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Do You Think You're Clever?: The Oxford and…

Do You Think You're Clever?: The Oxford and Cambridge Questions

by John Farndon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1075172,660 (2.97)3
"'What happens if I drop an ant'? 'What books are bad for you'? 'What percentage of the world's water is contained in a cow'? The Oxbridge undergraduate interviews are infamous for their unique ways of assessing candidates, and from these peculiar enquiries, professors can tell just how smart you really are. John Farndon has collected together 75 of the most intriguing questions taken from actual admission interviews and gives full answers to each, taking the reader through the fascinating histories, philosophies, sciences and arts that underlie each problem. This is a book for everyone who likes to think they're clever, or who thinks they'd like to be clever. And cleverness is not just knowing stuff, it's how laterally, deeply and interestingly you can bend your brain. Guesstimating the population of Croydon, for example, opens a chain of thought from which you can predict the strength of a nuclear bomb ...and that's just the start of it." --Publisher's description.… (more)



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English (4)  Danish (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 4 of 4
When entering either Cambridge or Oxford, a prospective student must have an oral interview where the examiners ask off-the-wall questions like "What percentage of the world's water is in cows?" or "How do you know I'm thinking thoughts?". This book is a listing of some questions with possible answers or ways of thinking about the question. I found it interesting, but only to a point. In a 2 to 3 page answer, I think he just barely scratched the surface most of the time. But still, entertaining and interesting. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
If this is what clever is then I guess I don't want to be clever. The questions proposed are interesting and could lead to an assortment of answers but in the majority of them the author ended up in a philosophical rant. Sometimes the answers were interesting and educational but mostly they were boring and predictable.

The point of the Oxbridge questions, as mentioned at the start of the book, are to provoke responses from people by putting them out of their normal frame of mind and gaining an insight into how they think. I would have much rather read good, and maybe some not so good, real responses given by people actually applying. Not answers from someone who's been able to sit and think and research each question before writing an answer.

An ok book that could have been much better. Thankfully I got it for cheap. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
Meh. The book purports to give answers to some of the trickier entrance exam questions at the UK's top universities. Initially I enjoyed seeing how the author tackles these questions, mapping potential directions, structuring his answers, larding them with a few historic quotes and dictionary definitions, and building up to the final flourish.
After a while, though, the mechanism becomes repetitive, and the reader will start spotting flaws in the author's logic or glaring gaps when certain obvious aspects are not being addressed in his replies. The questions aren't all as titillating as the one that made it to the book cover (for which the answer, unsurprisingly, is: "It depends what you define by clever". Yawn). The exhilarating ride that was promised quickly turns into the view of a flat landscape whizzing by, its dull features merging into one blurred impression. ( )
1 vote fist | Aug 12, 2012 |
This book has some interesting answers to questions that cover a reasonably wide range of topics.

However, if you're looking for a book to help you with your Oxbridge entry: this isn't it. The answers are rarely ones that someone without access to the Internet or previous knowledge of the topic could produce. ( )
  fluteflute | Aug 24, 2011 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Farndonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Purves, LibbyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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