Time to take the science quiz

From the Christian Science Monitor:

You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education, stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts to back up your opinion? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy.

Go take the quiz and report back!


  1. #1 Jason
    February 23, 2012

    44/50 :/

  2. #2 CK
    February 23, 2012

    You answered 32 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 64%.

  3. #3 William
    February 23, 2012

    You answered 49 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 98%.

    Missed the question about the symbol for friction.

  4. #4 S. Williams
    February 23, 2012

    I’ve got 44 of 50 questions correct. When I started going through it I thought “Gosh these are trivially basic” but it picked up and I readily admit that some I got right only because I’m good with multiple-choice tests.

  5. #5 MadScientist
    February 23, 2012

    50/50 although I had to guess about the “horsepower” knowing that the term “Watt” came much later (I was too lazy to try to figure out what that ridiculous foot-something entity would be equal to in metric units – which is OK since I would have come up with some funny metric unit of ~680 Watts). I also noticed the “previous” button, clicked on it, answered wrongly, clicked on it again and gave the correct answer again. It’s a strange ‘test’ that allows you to cheat.

  6. #6 MadScientist
    February 23, 2012

    Meh … it’s good they didn’t ask for a horsepower/Watt conversion because I would have got that wrong… 745.something, not 680…
    Then again I could always click “previous” and pretend I never made a mistake.

  7. #7 Paul
    February 23, 2012

    46 out of 50 and most of the questions seemed absurdly easy for a scientist though I didn’t know what body was found beyond Pluto and some exotic stuff like that. And unlike your 50/50 commenter, I didn’t cheat using the Previous button to change my answers.

  8. #8 elspi
    February 23, 2012


    Been too long since I took any science classes.

    No it wasn’t easy, although it started out that way.

  9. #9 Besomyka
    February 23, 2012

    40/50. I don’t know why I thought oxygen was 12. I use to know all that, way back when.

  10. #10 Minnemooseus
    February 23, 2012


    About 11 of the corrects had a fair amount of “educated guess” in them.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    February 23, 2012

    Besomyka: It was 12, but they changed it to save neutrons.

  12. #12 Julie Stahlhut
    February 23, 2012

    I got 46 out of 50. Missed three physics/astronomy questions, which wasn’t surprising. Blanked on one chemistry question.

  13. #13 Drivebyposter
    February 23, 2012

    Besomyka: It was 12, but they changed it to save neutrons.
    Fucking austerity…

  14. #14 Nemo
    February 23, 2012

    45/50. I am disappoint.

  15. #15 Physicalist
    February 23, 2012

    47/50. Had to guess on a few and rely on the etymological hints occasionally though.

  16. #16 Dave
    February 23, 2012

    43 out of 50. Would have got 44 but am incompetent at counting on my fingers.

  17. #17 bad Jim
    February 23, 2012

    47 – I missed the surface gravity of Mars, the symbol for the coefficient of friction, and the meaning of “nimbus”. Some of the questions were more history than science. I admit I had to guess a few.

  18. #18 Omegamom
    February 24, 2012

    42/50 – the ones I missed were almost all classical physics…

  19. #19 rpenner
    February 24, 2012

    50/50 but then I also had top scores on AP Chemistry, Biology and Physics back in the day. That letter for coefficient of friction has other common uses in physics, but those typically aren’t seen at the high school level.

  20. #20 zxcier
    February 24, 2012

    48/50, with a few educated guesses..always got meiosis and mitosis mixed up. Not a bad sampling of questions though

  21. #21 Phil
    February 24, 2012

    45/50 but I never took geology, meteorology or astronomy.

  22. #22 Mike Haubrich
    February 24, 2012

    I started it, and was cruising along, but I just realized that with 50 questions and a completed page load for each question and each answer, with all of the elements on each page reloading on each one, that I just don’t have the extra hour to do this. I got the Xenon question wrong, which is understandable. But then I realized that I had checked the box for 4.5 million instead of billion years for the age of the earth and realized that my impatience would prevent me from doing my best on this quiz.

  23. #23 Ashley Moore
    February 24, 2012

    Not too bad, but there were also a number of science history questions as opposed to straight science.
    Also, a linguist, or anyone with a basic knowledge of greek or latin could also guess about 10 of the questions without knowing any science at all, due to the questions giving the etymology of terms, along with the scientific definition.

  24. #24 csrster
    February 24, 2012

    I’m no design-nazi but a quiz that requires me to check 50 little radio-buttons and click on 100 page-arrows just to answer 50 questions can KISS MY HAIRY SCOTS ARSE.

  25. #25 Skeptic Hamster
    February 24, 2012

    47, though I have to admit that my knowledge of etymology was as much use as my scientific knowledge.

