Journalistic Method Part 3: Test Your Powers of Observation

When I was teaching journalism at the University of Illinois, I often gave my students a test designed to see just how observant they were.

Observation, as I have pointed out in previous posts, is a critical skill writers need to master IF they are to provide clear and vivid descriptions in their stories or novels.

There are 25 questions on the quiz. The average number of questions students were able to answer correctly was 8.

Many of you reading my blog are writers, so I am confident you can beat that score, right?

Let’s see how you do. Write down your answers as you go. Check your answers at the end AFTER completing all the questions.

REMEMBER — NO CHEATING!!! BE HONEST!!! That means no looking at your I-phone, your computer, your I-pad or any reference books on your desk.

LET’S JUST SEE HOW OBSERVANT YOU ARE.

Here we go!

1. On a standard traffic light, is the green on the top or bottom?

2. How many states are there in the USA? (Don’t laugh, some people don’t know)

3. In which hand is the Statue of Liberty’s torch?

4. What six colors are on the classic Campbell’s soup label?

5. What two numbers on the telephone dial don’t have letters by them?

6. When you walk does your left arm swing with your right or left leg? (Don’t you dare get up to see!)

7. How many matches are in a standard pack?

8. On the United State s flag is the top stripe red or white?

9. What is the lowest number on a U.S. FM radio Dial?

10. Which way does water go down the drain, counter or clockwise?

11. Which way does a “no smoking” sign’s slash run?

12.  Coca-Cola.  Read the text in the small poster below. Do you notice something strange?

13 On which side of a women’s blouse are the buttons?

14. Which way do fans rotate?

15 How many sides does a stop sign have?

16. Do books have even-numbered pages on the right or left side?

17 How many lug nuts are on a standard car wheel?

18. How many sides are there on a standard pencil?

19. Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc. Who’s missing?

20. How many hot dog buns are in a standard package?

21 On which playing card is the card maker’s trademark?

22 On which side of a Venetian blind is the cord that adjusts the opening between the slats?

23. There are 12 buttons on a touch-tone phone. What two symbols bear no digits?

24. How many curves are there in the standard paper clip?

25. Does a merry-go-round turn counter or clockwise?

26. (BONUS QUESTION)  Carefully read the article below and detect any incongruity!

 

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ANSWERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS

1. On a standard traffic light, is the green on the top or bottom? BOTTOM

2. How many states are there in the USA? (Don’t laugh, some people don’t know) 50

3. In which hand is the Statue of Liberty’s torch? RIGHT

4. What six colors are on the classic Campbell ‘s soup label? BLUE, RED, WHITE, YELLOW, BLACK & GOLD.

5. What two numbers on the telephone dial don’t have letters by them? 1, 0

6. When you walk does your left arm swing with your right or left leg? RIGHT

7. How many matches are in a standard pack? 20

8. On the United State s flag is the top stripe red or white? RED

9. What is the lowest number on the FM dial? 88

10. Which way does water go down the drain, counter or clockwise?   CLOCKWISE (NORTH OF THE EQUATOR)

11. Which way does a “no smoking” sign’s slash run?
TOWARDS BOTTOM RIGHT

12. Are you a fan of Coca-Cola? Then it is time to check out this new brand of Coca-Coda

13 On which side of a women’s blouse are the buttons? LEFT

14. Which way do fans rotate? CLOCKWISE AS YOU LOOK AT IT

15 How many sides does a stop sign have? 8

16. Do books have even-numbered pages on the right or left side? LEFT

17 How many lug nuts are on a standard car wheel? 5

18. How many sides are there on a standard pencil? 6

19. Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc. Who’s missing? BASHFUL

20. How many hot dog buns are in a standard package? 8

21 On which playing card is the card maker’s trademark? ACE OF SPADES

22 On which side of a Venetian blind is the cord that adjusts the opening between the slats? LEFT

23. There are 12 buttons on a touch-tone phone. What two symbols bear no digits? * , #

24. How many curves are there in the standard d paper clip? 3

25. Does a merry-go-round turn counter or clockwise? COUNTER

26. If the Mulan disappeared and there were no survivors to tell what happened, how could the journalist who wrote this report what the captain and crew did the night before?

Now send it to some of your friends or colleagues and put your score in the subject box!!!

 

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