The “How Smart Are You?” Quiz


By: Elizabeth Lavis

6 Min Quiz

Image: Leonello Calvetti / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Being smart doesn't just mean knowing a lot about something specific. 

The true intellectual giants among us know a little something about every subject under the sun. They understand that there is a plethora of topics and disciplines in this big beautiful world that we live in, and they want to know about it all. 

In this quiz, we don't pigeonhole you into one particular study; instead, we test you on topics that range from the animal kingdom to ancient Egypt. If you are one of those people who can tune into Jeopardy and crush every category from literature to space exploration, this quiz is right up your alley. It's the kind of general knowledge that makes you flashback to your ninth-grade Earth Science class, and think about the musical folklore that you heard once upon a time when someone mentioned Janis Joplin and the curse of 27.

We take all of the obscure factoids from Greek mythology to adorable Australian marsupials and to modern children's Christmas stories and wrap it all up nicely in a little box with your name on it.  If you are the king or queen of general trivia knowledge, it's time to show off your smarts!

Charles Darwin developed his groundbreaking theory of evolution on these famous islands. What are they called?

The sheer magnitude of life on the Galapagos Islands gave Charles Darwin the food for thought he needed to develop his Theory of Natural Selection, the widely accepted version of evolution we subscribe to today.


These fab four revolutionized modern music. What British city did the Beatles come from?

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison all hail from Liverpool, England. They originally got together in early 1960 and went on to become one of the most influential bands in musical history.


Sailors have used it to navigate the high seas for centuries. Which option below is the official name of the North Star?

Polaris is the brightest star in Ursa Minor, and it is commonly referred to as the North Star. For centuries, this bright celestial feature has been used for navigation on the high seas.


Legend has it that he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in Mississippi in exchange for musical fame. Which musician was he?

Robert Johnson famously sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play guitar like nobody else in the world. He died at 27, starting the macabre and spooky "Curse of 27."


Everyone loves the little Aussie hoppers known as kangaroos, but what do we refer to their babies as?

Baby kangaroos are referred to as "joeys" and often spend a lot of time in their mother's front pouch until they are old enough to start hopping and punching just like the grown 'roos.


Which Grecian underworld river acted as a conduit between the worlds of the living and the dead?

The River Styx is not the ideal place to bring a picnic lunch and relax for a while. In Greek mythology, this river connects the world of the living with the deep and dark underworld.


Put a hat on his head and he comes alive! What is the name of the magical snowman who wanted to get up to the North Pole before he melted?

Frosty the snowman might have been a "happy, jolly soul," but this Christmas character was also the victim of rising temperatures that had him scurrying for the North Pole with the help of some children.


This social creature often forms complex societies. What's the animal pictured here?

Prairie dogs are cute little creatures who know that there's a tremendous benefit to be had by working together to get the job done. They hate being alone, and every dog in a pack has its own job.


Calling all AP English smarty pants! Who wrote the epic poem, "The Divine Comedy"?

"The Divine Comedy" is an epic poem in three parts, and it tells the story of heaven, purgatory and hell. It is considered to be one of the most important poems in all of Italian literature.


What ancient Jordanian city did Indiana Jones explore in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"?

The climactic ending of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" takes place in the real Jordanian city of Petra. This ancient city is considered to be one of the wonders of the world.


If you're in Tokyo and want to buy some soba, what currency would you use?

The yen is the official currency of Japan, and it is also the third most popular currency to trade on international markets. It tends to be fairly strong, even against the euro and the dollar.


You may or may not find bats in these famous Malaysian caves, but you're sure to find plenty of religious relics. What are they?

The Batu Caves are an easy day trip from Malaysia's Kuala Lumper, and they're well worth the trip. This intricate system of caves doubles as temples designed for many Hindu deities.


Her secretive smile has captivated art lovers for centuries. What famous artist painted the "Mona Lisa"?

Leonardo da Vinci was a true "Renaissance Man." He was an inventor, sculptor and painter. His most famous piece is the "Mona Lisa," a small painting that some say could be the master himself!


What bustling seaside city is also the capital of Peru?

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Established in the mid-1500s, Lima remains an important city for travelers because it is home to the largest international airport in the country, as well as Incan ruins.


It has saved hundreds of millions of lives. What powerful antibiotic did Alexander Fleming discover?

Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin saved hundreds of millions of lives all over the world because illnesses like pneumonia and sepsis were no longer certain death sentences.


Chernobyl turned this bustling Ukrainian city into a ghost town. What is the city's name?

