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Geographic Skills Quiz


Test your knowlege of world geography with this eight question quiz. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted it in response to a survey by National Geographic.
Americans are far from alone in the world, but from the perspective of many young Americans, we might as well be. Most young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 demonstrate a limited understanding of the world, and they place insufficient importance on the basic geographic skills that might enhance their knowledge.

I got all the questions right, but I’m not a young American. http://www.stltoday.com/mds/news/html/1553 -via Geek Like Me

I got 7 out of 8, because I didn't know which state was New York. I didn't realize it was a big state. I assumed it was a populous city with a small area, like DC surrounded by Maryland, but it turns out that New Jersey is smaller than New York state.
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I should have gotten 8/8 but I dumbly read the language question wrong. I didn't see the part about "primary language". Anyways 7/8 (since I hate people who lie about stuff like this).
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I got them all right, but scored a 4 because the pin was twice as big as the place on the map. I hit the place with the middle of the pin but both ends were in other places.
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I don't know if this will help anyone but the way I find Afghanistan on a world map, is I first find India, then I move left to the next country which is Pakistan. Move left one more and that is Afghanistan.

(Pakistan should be easy to remember if you know that Pakistan used to be part of India)
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7 out of 8 for me too.

I screwed up the NY state question.

I confused the cursor with the pin point.

I know where NY stateis...no honestly.

I can name all the states and their capitols.

And I'm a Scotsman, so have no pressing need to know these things.

I just do.
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I took the quiz from the NG link and one of the questions is where was the original CSI located?

C'mon, thats not really a geography question!
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17 years old, American, got every one right except the border one (but at least i didn't answer usa and mexico.)

88% of people can't find Afghanistan?! *bangs head on wall*
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I missed the language one. I rationalized that there were probably many different languages across the middle east. I'm always happy to learn something new!

Sadly, I know inner-city Philadelphia middle-school teachers who have had to convince their students that Philadelphia is not a state, and that Pennsylvania is not the capital city of the US. Jens poses a good question: how do we change it? Unfortunately, we might be in decent shape if geography was the only subject where students are behind.
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Justin - I found Afghanistan the exact same way. Must be the Physicist in me memorizing as little as possible and deriving the rest...

Honestly, there are a few countries I would get wrong in Eastern Europe and several in Asia (especially the countries along the border of Russia). Unfortunately, that probably still puts me in the "above average" American category. Hopefully I'm wrong though. :)
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These statistics don't surprise me. I remember sitting in my sophomore world history class in high school and being utterly dumbfounded by how little most of the students around me knew about the world they lived in. We were given the assignment to label major world landmarks and people were asking me where the Amazon river is and where Europe is.

As to fixing this, I think that the number one culprit in this sort of ignorance is the parents. Parents fail to get their children interested in the world outside of their home. They don't show their kids maps or talk about the world outside of America. Heck, how many people never leave their home state?
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8/8 - Vancouver Canadian. I personally know someone from every continent, country, and state in the quiz. Except for Afghanistan and Iraq, I've visited someone I know who lives in those nation states. Sometimes I'm truly convinced that Vancouver is a microcosm of the planet. Looking around here sometimes, its so easy to see where William Gibson gets some of his strange dystopic, globalized society ideas. When I go somewhere as a foreigner, its weird because I'm used to being around so many other foreigners.
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Ok, I got 5 out of 8, but I accidentally clicked the wrong answer once (twitchy finger on the mouse).

I figured the US had more people!

No excuses for Afghanistan. I just didn't know where it was. I knew where Syria and Iraq were, and I figured the big thing was Arabia and the little countries at the straits were Yemen and something else. So, what's the big country that I hit with the pin (west of Afghanistan)?

Aaagh! It's Iran? Now I feel dumb as dirt! I no longer deserve to live. (My daughter cheated and looked it up on a map.)

It was a toss-up on the languages. I knew there were a lot of Chinese (got that part of the population question right), but I also heard that Arabic is widespread, but not necessarily as a "native" language.

RE: Cartographer. I read in a news article that cartography was slated to be a lost and obsolete discipline, until Geographic Information Systems (GIS) suddently became important. Now, cartography is cool, and everyone wants to do it. For myself, I need to use GPS just to get around town, or to find my car in the parking lot at the mall.
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I think the folks who feel they didn't do too well shouldn't beat themselves crazy over it. If anything this should provide an incentive to go out and learn about everything you can! Knowledge, is a powerful thing even when you don't get to use it you challenge yourself and those around you. My suggestion is if you want to do one step better is to subscribe to a magazine like National Geographic! Or make the habit of sitting the family down and watch a show on Discovery or the History network.

As well, if you have kids put up a map on their wall and quiz them every night on 5 countries and where they are! Stimulate your brains! :)
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Justin -
Thanks for the tip...I got that one wrong too.

Sad, too. When I was a kid, I loved Carmen Sandiego, and I had all the country locations memorized. You know, in case I ever got on the show and made it to the last round :o)
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