When it comes down to math, you may think you’re pretty solid—but then one of these questions pops up on the internet, and it’s not quite as easy as it seems.
Such is the case for this little puzzle that was posted on Facebook. The tricky question has already garnered over 91 thousand shares and 17 thousand comments, and people can’t seem to be able to agree on the solution to this simple problem.
“Concentrate well because it is tricky,” the post warns. You can see the problem for yourself above, and who knows, maybe you’ll be able to come up with the right answer.
Looking at the symbols, we can determine this:
So what’s the final answer? Still stumped?
Here it is:
Wait – it’s not 22? Why? How?
To be able to correctly solve this Algebra question, you must know the Order of Operations. In grade school, you may remember having learned the phrase, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”
This stands for the correct precedence (which one you do first) of each operation. As a friendly reminder, PEMDAS stands for: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction.
I knew you knew that. I didn’t have to Google it either (lies).
So to correctly solve this problem, we don’t go from left to right, but rather, multiply the 10×2 first, then add the 1.
So there you have it. Now share this with a friend and see if they are wearing their smarty pants today.
The Latest Math Problem To Stump The Internet
Below is the latest math problem to have gone viral.
The question was taken from a math test designed for 6- to 7-year-olds, according to TODAY. In the proud, storied tradition of using trains to illustrate math problems, the following conundrum was posed:
I’ll give you a few seconds to think this over.
*Jeopardy music plays*
Have you solved it?
Ready for the answer?
The answer is…
So why is the internet so confused?
Well, the question was originally posted on a Parents against Primary Testing Facebook page by a parent who insisted the answer was 46 and deemed the question too hard for students.
Now, of course, 46 is the answer if for some reason the 19 people who got off the train are unaccounted for. What happened to them? I don’t know. I’m trying to solve a math problem, not a missing persons case.
The problem was made worse when Twitter user Louise Bloxham shared an image of the problem repeating the wrong answer (her post has since been deleted), and a viral math problem was born.
But really, the answer is 65.
Want proof? Let’s see how we get there.
As Twitter user Robyn Duckworth explains:
x – 19 + 17 = 63
Therefore x -2 =63
Solve for x and you get x = 65.
— Robyn Duckworth (@DuckworthRobyn) May 8, 2016
Now this post uses algebra to solve the problem, which got even more parents upset. What 7-year-old knows algebra?
But the way I view it, it can be solved by using simple addition and subtraction.
If you take 19 and subtract 17, that’s two people, add that to 63 and you have… Wait. I ran out of fingers.
Regardless, all of the people who posted about the answer being 46 have since deleted their posts in embarrassment, so I think we can put this controversy to rest.
And now we can tackle the real question: Why do math writers have an obsession with trains?