The Underrated General Skills Test



By: Monica Lee

6 Min Quiz

Image: mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Think of all you do in a single day, and you'll realize how many basic skills you put to the test. For instance, picking up coffee at the drive-thru and calculating whether the cashier gave you the correct change. Then there are the communication skills you have at work, making sure co-workers and supervisors clearly understand your proposals and that your reports are proofed for grammar and spelling errors. Next, you may be mapping the fastest route home as you run errands and pick up groceries. Even making dinner involves measurements and percentages. 

Now it's time to put these underrated skills to the test and see how clever you really are. Correctly answer more than 15 questions and feel good about yourself. Naturally, everyone has different levels of skills in different areas, so don't be surprised if you get more or less than the average. This is just a loose comparison to the overall population. 

This quiz will touch on everything from basic grammar, spelling, math and language skills to sentence completion and information retrieval. Sure, it's a challenge, but it's a challenge you're up for. Take the quiz now and put your intelligence to the test. Plus, you're sure to walk away a tad smarter. 

We waited for 10 minutes. At last, the ________ arrived, and we rode it to 57th Street. Which word should fill in the blank?

Clues from the context indicate that the answer is something that can be ridden and that the destination was a street. The only possible option is "bus."


What is the correct answer: 0.50+1.28=___?

This is an easy addition problem, as long as you understand decimals. Line up the decimal points and add from there.


Which word or phrase best indicates the meaning of "proficient"?

When you are proficient at something, you are capable of doing the task or sufficiently able to perform it. Are you proficient at quiz-taking?


A computer battery usually costs $76, but there is a $37 discount. How much does the battery cost during the sale?

The calculation of the equation $76-$37 starts with the ones column. Since you can't subtract 7 from 6, you'll need to borrow from the tens column and subtract 7 from 16, to get the number nine in the ones column. Then the tens column involves the straightforward subtraction of 6-3=3. Hence, the answer is $39.


A special event had 80 participants. All the people sat around two tables. Julie counted 31 people around the first table. How many people sat around the second table?

Here's another straightforward equation. Subtract 31 from 80 and you'll get the number of people that are left to sit at the other table. So, 80-31=49.


If x=3, what does y equal in the following equation: 5(2x-1)=y?

Since we are told that x=3, anywhere we see an x we will replace it with the number 3. Remember your order of operations and calculate anything within the parenthesis first, then do multiplication before subtraction. So, 5(2x-1)=y becomes 5(2*3-1)=y. Then 5(6-1)=y, or 5*5=y, so y=25.


Ben and Eric decided to buy coats for $88 each. Being a club member, Eric bought both coats and got a 10% discount on each. The friends have decided to split the payment evenly between them. How much will they each pay?

In order to solve this problem, you can figure out just the cost of one coat, since they are the same. 10% of $88.00 is $8.80 The price of the coat after the discount is $88.00–$8.80, which is $79.20.


Which word or phrase best indicates the meaning of "complementary"?

When something is "complementary," it enhances or emphasizes the qualities of something else. However, the word "complimentary" means something is free of charge or you have received praise.


Which sentence is properly written?

The sentence that is written correctly is: "A small stipend is given to any student completing their hours, as defined." "As defined" modifies "their hours."


Chicken A lays an average of 3 eggs a month. Chicken B lays an average of 5 eggs per month. In the time that chicken B lays 30 eggs, how many eggs should chicken A lay?

It's all about ratios. For every 5 eggs that Chicken B lays, Chicken A will lay 3 eggs. If Chicken B lays 30 eggs, divide by 5 to get 6, and then for Chicken A multiply 6 by 3. In other words, 3*6=18 eggs a month.


In recent years poker has _______quite popular. Which word completes the sentence correctly?

"Has become" is a verb phrase in the present perfect tense. This form always includes the present tense of "to have" plus the past participle of another verb - in this case, "become."


Over the course of two weeks (14 days), Jane spent $105.00 on lunch. What was the average cost per day?

Although this is a straightforward division problem, you may need to figure it out using pencil and paper - no calculators, please! To find the average, divide $105.00 by 14. The answer is $7.50.


If the first two statements are true, is the last statement true as well? Daisy is a dog. All dogs are smart. Daisy is smart.

The above question involves the transitive property of equality: if A=B and B=C, then A=C. Therefore, the last statement would be true.


What is the answer to this equation: -41+13=___?

You need to understand your negatives in order to answer this correctly. Think of a line with points, where -50 and 50 are on the ends. Find -41, then move 13 points to the right as you add 13. The answer brings you to -28 on the line.


