The questions that tell you if you are really smarter than a Fifth Grader.

We like to think we’re an intelligent bunch around the Mamamia offices. Most of us did well in school, went to university and now write for a living.

But when the Herald Sun released questions from last month’s year 3 and 5 Naplan tests, we realised we might need to go back to school.

Many of the questions aimed at 8-11 year-olds had us absolutely stumped. Who the heck came up with these brainteasers?

So I took the questions to two of the smartest (and funniest) people I know, Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo, to see if they could do any better.

Holly and Andrew attempt year 3 and 5 Naplan questions on This Glorious Mess:

And guess what? They absolutely nailed the English questions. Big surprise. What else would you expect from professional writers?

But before we get to their, um, less than favourable maths results, see how you go with these easy peasy Year 3 and 5 Naplan English questions. (Answers at bottom of post, no peeking!)

I hope you know your adjectives from your adverbs…

1. There is one spelling mistake in this sentence. What is it? It was not a delibrate mistake but it caused a serious problem.
2. Which type of word is ‘arrival’ in this sentence: The sudden arrival of the thunderstorm surprised us.
  • verb
  • adverb
  • adjective
  • noun

3. Which sentence uses the word ‘they’re’ correctly?

  • Dad told us they’re plenty of bananas to eat.
  • The hens have been shut up in they’re shed for the night.
  • When we reached the station, we found out that they’re no more trains today.
  • When my sisters get home from school, they’re ready for a cold drink and snack.
4. Which word is the subject of this sentence? After a busy afternoon, Lee was happy to get home, have a cool drink and listen to some music.

Survived? Feeling smug? Well it’s about to get tougher in here.

I posed the maths questions to Holly and Andrew, and as they tried to figure out the answers to these simple maths questions, you could practically see the abacus sliding in their heads.


But when they heard the correct answer?

Their faces looked more like this:


Do you think you could do better? Try your hand at these maths questions… (answers at bottom of post, and no using that calculator on your phone!)

5. Suzie has 75 football cards. She puts them in piles of 5. How many piles of football cards does Suzie have?

6. Micah has $5.55 in his pocket. His dad gives him $4.65. How much does Micah have now?

  • $9.10
  • $9.20
  • $10.10
  • $10.20
7. Jim’s toy cars are orange or blue or red. He has 6 more orange cars than blue cars, 4 fewer blue cars than red cars and 11 red cars. How many toy cars does Jim have in total?
8. Joe takes 35 minutes to walk from home to hockey training. Last week he arrived at training at 5.10pm, which was 15 minutes late. At what time should Joe leave home to arrive at hockey training on time?

Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here:

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1) deliberate 2) noun 3) When my sisters get home from school, they’re ready for a cold drink and snack. 4) Lee 5) 15 6) $10.20 7) 31 8) 4.20pm