Review: Do You Still Think You’re Clever? by John Fardon


Varied and interesting but difficult to read cover to cover.

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From the author who brought you the intriguing Do You Think You’re Clever? comes another set of puzzling Oxbridge entrance exam questions for the reader’s delectation. Farndon’s Do You Still Think You’re Clever? continues in a similar vein to the original with a question being posed followed by a detailed account of how Farndon himself would approach it. Indeed, the original title Do You Think You’re Clever? is itself a former Oxbridge entrance exam question and it is interesting that a selection of actual past questions have been released revealing that these questions do indeed live up to their reputation of being exceedingly difficult.

However, questions such as: “Would Ovid’s chat up line work?”, “Is Wittgenstein always right?” and “Would Mussolini have been interested in theology?” certainly appear puzzling at first yet, as with all questions, Farndon demonstrates that- with the requisite knowledge- these questions are far from impossible.

The fact that the question set itself is so broad  including questions from medicine, law, history, maths and even experimental psychology to name but a few means there is something for everyone. Perhaps one of the most intriguing questions is “Instead of politicians why don’t we let the managers of IKEA run the country?” with Farndon commenting that a rough public poll might actually be in favour of the idea!

Farndon obviously has far more time to contemplate his answers than an Oxbridge candidate would do making these questions all the more intimidating. Nevertheless one cannot help but be impressed by Farndon’s overall knowledge although he does sometimes assume that his audience is equally as knowledgeable as him. As stated in the foreword to Do You Still Think You’re Clever? Farndon does not intend his answers to be taken as gospel and, in order to truly enjoy the book, one must think about how one would approach the questions oneself.

However, it would be false to state that this book is thoroughly enjoyable throughout and there are certainly sections in which the elongated explanations can become tedious. The reader would have to be incredibly intellectually curious in order to read Do You Still Think You’re Clever? cover to cover in an afternoon yet it is a perfect book to dip into every once in a while.

With a varied question set that requires analytical thought if you fancy something to challenge you besides the usual essays and assignments then why not see if you could have made it to Oxbridge!

Do you still think you’re clever is available to purchase here.


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