Critical Thinking Exam Questions

  • 1) You have only an 8-liter jug and a 3-liter jug. Both containers are unmarked. You need exactly 4 liters of water.

    How can you get it, if a water faucet is handy?

    Question from Classroom Quickies • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: Fill the 3-liter jug three times, each time dumping the water from it into the 8-liter jug. The third time, this will leave one liter of water in the 3-liter jug, and the 8-liter jug will be filled. Dump the water from the 8-liter jug down the drain, and then empty the one liter of water from the 3-liter jug into the 8-liter jug. Now fill the 3-liter jug again and dump the water into the 8-liter jug. The 8-liter jug now contains 4 liters of water. Various answers are possible.

  • 2) What can you add to 1,000,000 and always get more than if you multiplied the 1,000,000 by the same value?

    Question from Scratch Your Brain • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: zero, any number less than and including 1.000001, any fraction less than a whole, or any negative number.

  • 3) Determine the common saying depicted in these verbal picture puzzles.

    a. DECI     SION
    b. ANOTHER     ONE

    Question from Think-A-Grams • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: a. split decision; b. one after another

  • 4) What is the 50th number in this sequence?

    Explain how you got your answer.
    5, 11, 17, 23, 29, 35, 41, …

    Question from Dr. Funster’s Think-A-Minutes • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: 299. The pattern involves a difference of 6 between adjacent terms of the sequence. Add 6 to 5, getting 11, then add 6 to 11, getting 17, then add 6 to 17, getting 23, etc., until 6 has been added 50 times, ending in 299. Answer explanations will vary.

  • 5) Determine both one-word answers.

    The floor of ship or boat,
    They walk on me at sea;
    Where there’s a C, make it an S,
    At school you sit on me.

    What am I? _______________

    Question from Spelling DooRiddles • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: Deck, desk

  • 6) The reason he gave the press for leaving his job was illness and fatigue. That wasn’t exactly the truth and it wasn’t exactly a lie.

    Why did he leave?

    Question from Red Herring Mysteries • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: He was the coach of a professional ball team. The teams owner fired him because he was sick and tired of the teams dismal performance. NOTE: Other explanations are accepted. Per the rules explained in the book one person is supposed to know the actual answer and the player(s) must ask "yes" or "no" questions to deduce the answer. This sample question is simply a fun way to practice critical and creative thinking.

  • 7) Determine both one-word answers.

    Another word for sick,
    Your forehead is quite hot;
    Now put an H in front,
    A mountain I am not.

    What am I?______________

    Question from Spelling DooRiddles • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: a. ill; b. hill

  • 8) Use the clues to solve the puzzle.

    A duck, a goose, a goat, and a horse all entered the barn at different times one day last week.
    a. A mammal entered the barn first.
    b. The duck entered before the goose.
    c. The goose entered ahead of the horse.

    Who entered the barn first? ____________

    Question from Dr. Funster’s Creative Thinking Puzzlers • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: the goat

  • 9) Determine the common term or phrase depicted in these verbal picture puzzles.

    a. CHIEDITOREF
    b. T   2222

    Question from Think-A-Grams • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: a. Editor in Chief; b. Tea for two

  • 10) Use the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division symbols once each to make these equations true.

    a. 600 __ 200 __ 400 __ 300 __ 200 = 200
    b. 200 __ 300 __ 600 __ 400 __ 200 = 200

    Question from Dr. Funster’s Quick Thinks Math • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: a. 600 x 200 / 400 - 300 + 200 = 200; b. 200 / 300 x 600 - 400 + 200 = 200

  • 11) While relaxing on the deck outside her cabin one summer evening, Vivian fell into a deep trance-like sleep. When she awoke, she felt as if she had slept only an hour or two, but it was now the middle of winter.

    How could this be?

    Question from Red Herring Mysteries • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: Vivian was on the patio of her first class cabin on a cruise ship. She fell asleep just before the ship crossed the equator on a trip from Hawaii to New Zealand. The equator is the dividing line between the opposite seasons. She fell asleep north of the equator while in the middle of summer and awoke two hours later south of the equator in the middle of winter. NOTE: Other explanations are accepted. Per the rules explained in the book one person is supposed to know the actual answer and the player(s) must ask "yes" or "no" questions to deduce the answer. This sample question is simply a fun way to practice critical and creative thinking.

