UK adults score just 6 out of 10 on test for 11 year olds

A 10 question test, based on parts of the syllabus taught to 7 to 11 year olds, was posed to a nationwide panel of 18 to plus-45 year olds. The test, compiled by trivia site thinkalink, was attempting to assess the nation’s knowledge on facts such as the cube of 2, the first name of Shakespeare and the capital of Sweden.

Full marks, so answering all 10 questions correctly, was only achieved by 12% of the adult panel. Of those, 71% were women and 29% men.

The average score around the UK was just six questions right out of 10, peaking for those in the south of England at 8 whilst those in the north of England averaged just 3 questions right; a rather low score considering that the questions are all answered within the Key Stage 2 syllabus taught to school children between the ages of 7 and 11.

The regional scores for the test were as follows:

  • Southern England – 8/10
  • Wales – 7/10
  • Northern Ireland – 6/10
  • Scotland – 4/10
  • Northern England – 3/10

The question that stumped the majority of the panel was how to spell skilful, 77% got that wrong. 25% could not name the capital of Sweden, 23% did not know who was on the throne in 1900 and 5% couldn’t recall Shakespeare’s first name.

Andy Salmon, founder of Thinkalink, commented on the results, “Considering that these questions could be answered by at least a 7 year old, you might say the test was easy and so an average score of 6 out of 10 is pretty weak. Of course, it’s not that any of the questions were particularly difficult, we have all been taught this information, it is retaining the knowledge that is the hard bit. This is what is all about; a fun and easy way to remember anything.”

Commenting on the regional divide, Andy added, “It’s interesting to see the range of results around the country. Southerner’s correctly answered more than twice as many questions as those living in the north of England. Here’s a link then for those living in the North; ‘What are the names of the two train stations in Manchester?’”

Thinkalink is the ingenious and fun way to remember facts, from ‘ought-to-know’, like capital cities and dates of monarchs, to ‘nice-to-know’, like the Seven Wonders of the world and the dates James Bond films were released. The concept, which uses word-play to link facts into a sentence, was developed by Andy Salmon, who used it to teach his six-year-old triplets the 10 most populated cities and the 12 Chinese years.

The questionnaire was answered by 2180 adults in June 2008. Participants were given multi-choice answers.

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