Careers and Employability Service

Second lateral thinking test


Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Apple Inc.


The following questions will test your ability to think laterally. If you get more than 50% of these right you're certainly strong on your lateral thinking skills (or maybe you're just good at puzzles!)

  1. Name an ancient invention still in use in most parts of the world today that allows people to see through walls.

  2. A black man dressed all in black, wearing a black mask, stands at a crossroads in a totally black-painted town. All of the streetlights in town are broken. There is no moon. A black-painted car without headlights drives straight toward him, but turns in time and doesn't hit him. How did the driver know to swerve? 

  3. An Australian woman was born in 1948 but only celebrated her 16th birthday quite recently. Why?

  4. A five letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it. What is the word? 
    “Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully.
    "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever."
    "And he has Brain."
    "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."
    There was a long silence.
    "I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything.”

  5. How many grooves are there on an old LP record? 

  6. How many animals of each species did Moses take into the Ark?

  7. In what sport are the shoes made of metal? 

  8. If a plane crashes on the Italian/Swiss border, where do you bury the survivors?

  9. A man was pushed out of a small aeroplane, without a parachute but survived with no injuries apart from a few bruises. How was this possible?

  10. If a red house is made of red bricks, and a blue house is made of blue bricks, what is a green house made of?
  11. How can you throw a ball as hard as you can, and make it stop and return to you, without hitting anything and with nothing attached to it? 

  12. In which direction is the bus to the right travelling?

  13. What can you hold in your right hand, but not in your left?

  14. A cowboy rode into town on Friday, spent one night there, and left on Friday. How do you account for this?

  15. What word is always spelled wrongly? 

  16. What common chemical compound can be represented: H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O?

  17. Jane gave Jill the following challenge: "If you sit down in that chair, I bet you five pounds I can make you get out of it before I run around the chair three times," he said.
    "That's not fair," Jill said. "You'll just prick me with a pin or do something similar"
    "Nope," Jane said. "I won't touch you, either directly or with any object. If you get out of the chair, it'll be by your own choice."
    Jill thought, accepted the challenge, and lo and behold, Jane won the bet. How did she do it? 

  18. Four people try to get underneath one small umbrella, but nobody gets wet. How is this possible? 

  19. What is the next letter in this sequence J F M A M J ?

  20. A farmer owns a beautiful pear tree. He supplies the fruit to a nearby grocery shop. The shop owner has called the farmer to see how much fruit is available for him to purchase. The farmer knows that the main trunk has 24 branches. Each branch has exactly 12 boughs and each bough has exactly 6 twigs. Since each twig bears one piece of fruit, how many plums will the farmer be able to deliver? 

  21. A 6-foot tall man was holding a glass beaker above his head. He let it drop to the carpet without spilling a single drop of water.

    How could he manage to drop the glass from a height of six feet and not spill a drop of water?

  22. A fire officer has 12 matchsticks lying in front of her. She removes just one of them. She now sees 9 in front of her. How is this possible ?

  23. In many London Underground tube stations there are two up escalators but only one going down. Why?

  24. At a school 27 pupils wore red coats, 29 wore black coats and 40 wore blue coats. How many pupils were wearing green coats?

  25. If the day after the day before yesterday was Tuesday, and the
    day before the day after tomorrow is Thursday, what day is today?

  26. A man comes up to the border of a country on his motorbike. He has three large sacks on his bike. The customs officer at the border crossing stop him and asks, “What is in the sacks?”

    “Sand,” answered the man.

    The guard says, “We’ll see about that. Get off the bike.”

    The guard takes the sacks and rips them apart; he empties them out and finds nothing in them but sand. He detains the man overnight and has the sand analysed, only to find that there is nothing but pure sand in the bags. The guard releases the man, puts the sand into new bags, lifts them onto the man’s shoulders and lets him cross the border.

    A week later, the same thing happens. The customs officer asks, “What have you got?”

    “Sand,” says the man.

    The officer does another thorough examination and again discovers that the sacks contain nothing but sand. He gives the sand back to the man, and the man again crosses the border.

    This sequence of events repeats every day for the next three years. Then one day, the man doesn’t show up. The border official meets up with him in a restaurant in the city. The officer says, “I know you’re smuggling something and it’s driving me crazy. It’s all I think about. I can’t even sleep. Just between you and me, what are you smuggling?”

    What is the man smuggling? 
    If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.

    Woody Allen

    The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

    Thomas Alva Edison

    Never be afraid to try, remember... 
    Amateurs built the Ark. 
    Professionals built the Titanic!




Check your answers below. If you got 15 or more right you are a true lateral thinking genius!

For more examples of lateral thinking in jobhunting see ourCreative Careers Search page

Also see our First lateral thinking test and our Riddles test

Also see the logic puzzle at

For more puzzles see here



  1. The window.
  2. It was day time
  3. She was born on February the 29th.
  4. Short
  5. Two: one on each side.
  6. None. NOAH built the Ark.
  7. Horse racing; or other horse sports.
  8. You don't bury survivors!
  9. The aeroplane was on the ground.
  10. Glass
  11. Go outside and throw it upwards.
  12. Assuming that the bus is in the UK, the passenger doors much be on the opposite side of the bus, so the bus is travellling to the right. If you are in the United States or another country which drives on the right hand side of the road, the bus would be travelling to the left. 90% of UK children who took a test on this got it right, even if, sometimes, they did not know why!
  13. Your left hand, forearm or elbow.
  14. His horse was named Friday.
  15. Wrongly
  16. H20 or Water (H to O)
  17. Jill sat down in the chair. Jane ran around it twice, then said, "I'll be back in a week to run the third time around!
  18. It’s not raining!
  19. J (for July). They are the first letters of the months of the year.nine matches
  20. None - it's a pear tree.
  21. The glass was empty.
  22. The remaining eleven matchsticks form the word NINE
  23. People leave trains in a group, so all arrive at the escalators at the same time, but tend to go down to the trains in a more even flow, hence you need less down escalators.
  24. 49 pupils. Letter A = 1, B= 2, C = 3 and so forth, so GREEN = 7 + 18 + 5 + 5 + 14 = 49
  25. Wednesday (this one makes your brain hurt!)
  26. Motorbikes!




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Last Updated: 09/08/2017