  • 12) What do you get when a math teacher is a magician? ________________


    Question from Scratch Your Brain • Show/Hide Solution

    Answer: Tricky Problems


  • Answers to Questions:
    1) Fill the 3-liter jug three times, each time dumping the water from it into the 8-liter jug. The third time, this will leave one liter of water in the 3-liter jug, and the 8-liter jug will be filled. Dump the water from the 8-liter jug down the drain, and then empty the one liter of water from the 3-liter jug into the 8-liter jug. Now fill the 3-liter jug again and dump the water into the 8-liter jug. The 8-liter jug now contains 4 liters of water. Various answers are possible.

    2) zero, or any fraction less than a whole, or any negative number

    3) a. split decision; b. one after another

    4) 299. The pattern involves a difference of 6 between adjacent terms of the sequence. Add 6 to 5, getting 11, then add 6 to 11, getting 17, then add 6 to 17, getting 23, etc., until 6 has been added 50 times, ending in 299. Answer explanations will vary.

    5) Deck, desk

    6) He was the coach of a professional ball team. The team’s owner fired him because he was “sick and tired” of the team’s dismal performance.

    7) a. ill; b. hill

    8) the goat

    9) a. Editor in Chief; b. Tea for two

    10) a. 600 x 200 / 400 - 300 + 200 = 200; b. 200 / 300 x 600 - 400 + 200 = 200

    11) Vivian was on the patio of her first class cabin on a cruise ship. She fell asleep just before the ship crossed the equator on a trip from Hawaii to New Zealand. The equator is the dividing line between the opposite seasons. She fell asleep north of the equator while in the middle of summer and awoke two hours later south of th equator in the middle of winter.

    12) Tricky Problems


    The Free Critical Thinking Quizzes are promotional quizzes, not be confused with our time tested and academically sound Cornell Critical Thinking Tests.

  • Background for Sample Thinking Skills Questions 1-3

    For Sample Questions 1, 2 and 3 Please consider this information : A scientific study compared two matched groups of college women. The women in both groups were presented with information about the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise. The women in one group were paired up with one another and encouraged to work as two-person teams to help each other stick with the recommended healthy regimen of smart eating and regular vigorous exercise. The women in the other group were encouraged to use the same recommended regimen, but they were also advised to work at it individually, rather than with a partner or teammate. After 50 days the physical health and the well-being of all the women in both groups were evaluated. On average the women in the first group (with teammates) showed a 26 point improvement in measures of cardiopulmonary capacity, body strength, body fat reduction, and sense of well-being. On average the women in the other group (encouraged to work as individuals) showed a 17 point improvement on those same measures. Using statistical analyses the researchers determined that the probability that a difference of this size had occurred by chance was less than one in 1000.

    Sample Thinking Skills Question #1.

    If true, these research findings would tend to support which of the following assertions?

     A = A college woman cannot achieve optimal health functioning without a teammate.
     B = Universities should require all students living in campus residence halls to participate in a health regime of smart eating and regular vigorous exercise.
     C = A healthy diet will cause one to have better mental health and physical strength.
     D = This research study was funded by a corporation that makes exercise apparel.
     E = A regimen of smart eating and regular exercise is related to better health.

    Sample Thinking Skills Question #2.

    If the information given in the case above were true, which of the following hypotheses would not need to be ruled out in order to confidently claim that for the majority of young adults a regimen of smart eating and regular vigorous exercise will result in significant improvements in one's overall health.

     A = This study was about women, the findings cannot be generalized to include men.
     B = Since the study began to solicit willing participants before the Research Ethics Review Committee of the college gave the research project its formal approval to gather data, the findings are invalid.
     C = Some women in the study over-reported their compliance with the eating and exercise regimen, which led the researchers to underestimate the full impact of the regimen.
     D = Since many of those studied described themselves as overweight or out of shape when the study began, a similar regimen will not benefit people who are healthier to start with.
     E = The performance tests used to evaluate the health and well-being of females may not be appropriate for evaluating the health and well-being of males.

    Sample Thinking Skills Question #3.

    Consider the claim, "Working with a teammate or partners on a health regimen is better than working individually." Which of the following additional pieces of information would not weaken that claim?

    A = Most of the women in the group that was encouraged to work individually actually worked with friends and partners who were not part of the study.
     B = Most of the pairings and teams created in the first group (with teammates) fell apart after a few days and the women in that group actually worked individually.
     C = There was something about the women in the first group (with teammates) that the researchers overlooked, thus invalidating the intended matching of the two groups.
     D = Men are more likely to work alone, so any recommendation that men find a teammate or partner to support them in sticking with the regimen will be ignored.
     E = The study was undertaken when there were no exams or major projects due, thus the results about working with a teammate do not apply to more stressful times of the year.

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