pop quiz

Are you smarter than a sixth-grader? I should hope so. Here’s a vocabulary test, just to be sure. (Full disclaimer: The students at Olympic Middle School fared rather poorly on this, as well as on other vocab tests and exercises I administered. Mostly, they just didn’t care.)

If Milo was persistent in his attempts to catch a fish, he was:

  1. Giving up after only a couple casts
  2. Persuading his neighbor Bob to catch a fish for him
  3. Casting from the boat again and again, for two hours straight
  4. Walking along the shore with a spear in his hand

During a time-out in an important basketball game, the coach told his team an inspirational story about a recent come-from-behind victory in a situation much like their own. By telling this story, he wanted his team to:

  1. Stop caring about the game, because they were behind already and would surely lose
  2. Get pumped up about the game, because they could stage a comeback and possibly win
  3. Start daydreaming about other things
  4. Run laps around the gym as punishment

If a police officer were acting unprofessional, she might:

  1. Pull over a driver for speeding in a residential zone
  2. Write a parking ticket for a truck parked illegally on the street
  3. Arrest a man who shoplifted clothes from a department store
  4. Do any of the above acts while not wearing her uniform and badge

The poodle’s teeth had a tenacious hold on the rubber chew toy. The dog:

  1. Did not want to give up the toy, no matter what
  2. Held the toy loosely in its mouth
  3. Was afraid of the toy and its implications
  4. Had no interest in the toy

If Sally found the smell of lavender intolerable, she would most likely:

  1. Open a soap shop specializing in lavender blends
  2. Hang a lavender-scented air freshener from her rear-view mirror
  3. Plug her nose while walking past a lavender shrub
  4. Wear lavender perfume only on special occasions

Yelp lists the Honey Badger as a “fine eating establishment.” This probably means that:

  1. The Honey Badger is the name of a commercial airliner
  2. The Honey Badger is a place of business, in this case one that offers tasty food
  3. The Honey Badger is the name of a nail salon
  4. The Honey Badger is an offshore oil platform

If a magician wished to captivate his audience, he would:

  1. Perform boring tricks that everyone had seen before
  2. Tell the audience to close their eyes and softly sing their favorite lullaby
  3. Ramble on in a monotone about the difficulties of being a B-list celebrity
  4. Perform tricks that were so amazing, people could not help but watch his every move

The angry bull was dangerous and unpredictable. Because of this, the cowboys were told to:

  1. Stay far, far away, because the bull’s behavior was difficult to follow
  2. Fill the trough with feed, because the bull would calm down and gorge himself
  3. Jump on the bull’s back, because this would have a calming effect on him
  4. Wave red flags, because red was his favorite color

If Carlos made tentative plans to see his cousin on Saturday, this meant that:

  1. Carlos had nothing to do on Saturday, so it was certain he would show
  2. Carlos wasn’t sure if he would find the time, so he didn’t make any promises to his cousin
  3. Carlos had no intention whatsoever in seeing his cousin on Saturday
  4. Carlos did not own a car, so he would take the bus to see his cousin

Calling an orange sweet potato a “yam” is a common misconception. This means that:

  1. Sweet potatoes and yams are the exact same thing
  2. Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to yams, though many people mistakenly think they are the same vegetable
  3. Sweet potatoes are sweet, while yams are “yammy”
  4. Sweet potatoes are nutritious, while yams are just starchy

If Claire told Michaela an astonishing story, the story was likely about:

  1. Something Claire did while she was watching paint dry
  2. Something Claire and Michaela had already talked about weeks ago
  3. Something that had happened to Claire three days previous, but Claire had forgotten to tell the story earlier because it was super boring
  4. Something Claire did that made the evening news and landed her an interview on CNN

If the eerie sounds and shifting shadows perturbed Trevor on his nighttime walk through the woods, they:

  1. Comforted him, so that he slowed his pace and strolled along contentedly
  2. Saddened him
  3. Angered him
  4. Scared him, and made him walk a little faster to get home

In a city where everyone wears shoes or boots when walking outdoors, which would be an example of someone sporting unconventional footwear?

  1. Someone wearing socks inside their shoes
  2. Someone wearing boots when it was raining
  3. Someone wearing a pair of rubber chicken feet
  4. Someone wearing brown shoes with yellow laces

If Roy’s employer wished to compensate him for the hours he had worked, this meant:

  1. Roy would receive a paycheck at the end of the week
  2. Roy would have to take a written test
  3. Roy would need to find a job
  4. Roy would be given the smallest cubicle in the office

When Martin listened to music, he often did so at a volume inconsiderate of others. Would Martin’s neighbors:

  1. Enjoy living near him, because his music was played low and did not bother them
  2. Dislike living near him, because his music was far too loud
  3. Offer to buy him a new stereo system
  4. Offer to broaden his musical tastes with a Borders gift card

The criminal’s face was expressionless as he faced the court, waiting for his sentence. This meant that:

  1. He was smiling ear to ear
  2. He was crying
  3. His face was blank, without emotion
  4. His face was clean-shaven and sufficiently moisturized

Sue played chess with deliberation, carefully choosing her strategy and moving each piece accordingly. Because of this, Sue was:

  1. A terrible chess player who acted impulsively
  2. A very fast chess player
  3. An amateur chess player who wasn’t sure how each piece was moved
  4. A skilled chess player who understood the complexity of the game

If Aaron wished to exaggerate the seriousness of his scraped knee, he would say that:

  1. His knee did not hurt at all, and the scrape was very shallow
  2. His knee hurt a lot, and that he feared the doctors would have to amputate
  3. He bumped his knee while climbing out of bed
  4. His bandage was both waterproof and covered with polka dots

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