Up until 1999, pupils at King William's College would sit the paper unseen on the last day of term before the Christmas holidays. The questions are very hard and often cryptic, and pupils got hardly any questions right first time: five percent was considered a good score! During the Christmas holidays, pupils tried to find the answers to the harder questions by consulting reference books or asking clever relatives. When they returned to school in the New Year, they took the test again, under exam conditions and without the aid of notes.
Questions are grouped into 18 "themes," each consisting of 10 questions. Here, for example, is the 15th theme:
Who or What...
1 is perifoveal?
2 is bridged by a memorial to Pepi?
3 was a notoriously cruel Wallachian prince?
4 overlooks the burial ground of Anne, Catherine and Jane?
5 was thought, through its bite, to cause an extreme impulse to dance?
6 was a probable tuberculous infection, so named after a breeding sow?
7 is an abnormal passage connecting two epithelial surfaces?
8 broken bone is associated with an unspoken wish?
9 was Linné's name for the sea parrot?
10 is the Hill of the Fords?
The entire quiz has been published at The Guardian. Previous quizzes (with answers) are available via the King William's College website. Answers to this year's quiz will be available after the holidays.
Have a go.
Update: The answers to these 10 questions are in the comments. Remember there are 170 more (and harder) questions at the link.