UN Secretary-General Aptitude Test

The questions below have been carefully selected for their relevance to the skills necessary to succeed as United Nations Secretary-General. If you can answer these correctly, you may be qualified to serve in the UN’s top post.

Good luck!


1. Order these phrases from weakest to strongest:

a) deeply concerned

b) gravely distressed

c) deeply disturbed

d) seriously concerned

e) gravely alarmed

2. There has just been an attack violating the cessation of hostilities in Country X. You:

a) Urge the parties to put peace above politics.

b) Call for all sides to act with restraint.

c) Appeal to the parties to engage constructively in political dialogue.

d) Call for the international community to follow through on its commitment for humanitarian aid.

e) All of the above.

3. A Médecins Sans Frontières hospital has been bombed in Syria. How many calls for accountability do you as Secretary-General have to make to ensure that someone is punished? 

a) Zero. Targeting a hospital is a violation of international law and the Security Council will act swiftly to make sure the appropriate party is held to account.

b) Zero. Targeting a hospital is a violation of international law but the perpetrator is (or is supported by) a permanent member of the Security Council and thus subject to the Law of Illegitimate Impunity.

c) Zero. If multiple parties target hospitals on separate occasions, the expectation of accountability is canceled out by the Transitive Property of War Crimes Committed during Unacknowledged Proxy Wars.

d) As many as possible until the next attack, and then you move on to that one.

e) Seventy-two.

4. You’re giving a statement in a Security Council open debate. How many key points would you like to address?

a) Three.

b) Six.

c) One, which is your seven-point plan for peace.

d) None. You’d like to use this opportunity to tell a relevant and heartbreaking but semi-inspiring story that captures the essence of the topic at hand.

e) None. You make the DSG attend instead.

5. If in one context, the United States is bombing a regime & Russia is bombing some rebels, but elsewhere the US is arming a regime & Russia is arming some rebels, and in the Security Council everyone agrees that we all should be bombing The Terrorists, which of the following statements is true?

a) All rebels are terrorists, EXCEPT for when they’re just protesters with tanks.

b) “Cessation of hostilities” means everyone can continue their bombing campaigns as long as they continue to pretend they’re not parties to the conflict.

c) Everyone is respecting the sacred principle of sovereignty.

d) Russia is going to veto that resolution.

e) Supplying high-grade military equipment to various rebel groups can never go wrong.

6. Reviews are a popular activity at the UN. Choose the option that reflects the correct order of events in carrying out a review.

review options_SG test

7. In 10,000 words or less, explain the difference between committees and commissions.

text box

8. You’re preparing the midterm report on the implementation of Agenda 2030. Choose the least offensive cover photo from the following options:


A. African woman carrying a basket on her head.

multiple baskets

B. Multiple African women carrying baskets on their heads.

basket plus bucket

C. African woman with a basket on her head carrying a bucket.


D. African woman carrying a child.

childplus basket

E. African woman carrying a child, also with a basket on her head.

9. Identify the relationship that exists between the pair of words below and determine which of the additional word pairs maintains the same logical relationship.

Secretary : General

a) Systemwide : coherence

b) Coordination : cooperation

c) Sovereignty : territorial integrity

d) Ad-hoc : working group

e) Diplomat : bureaucrat

10. You have to attend a reception for a visiting Head of State, but you only have 10 minutes until your next meeting! Using the diagram below, map your route through the reception venue to get to your meeting in time, making sure to fulfill all necessary diplomatic obligations.

floorplan_SG test



Congratulations! You may or may not be smart enough to be Secretary-General of the United Nations! However, fortunately or unfortunately for you, your ability to do the job matters slightly less than your ability to be friends with all the P-5 at the same time.

Good luck!



  1. Shaun · March 23, 2016

    Sad but a true reflection


  2. Jackie · March 30, 2016

    You’re a genius (with lots of time on your hands)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s