the working class" in which 700,000 Soviets were executed in the late 1930s. Stalin died in 1953.


In cuisine, a dish of diced raw fish known as a poke bowl originated in which state of America?

A poke bowl (pronounced poh-keh) originated in Hawaii. Essentially it is raw, marinated tuna tossed together with rice and vegetables.


From this list, can you pick the only mammal born with horns?

That's right, the giraffe is the only mammal to be born with horns already growing. In fairness, although we call them horns, they are nothing like the pointy bits on other animals, but more like stumpy bits growing out of their heads.


Can you name the forerunner to the United Nations?

The League of Nations was formed after World War I. The exact date? Well, that was January 10, 1920. The purpose of the organization was to prevent another world war. Although it was the idea of American President Woodrow Wilson, America did not join.


Which of these is the odd one out?

The universe is the odd one out because the Earth, Sun and Mercury all form part of the galaxy we inhabit, the Milky Way. That, in turn, is part of the universe.


Who was the president of the United States in 1953?

A brilliant general during World War II, Dwight Eisenhower entered politics in the 1950s and was elected the President of the United States in 1953. He held the office for two terms, up until 1961.


Where would you find the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Sitting 55 meters in height, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located in the city of Pisa in Italy. Built in 1372, foundational problems during construction caused the lean.


Who wrote the well-known play, King Lear?

King Lear is one of Shakespeare's tragedies. It is thought he wrote it in 1605, and it was first performed in 1606. It comprises five acts.


Which of these composers wrote the musical piece, "The Goldberg Variations"?

Written for the harpsichord, "The Golden Variations" were written by J.S. Bach in 1741. Unlike many of his other works, they were published during his lifetime.


Can you name the first female leader of a European country?

Margaret Thatcher was the first female leader in Europe. She was appointed Prime Minister of Great Britain on May 4, 1979, and remained in office until November 1990.


In basketball, who is the only player to score 100 points by himself in a single game?

Wilt Chamberlain recorded the incredible feat of 100 points in a game in 1962 while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks .


What does C.I.A. stand for?

The Central Intelligence Agency was formed on September 18, 1947. It is tasked with matters of national security. It has no law enforcment function.


Name the political prisoner who spent 27 years in prison, most of them on Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela was found guilty of treason at the Rivonia Trial in the early 1960s and sentenced to life in prison. He spent much of it working in a quarry on Robben Island with other political prisoners but was freed by the South African government in 1990. He went on to become the first black president of South Africa.


In a cartoon series, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

SpongeBob Squarepants is a much-loved cartoon that first aired on Nickelodeon in 1991. Over the years, 242 episodes have been produced. The whole world of Bikini Bottom was created by Stephen Hillenburg, who recently died recently.


Can you give the nickname of the Boeing B-17 bomber from World War II.

The B-17 Flying Fortress is one of the most famous aircraft of World War II. Designed as a bomber, it was primarily used in the West, flying daylight missions against Nazi Germany. The B-17 could hold 9,600 pounds of bombs and had 11 to 13 machine guns as defensive armament. It first flew in 1935 and entered service in 1938.


In mathematics, if you were dealing with angles, triangles and equations which include sine, cosine, and tangent, with which branch of math would you be working with?

Trigonometry is the branch of mathematics that includes angles, triangles and the relationship between sides.


What was the name of the first James Bond novel published by Ian Fleming?

Casino Royale, the only James Bond book to be filmed as a movie twice, was released on April 13, 1953. Written by Ian Fleming, it not only introduces us to Bond but to his CIA friend, Felix Leiter. Fleming sold the film rights to the book for $6,000.


Please name the author who wrote a series of fantasy books about a land called Narnia.

The seven novels in the Chronicles of Narnia series have sold more than 100 million copies. They were published between 1950 and 1956.


What metal does 'Au' signify on the period table?

Gold holds the periodic table name of "Au" because of its Latin name, aurum. A precious metal, gold has an atomic number of 79.


In baseball, who holds the record for the most home runs smashed in a single season?

In 2001, Barry Bonds set the all-time record in Major League Baseball by smashing 73 home runs in a single season. He is also the sports' leading career home run hitter with 762.


From the list below, name the band that won a Grammy Award in 1990 but was then found to be lip synching.

In a move that shocked the world, music sensation Milli Vanilli was found to not be singing on their tracks at all, including studio albums. In fact, Rob and Fab, who were the two people in the group, could not sing at all. They gave their Grammy back, of course.


Which of these below provides protection for you teeth?

Four tissue types make up our teeth. Enamel is the final part covering the crown and providing a final barrier of protection.


A red round ball on a white background is the flag of which country?

Legend has it that this form of the Japanese flag was first used in 701 AD by emperor Mommu. Evidence shows it was used in the 1300s when Japanese shoguns fought off invading Mongols. The flag itself represents a rising sun, hence Japan has the name, "Land of the rising sun."


Which of these is the largest bird in the world?

A male ostrich can weigh more than 300 pounds and grow to 9.2 feet tall. They can also be very aggressive, especially during mating season.


True or false? TV dinners were invented in the 1950s?

True! Swanson and Sons used the term, "TV Brand Frozen Dinner," in 1953. And what was the first meal they made available? Well, it was Thanksgiving turkey with all the sides and trimmings. This dinner, which came in a tray made from aluminum, was then heated in the oven.


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