Developing Thinking Skills: Oct 2018

Mr C Dodd – Staff Editor

Puzzle Time

100 Gold Coins

There is a group of five intelligent but greedy pirates, numbered 1-5, and a bag of 100 gold coins. Starting with the first pirate and proceeding in numerical order, the pirates are each given the chance to allocate the gold coins within the group. After each allocation a vote is held; pirates happy with their allocation vote YES and those unhappy vote NO (the allocating pirate is also allowed a vote). If the majority are happy with the allocation, the pirates all keep the coins allocated to them and the process ends. However, if the majority are unhappy with the allocation then the gold coins are returned to the bag, the allocating pirate is thrown overboard and the next pirate has the opportunity to allocate the gold coins to the remaining pirates. This could proceed until there is only one pirate left. If voting is tied, the allocating pirate’s vote counts double.

How should the first pirate allocate the 100 gold coins?

Solution: for a detailed explanation, watch this short video on YouTube: Can you solve the pirate riddle?

If you enjoy solving puzzles, Alex Bellos sets a challenging puzzle like this in The Guardian every two weeks.


Thinking Skills Assessment

A number of leading courses and institutions require students to complete pre-admission tests as part of the application process. These tests focus on the skills and aptitudes required for higher-level study. The following sample questions come from Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford, Section 1, 2016.


Oxbridge Interview Questions

What percentage of the world’s water is contained in a cow?

Veterinary Science

Should poetry be difficult to understand?

Modern Languages

If each face of a cube is coloured with one of six different colours, how many different combinations are possible?


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