What is the answer to this equation: (24÷3)x(8÷2)=___?

Remember your order of operations and do the equations in the parentheses first. So (24÷3)=8 and (8÷2)=4. Next, multiply 8x4 to get 32.


A man is 21 years old and his sister is one-third his age. When the man is 36, what will be the age of his sister?

Did you fall into the trap of guessing 12? His sister was 1/3 his age when he was 21, meaning she was 7. Therefore, they are 14 years apart in age. When he is 36, subtract 14 to find out her age. She is 22!


You want to leave a 15% tip on a $33 meal. How much should you give the cashier?

To calculate a 15% tip, it's usually easier to figure out a 10% tip ($3.30) and add half or 5% of it ($1.65). So a 15% tip is $3.30+$1.65=$4.95. Add that to the cost of the food, which is $33.00, to get $37.95.


Which of these doesn’t belong?

Sledding, ice skating and skiing are outdoor winter sports. Tennis would need to be played indoors in the winter. (Also give yourself points if you noticed that tennis is the only option that doesn't contain "ing.")


Rearrange the words to form a complete sentence: "three triangle a has sides." Is the resulting sentence true or false?

The proper sentence is: "A triangle has three sides." Of course, this is a true statement.


A biker travels 5 feet in 0.5 seconds. At this speed, how far will the biker travel in a minute?

This question is easier to solve if you convert the feet into seconds. Since the biker travels 5 feet in half a second, he travels 10 feet per second. Since there are 60 seconds in a minute, multiply 10 feet by 60 to get 600 feet per minute.


If brownies sell for one dollar and oranges for 75 cents, how many of each were sold for a total of $8.25?

To get this answer, you need to do a process of elimination. Since the first answer has nine brownies (or $9.00) you already know that answer is over $8.25. Eight oranges alone will not be enough to reach $8.25, so eliminate the second answer. The next answer is correct, because six brownies are $6.00 and three oranges are $2.25, which together equal $8.25.


What is the next number in this sequence: 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, ___?

Each number in the series is four greater than the one that came before. 19+4=23.


"Luscious" is the opposite of which word?

"Luscious" means very pleasing to the sense of taste, whereas if you eat something rotten you may say the food was distasteful. Lasagna and ice cream are luscious, right?


There are four times as many used cars in the car dealership lot as there as new cars. There are 120 cars total in the lot. How many new cars are there?

We know that new cars (n) plus old cars (4n) equal 120. Or, n+4n=120. Or, 5n=120. Divide each side by 5 to get n=24 ... which is the number of new cars.


When was the Declaration of Independence signed?

This is just a general knowledge question. Knowing when the Declaration of Independence was signed is important. You should also be able to name the current president and all of the states in the U.S.


Can you solve this intimidating equation: 0.2648÷1=___?

It's called the identity property of multiplication and division. The product of 1 and any number is that number.


The bill is $19.56 and you pay $50.01. How much change should you get?

This is easier to subtract if you pay off a penny from $50.01 to the bill of $19.56 (now $19.55). So, the equation becomes $50.00-$19.55=$30.45.


Let's see how you do with two negative numbers: -57+(-74)=___?

When you add two negative numbers together, you get a greater negative. So -57+(-74)=-131.


What do you get when you reduce the fraction 21/49 to its lowest terms?

The largest common factor of both numbers is 7; each number is evenly divisible by 7. Divide the top and bottom numbers in the fraction 21/49 by 7 to get 3/7.


What is the relationship between "refutable" and "irrefutable"?

Something "refutable" can be proven false or inaccurate, whereas something "irrefutable" can't be proven false. Therefore, these words have opposite meanings; they are antonyms.


Which number is largest?

You need to know what the placement of decimal marks and commas means in a number to get this correct - noting that this quiz follows American English practices. Twenty-eight thousand is the largest number among the choices.


An object is 23 feet wide, 10 feet deep and 8 feet high. What is the volume?

The formula for volume is length x height x width. Simply substitute the numbers above and multiply to get 1,840 cubic feet.


Which item should you refrain from eating?

It's easy to confuse desert and dessert. Just remember that a dessert is so sweet it needs an extra S to contain all the sweetness. A desert has lots of sand and doesn't taste good at all!


You and three friends went out for dinner. The bill is $85.36, including tip. How much does each person owe?

Don't use your calculator - you can do this. Just be sure to read the question completely. There are four people dividing the tab of $85.36, making $21.34 each.


In a leap year, how many days does February have?

Think of it this way: if it's a leap year it is going further than a normal year. So, the month of February has 29 days in a leap year, instead of the usual 28 days.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!