Thanks to HBO's latest series on the Chernobyl disaster, the ghost town of Pripyat has been getting a lot of attention. This city was abandoned immediately after the catastrophe and remains frozen in time.


Sharpen your pencils! What mineral can you find in your No. 2s?

The commonly held belief that pencils contain lead is simply untrue. Lead hasn't been used since ancient times. These days, your No. 2 pencil will write with ease with a graphite core.


What lake straddles Peru and Bolivia and is known as the highest navigable lake in the world?

Sky-high, massive Lake Titicaca sits right on the Peruvian and Bolivian border, and the two countries share it. Some of the islands belong to the Bolivians and some to the Peruvians.


Which dewy green succulent doubles as a cure for sunburn and a superfood?

Aloe is the No. 1 ingredient in any good sunburn treatment, and this cooling green plant has been used for centuries to aid burnt skin. It's also sometimes consumed as a superfood.


This vast body of water takes up massive amounts of planetary surface space? What ocean is it?

The Pacific Ocean is a vast body of water that stretches all the way between the Americas and Southeast Asia. It also cuts a huge, wide band across our planet from north to south.


A decadent Polish staple, this dumpling goes well with sour cream. What tasty treat are we talking about?

Pierogi are Polish dumplings that can be filled with savory or sweet surprises. They can be boiled, baked or fried, and the savory ones are often served with a dollop of sour cream on the side.


Once every four years, this soccer/football tournament takes the world by storm. What's the competition called?

First held in 1930 at the Estadio Centenario (shown here) in Montevideo, Uruguay, the FIFA World Cup rolls around every four years and soccer/football fans all over the world are delighted. Even in the U.S., where soccer generally takes a backseat to American football, there are celebrations.


This national dish of Mexico might contain chocolate, but it's not a dessert. What is this intense savory sauce?

Making mole is varsity-level cooking. This Mexican sauce combines garlic, onions, spices, seeds, and bittersweet chocolate together in a layered and complex sauce that truly is a culinary masterpiece.


It's so teeny-tiny that you can display it in your home, no problem. What type of tree is the smallest in the world?

Bonsai actually refers to a style of tree, rather than a type of tree and is the result of aggressive pruning and shaping. Some bonsais have been known to be as small as gum drops.


What are the three original primary colors?

Red, yellow and blue are the original primary colors that you probably learned about in your fourth-grade art class. Mix them together and you can make any number of different shades.


Giddyup! This mounted postal service ran between Missouri and California. What was it?

The Pony Express only ran for about a year, serving the territory between Missouri and California with mail, newspaper and parcel delivery. Despite the long ride times, it billed itself as a fast service.


They are one of the most sought-after gems in the world. What humble element do diamonds come from?

Diamonds are made out of hyper-condensed carbon. These sparkly stones certainly come from humble beginnings, but they are not as rare as you would believe. Diamonds are quite common.


He was one of the youngest rulers in the ancient world. Who was the boy king of Egypt?

King Tutankhamun, also known as "King Tut," was discovered in 1922. He is known as the boy king of ancient Egypt and was buried in a lavish tomb surrounded by many royal relics and treasures.


We all know it as our shared home, but deep under the oceans and continents, what is the Earth's core made of?

Although nobody has ever been there, scientists speculate that the core of the earth is comprised of metal. The outer core is liquid and the inner core is thought to be solid.


It's the iconic story of Jean Valjean. What famous book written by Victor Hugo inspired a major musical?

Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, a French man who was imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his family. It was a criticism of French society and classism as a whole.


This cute animal is an Australian marsupial. What creature is pictured here?

Koalas are eucalyptus-eating animals that are indigenous to Australia. They tend to live high in trees and are famously shy. Although they look cute, they can be vicious if provoked.


Which famous pirate was known for his fearsome looks and thick dark beard?

Blackbeard's real name was Edward Teach, and he ruled the seas with fear and intimidation. He got his nickname because of his thick mat of black hair that he would never comb or tame.


Chinese New Year starts at the end of January and is signified by this color. Which hue is it?

Red is one of the lucky Chinese colors and the primary color for Chinese New Year. You'll see this fiery hue adorning just about everything that has to do with the holiday, from favors to fancy dress.


It's getting hot in here. At what temperature does water boil?

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius, which is roughly 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Boiling water is one of the most effective ways to remove some of the nastier water-borne germs from it.


It has been called the "Venice of the East." What's the capital of Thailand?

Bangkok is the bustling capital city of Thailand. Located near the bottom part of the country, it is a metropolis that is famous for its industry, food, culture and incredible shopping.


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