  26. #26 Thomas McGarry
    February 24, 2012

    Had 36 of 40 when the thing locked up. The thing runs too slowly and I have work to do.

  27. #27 Louise
    February 24, 2012

    45 out of 50, some were lucky guesses, using slight knowledge of greek and latin. some were based on knowledge of biology that didn’t even exist when I was at school. I was pleased at how much knowledge came back from the past (after over 40 years since graduating)

  28. #28 Chris Winter
    February 24, 2012

    I got 47 of 50, aided by a knowledge of etymology and some lucky guesses (as with “-nimbus”). I missed Newton’s first law (chose the second), the symbol for friction (chose epsilon) and mitosis (chose meiosis).

    It’s a pretty good quiz, although tedious with the two clicks per question, plus scrolling on some.

  29. #29 Jack Sprocket
    February 24, 2012

    I agree with the hairy -arsed Scotsman. I ran out of patience at 20/20, which is much better than my eyesight.

  30. #30 dreamer
    February 24, 2012

    35/15, 70% — personally disappointed, missed a couple because of rushing.
    Overall a good quiz, including some hints in the questions themselves.
    Missing from the quiz: some science basics, about the process itself, i.e. hypothesis vs. theory, a basic statistic question etc.

    I think our candidates for President need to be locked up without electronics and given a good old fashioned 3 hour exam, all handwritten — I would like to see presidential candidates, in their own handwriting, answer a few basic quizzes on history, geography, science (not multiple choice, but writing answers in)

    Then they’d have to write a couple of longer essays on current topics (say overpopulation, climate change) along with a “why I want to be prez” essay.

    Results would be photographed and published on the web.

    Personally, this would help me judge a candidate much better than say, ads.

  31. #31 Jack Sprocket
    February 24, 2012

    “35/15, 70%”

    Your science is better than either your maths or your typing…

  32. #32 dreamer
    February 24, 2012

    35 right, 15 wrong, is there anything I’m missing regarding my skills in copying the results from the Monitor page?!

  33. #33 Eric Lund
    February 24, 2012

    49/50. I missed the one about “-nimbus”.

    Most of the questions were rather superficial, indeed. A few were about conventional notation, so for example anybody who never took a physics class (or hasn’t in several decades) shouldn’t feel bad about the one where they asked what symbol denotes the coefficient of friction. Also, the etymology hints were helpful in many cases.

    There was, however, one question that required actual math. That was the one which asked what acceleration would result from applying a 1 newton force on a 200 gram object. Still high school level, but at least it was a real question.

  34. #34 L Delaney
    February 25, 2012

    41 out of 50. Many stupid mistakes. It was fun taking the quiz but the design of the site was rather pathetic. Took too long to complete and I thought of quitting several times.

  35. #35 daedalus2u
    February 25, 2012

    46 out of 50, but it was a while ago so I don’t remember the questions. The ones I missed were all nomenclature ones. I knew the science, just not the terminology.

    Very poor usability. Also, what is the CSM doing talking about science? They deny most of medicine.

  36. #36 Don
    February 25, 2012

    48/50 missed coefficient of friction and -nimbus and had to guess on one other.

  37. #37 Phillip Moon
    February 25, 2012

    I am sorry to say I only got 60% (30/50). Then again, I have had no chemistry, math and I don’t talk, physics and I do best with explanations for non-scientists. In high school, my last year of science was a half semester in my first year.

    I’m just a science buff, and if I needed to use any of the information from or relating to the quiz, I would go to people who are scientists, rather than buffs. That’s why I read all these blogs by scientist.

  38. #38 Grumpy1942
    February 26, 2012

    36 of 50. But then, I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade.

  39. #39 Dave R
    February 26, 2012


    Got 4 easy space/physics ones wrong but made up for it with about the same number of lucky guesses in the biology ones. Didn’t know the catalytic converter or the rock types.

    Also what they^ said about the site design.

  40. #40 Shannon
    February 26, 2012

    37/50…missed a lot of the physics-related questions and some of the planetary questions regarding names of moons, etc.

  41. #41 Daniel J. Andrews
    February 26, 2012

    As others have said, ran out of patience after 10 questions (got them all right so off to a good start). A poorly designed quiz, perhaps designed that way so the site obtains multiple hits???????? Put 10 questions per page, all answerable, and let me see the answers after I’ve submitted, not after each flipping answer.

  42. #42 Richard Chapman
    February 26, 2012


    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that most visitors here posted good scores. Educated laypeople are the best deterrent against organized ignorance.

  43. #43 Bert Chadick
    February 27, 2012

    46 out of 50, but I spent my life as a shoe repairman, breathing glue fumes. Fun tho.