From Harper’s, the All Souls Exam. Some call this the hardest exam ever, with fascinating questions. Some particularly good ones bolded, but first the preamble:
From general subject questions included in the All Souls College examinations between 2005 and 2010. Often described as the hardest exam in the world, the test is given over two days in September to recent graduates of Oxford, with winners receiving an Examination Fellowship of seven years. Applicants take four examinations of three hours each, and in the two general subject tests must answer three questions from a list. No more than three fellowships are awarded in any year, and in some years none are given. Last September approximately one hundred people took the exam, and three fellowships were awarded.
What is war good for?
From where does a sense of community come?
Are there too many accountants and auditors?
Is there anything to be said for astrology?
Why should I tolerate?
Is exile always a misfortune?
If there are millions of other planets capable of supporting advanced life-forms, why haven’t we seen or heard from them?
Is dark energy more interesting than dark matter?
What do extremes in dress and personal adornment signify?
Do historical novels harm historical study?
Has there ever been a period that was not an information age?
Why does truthfulness matter?
Should England declare independence?
Are universal human rights a form of cultural imperialism?
Have developments in electronic communications destroyed our personal space?
What can we learn from a century of sound recording?
Should we worry about the fate of the British red squirrel?
Is China overrated?
If modern politics is “managerial,” should politicians be better managers?
What has happened to epic poetry?
What can we learn from Las Vegas?
Is “women’s writing” a distinct category?
What difference should it make to feminism whether gender differences are natural or socially constructed?
Have any philosophical problems been finally solved?
Is it worse to be cruel to a fox than to a leaf?
Does business entertaining differ from bribery?
How many civilizations are there in today’s world?
Do we work too hard?
Can happiness be measured?
What are the deprivations of affluence?