Developing Thinking Skills: Nov 2018

Mr C Dodd – Staff Editor

Be Philosophical

Can you think about nothing?


Oxbridge Interview Questions

Ladybirds are red. So are strawberries. Why?

Biological Sciences

Should it be illegal to run a red light in the middle of the night on an empty road?


What exactly do you think is involved in blaming someone?



Solve It!

Easy As 1-2-3

What is the next number in the sequence?










Puzzle Time

12 Weighty Balls

You have 12 balls of identical size and appearance, but one of them is a slightly different weight—it could be heavier or lighter. You have a set of balance scales, as shown below, which will give three possible readings:

Left = Right

Left > Right

Left < Right

You have only 3 chances to weigh the balls in any number and combination of your choosing, using the balance scales.

You need to find which ball is the odd one out and confirm whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest.

How do you do it?

Solution: Weigh two groups of four, then two groups of three, then two singles… but which ones?! For one possible explanation, watch this short video on YouTube: 12 Balls Puzzle

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.

You would need to answer these two questions in around four minutes to complete all 50 test questions in the time allowed…

Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford, Section 1, 2016


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