General Knowledge: The Quiz

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post on general knowledge, looking at what a candidate to a conference interpreter training course might be expected to know. In that post, I promised to share with readers the questions asked at the aptitude tests held in June for the Master’s in Conference Interpreting at the University of La Laguna. Today, I’m going to keep that promise.

In total, about 50 different questions were asked over the course of the day that I was present at the aptitude tests (there were four days of testing in total – one on Tenerife and three in Madrid). I hesitated for a long time about whether I should publish all of the questions that were asked on that day, or just a selection. I finally decided on the latter approach, since it seemed to be closer to the actual test given on the day.

In the following quiz, you’ll see that there are two questions given for each language being tested. This is in keeping with the approach used at the aptitude tests: each student was asked only two questions for each passive language for which he or she was being examined. Candidates didn’t get 50 questions to show off their knowledge of the world with, but four, or at the most six.

Also, in the actual test, the questions were asked in the language being tested, and replies had to be given in that language as well. Here, I’ve translated them all into English, to give everybody a shot at them. (By the way, there were other languages tested on other days, but these were the only languages involved on the day that I was present.)

Time to take the test!


Who is the current Bundespräsident (not Bundeskanzler!) of Germany? How is the Bundespräsident elected?

What is celebrated on October 3rd in Germany? What does the date commemorate?


What do you think when you hear “Lorca”? (Note: there are two possible, completely unrelated answers to this question, and both are right.)

What can you tell me about the “Movimiento 15M”?


What happened on 25 April, 1974 in Portugal?

What were the results of the recent Portuguese elections?


Name any two newspapers published in France, and give me their general editorial line.

Name all the French overseas departments.


What are the BRICS countries and what unites them? How about the PIGS countries?

What’s the origin of the name “Tea Party” and what is the term used to refer to these days?


There you have it! Don’t worry about providing me with the answers in the comments section or anything like that, as this test is for readers’ personal edification only. I am pretty sure all of the correct answers can be found in Google without too much difficulty, although if anyone gets stuck on the Lorca one, let me know and I’ll be happy to explain.

My final holiday post is coming next week …