Dec 31, 2013

End-of-year news quiz 2013

Traditional quiz for your first lesson in 2014

By via Flickr
[CC BY 2.0]
For some reason I had a hard time coming up with news items for this year's quiz. Not that the year was uneventful but somehow there were no sex scandals, jumps from space or viral videos which usually make good questions for the quiz. There were lots of deaths though, which is reflected in the questions, and while we're on the topic I'd like to mention that our field has also lost three notable figures in 2013: Leo Van Lier, Earl Stevick and Dave Willis (see my tribute HERE)

Anyhow, as in the past, the quiz comes in two versions: the upper level version is suitable for upper-intermediate/advanced level students (B2 +) and the easier, lower level version for lower intermediate students (B1 -). The detailed 7-page teachers notes (scroll all the way down) provide ideas on how to use the quiz with your students and how to explore the language from the quiz. In a few days, as usual, I will post activities for reviewing the lexis from the quiz. Check back in the New Year.

Update (5/1/14): Vocabulary review activities are ready - click HERE


  1. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms in recorded history, caused massive destruction and claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people. What country was hit the hardest?
  2. Of all newly born babies in 2013, George Alexander Louis was probably the most eagerly anticipated. Why did he receive a lot of media 
  3. Thousands of new English words are coined every year. The prestigious Oxford Dictionary picked “selfie” as the word of the year 2013. What does it mean?
  4. What British football club and its fans bid farewell to Sir Alex Ferguson who retired as its manager after 26 years?
  5. Like a scene out of a sci-fi movie, the skies over Chelyabinsk in Central Russia were set ablaze by a massive explosion on a chilly February morning. What was it?
  6. Thousands of people gathered in the small village of Qunu in December 2013 to pay their last respects to a famous politician and civil rights fighter who was laid to rest there. What’s his name?
  7. Andy Murray won the men’s final at Wimbledon becoming the first British tennis player to win the trophy in 77 years. Who did he play against in the final?
  8. After five successful seasons, a ground-breaking TV drama about a terminally ill school teacher who turns to manufacturing drugs to provide a nest egg for his family drew to a close in September 2013. What is it called?
  9. Former British PM Margaret Thatcher passed away in April 2013 after a long struggle with poor health. How many terms did she serve as Prime Minister after taking office in 1979?
  10. Who are the Tsarnaev brothers and why did they make headlines in 2013?
  11. Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope in almost 600 years to resign of his own will. What country does his successor Pope Francis come from?
  12. In order to save the country from economic collapse, the government of Cyprus came up with a controversial plan which caused a backlash among the local population and numerous expats living on the island. What was the decision?
  13. Film star Paul Walker met his death in a tragic car crash in November 2013. What’s the name of the film series in which he played an undercover cop turned street racer?
  14. Why were thousands of meat products withdrawn from sale across Europe in January 2013?
  15. How long did the American computer specialist and whistleblower Edward Snowden spend in a Moscow airport before being granted asylum in Russia?
  16. Former child star Myley Cyrus caused controversy with her outrageous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards 2013. What’s the name of the character she played in a children’s TV series in her more innocent years?
Happy New Year!


  1. Thank you. It saved many of my fellow teachers a lot of work. Students took away some great language chunks.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Michele. I am glad you and your colleagues found it useful

  2. Everyone needs to build their vocabulary at some time in their life, whether you are an ESL student who simply needs to gain vocabulary and use it for everyday life or if you are a native speaker who has got a new job or even is starting to study in a new area. Vocabulary development is useful for everyone. But to build vocabulary isn’t just about sitting and memorizing lots of lists, it is about finding creative ways to understand and use the words correctly. helps one to build their vocabulary with its interesting gamified strategies. Give a try..!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...