Dec 26, 2016

News quiz 2016

Photos by Chatham House [CC BY 2.0], 
Marie Lan-Nguyen [CC BY 2.0], 
wowser [CC BY-BC 2.0] on Flickr
There has been an unusually high number of celebrity deaths this year - so many that I could have built the whole quiz around it! Anyhow, here's my end-of-year offering in its traditional format, focusing on some key news stories of 2016. Like last year, I've tried to keep it light-hearted as much as possible. Politics is still there, but it's fairly evenly balanced by sports, travel and technology news.

The quiz comes in two levels:
- Intermediate (B1+/2-)
- Advanced (B2+ and up)

and is accompanied by a 10-page teachers' guide (scroll down) full of ideas on how to use the quiz in class and to exploit the lexis.

Don't forget to check back in the first week of the new year when I'll publish a follow up with vocabulary review exercises and activities.

UPDATE: Click HERE for vocabulary review activities

Happy New Year!


1. Starting with the sad news of David Bowie's passing in January, 2016 was a particularly gloomy year for celebrity deaths. Which of the numerous celebrities who died in 2016 is famous for the 1980s hit Purple Rain?

2. The outbreak of which deadly virus posed a threat to the eagerly anticipated 2016 Olympics in Rio?

3. In April 2016, an unprecedented leak of thousands of documents that came to be known as the Panama Papers caused an uproar and prompted criminal investigations in several countries. What did the documents reveal?

4. In summer 2016, scores of people were killed or injured in Nice, France, when a terrorist rammed a huge truck through festive crowds on the famous seafront promenade. What were they crowds celebrating?

5. What mobile game, in which players capture virtual monsters often causing nuisance in the streets, was all the rage in 2016?

6. In the wake of what July 2016 event did Turkish President Erdogan declare a state of emergency, detain members of the armed forces and crack down on the media?

7. In an unprecedented vote on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. How many countries are there in the EU now?

 8. Dozens of Russian athletes faced the threat of being banned from the 2016 Olympic Games. What was the reason for the ban?

9. Throughout the election campaign leading up to Donald Trump’s historic victory, he maintained a hard-line stance on immigration. Ironically his wife Melania initially came to the US as an immigrant. What country did she come from?

10. What smartphone was banned from flights in autumn 2016 due to fire hazard, following a series of incidents in which the device burst into flames?

11. Who is Bana al-Abed and why did she capture the world’s attention with her tweets in 2016?

12. Which popular tourist attraction in China had to close in September 2016 after being overwhelmed by a large influx of visitors in the first two weeks of its operation?

13. Chocolate lovers went into meltdown in November 2016 after the makers of Toblerone announced a drastic measure against rising costs. What did they decide to do?

14. The most decorated Olympian of all time ended his illustrious career on a high after winning his 23rd gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio. What’s his name?

15. The final of the Euro 2016 football tournament, in which Portugal defeated host nation France 1-0, will also be remembered for the tears of the Portuguese team’s captain. What’s his name?

16. Who became the first musician to win the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Advanced level with answers


Intermediate level with answers

Teachers' notes


  1. Thank you Leo. You are always creative and I will try to use them once I start teaching again.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Ahmed. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Thank you so much. Your proposal is really nice and pro. I'll try this with my Adv student un our first week.

    1. Thank you, Mel. Hope it goes well. Let me know.

  3. Thank you ever so much. I have been looking forward and been using thoses quizzes for some years now. They are not only good fun, but can be exploited in many different ways.

    1. Glad to hear, Christine.
      All the best wishes for 2017.

  4. Many, many thanks for your work and for sharing! :)

  5. Great quiz, thank you for sharing. I like the added activities with the vocabulary. I will try it this week with my students in the Mechina. Happy New Year.

    1. Thank you, Tami!
      I'm working on the follow-up with more vocabulary activities. Check back in a couple of days :)

  6. Thank you, Leo. It's a brilliant quiz and I love the activities. Just the job for starting work with next week.

    1. Thank you for the comment. Hope it goes well.

  7. Thanks! An excellent activity!

  8. Thanks a lot leo !

    i am goin back to school tomorrow after Christmas break , I will use it with the tenth grades !
    It is a good back to school activity following the New Year celebrations ...

    1. Hi Loubna,
      Yes, that's exactly what it's meant for. Hope your pupils enjoy it, and do check the follow up activities:

  9. I've been using your quizzes for 3 years now every new school year and it's been great. Thanks for your work!

  10. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine.

  11. nice this blog.
    You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. I’m looking to reading your next post.


  12. Thanks for providing such a great Information, you can see


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