Dec 29, 2017

News Quiz 2017

Image source: Billboard
Not too many celebrity deaths this year, but there is a variety of science, sport, celebrity gossip and, inevitably, some politics thrown in. I've tried to vary the format slightly by including, where possible, two stories on the same topic for example, two discoveries, two pregnancies, two air travel related stories etc. to see if this can facilitate recycling of some key lexis from the quiz - more on that under Eliciting / Recycling in the Teachers' notes.

The quiz comes in two levels:
- Intermediate (B1/2-)
- Advanced (B2+/C1 or higher)

The Intermediate level quiz has a multiple choice version too (with fewer questions). Both versions can be downloaded in Word format if you want to adapt them.

The quiz 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 language from the quiz.

As usual, follow-up activities for vocabulary review and practice will be posted in a few days. Check back in the New Year.

UPDATE: Click HERE for vocabulary review activities

Happy New Year!


1. The cast of La La Land were all smiles when they went on stage to accept the Best Picture award at the 2017 Oscars. But their joy came to an end when the film producer took the mike and broke the news that…

2. Amid growing resentment towards immigrants, centrist Emmanuel Macron won a decisive victory in the French presidential election. His unusual marriage soon aroused the interest of the press. What’s ‘unusual’ about it?

3. In a scene captured on camera, a passenger was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight in April 2017 although he didn’t pose any security threat. On which airline did the incident occur?

4. In the deadliest attack on British soil in more than a decade, 22 people were killed after a bomb went off at Ariana Grande’s concert. In what city did the terrorist attack occur?

5. A brand new organ was discovered hiding in plain sight inside the human body. Originally identified by Leonardo Da Vinci, it was not considered an organ in its own right until 2017. What is it called?

6. The British government promised that Britain’s divorce from the EU wouldn’t be acrimonious as the country began the lengthy process of withdrawal from the bloc. How many countries will remain in the EU after Britain’s departure?

7. What pop star set the social media buzzing with excitement in 2017 and broke the record for the most liked post on Instagram (11 million likes) when she announced she was expecting twins?

8. A controversial order issued by the US government in March 2017 caused much inconvenience to airline passengers. The UK soon followed suit and placed similar travel restrictions. What did both countries ban from flights?

9. In November 2017, Prince Harry popped the question to his girlfriend of 16 months, but not before receiving the Queen’s blessing, as required by protocol. What is the lucky girl’s name?

10. When FC Barcelona added a release clause to their contract with Brazilian forward Neymar four years ago, they didn’t expect any rival club to be able to afford the €222m release fee. What football club signed Neymar paying the astronomical sum in 2017?

11. What event held in Barcelona in October 2017 turned violent after the Spanish government sent in the police?

12. Japan’s Princess Mako announced in September 2017 that she would renounce her title in order to tie the knot with a commoner. What does her fiancĂ© do for a living?

13. NASA awarded $15,000 to Dr Thatcher Cardon, who came up with a creative solution to a very real astronaut-related problem. What problem?

14. What tennis star found out that she was eight weeks pregnant two days before the 2017 Australian Open and went on to win the coveted trophy?

15. Scientists made a startling discovery of the eighth continent submerged beneath the Pacific. What existing country does the lost continent lie under?

16. What Hollywood producer was fired from his namesake company in October 2017 following multiple allegations of sexual assault?

Advanced level with answers

or download as Word doc  

Intermediate level with answers (+ Multiple choice version)

Teachers' notes


  1. Thanks Leo !
    Much apreciated !
    I just cannot download the advanced quiz as a Word document.

  2. Thank you, Leo, for this wonderful quiz tradition!
    Happy New civilian year!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Anat. Judging by your comment ("tradition"), you've used it in the past. Glad to hear.

  3. Thank you for this great quiz to use in class to look backk on the year that ended. Happy new year.

    1. Thank you, Tami. Happy New Year!

    2. Leo, my students really liked the quiz, thank you so much! I used it as a trivia in class, a competition between groups. I also used your idea of matching the questions with the answers (when they checked their answers), that was an awesome idea. One comment: the answer to the question of the number of EU members after the UK's departure should be 27 and not 28 (in the first answer key - intermediate level).

  4. Thank you, Tami for the feedback and the correction. I already spotted and corrected this error in the Advanced version. I'll do it in the Intermediate one too. Thanks

  5. This was great Leo. A really refreshing addition to our class yesterday.

  6. This worked really well with my C1 class (advanced version). Thanks a lot for the great teaching tips to exploit it in different ways!

    1. I'm happy to hear. Do check out the follow-up activities (my most recent post).

  7. Dear Leo,
    thank you so much for the quiz and the amazing teacher's notes! I used the quiz yesterday with my advanced students, they really liked it! It was a perfect idea for starting the new year and a healthy break from the course book! I also asked them to rank the events, this gave them the opportunity to discuss their views and what they knew about each event mentioned in the quiz. It also encouraged them to find out more about things they were not aware of (ie. the scientific discoveries). We're going to work on the vocabulary (following your tips) next week. I shared this link with my colleagues as weel, I'm looking forward to getting their feedback too (we all teach corporate students). All the best and thanks again! :)

    1. I'm glad it worked well. I also found (and we discussed the fact) that science news were less known among my students, as opposed to, say, politics or celebrity gossip. Interesting...

      Do check out the follow up activities - plenty of stuff for another 2-3 lessons.

      Thank you for the comment and sharing this with your colleagues. All the best. L

  8. I always kick off the New Year with your Quiz, the students and I both really enjoy looking back over the previous year's events.
    On the Intermediate multichoice version I found that questions 14,15 and 16 were missing.

    1. Thank you. Happy to hear!
      That's right. I was kind of aiming for smaller and weaker groups with that version - I thought that not everybody would know the answers and this might be potentially frustrating and distract from the main goal (focusing on the language). Also, I thought for some younger learners, the last question ("sexual harassment) but not be entirely appropriate.

      However, I do have a full multi-choice version and will be happy to send it to you. Could you fire off a quick message to me via the Contact Form here so that I have your email address?


    2. Thanks Leo! I think that's a great idea to make the quiz appropriate to age and level. I noticed that my students ( professionals from a range of industries) were clueless about the EU and made some pretty inaccurate guesses on membership. However, on the gossip and scandal questions they were spot on!
      Many thanks for your hard work. I've just dropped you a line on the Contact Form. All the best, Joanna

  9. I know what you mean. My students were also spot on when it comes to celebrity gossip and scandal, but knew almost nothing about science. So that you don't think that I knew much about the items featured in the quiz - I usually do my research in December and discover these things myself. In short, my students and I came to a conclusion that science news tend to get under-reported as opposed to politics and scandal.


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