Oxford University posted sample academic questions to test students on how they answer a tricky question based on their analysis and observations. For example, a prospective engineering student will be ask to place a 30cm ruler on top of one finger from each hand. What happens when you bring your fingers together? With this question, the student will need to explain and discuss why both fingers reach the centre of the rule at the same time as observed.
According to Prof Steve Collins, engineering tutor at University College, "We like to see how candidates react to what is usually an unexpected result and then encourage them to repeat the experiment slowly. With prompting to consider moments and friction, the candidate will come to the conclusion there is a larger force on the finger that is closest to the centre of the ruler. This means that there is more friction between the ruler and this finger and therefore the ruler slides over the finger furthest from the centre first. This argument will apply until the fingers are the same distance from the centre."
Read the full article at bbc.com