A Problem Most People Can’t Solve On The First Try

As a whole, the internet loves a good brain teaser. We love to get those juices flowing, to test our smarts against those of others, and generally just be able to pat ourselves on the back once in awhile.

If all of that is something you’re into, then have I got a challenge for you today – because this brain teaser is pretty darn tough to solve.

If you’re up for it, you’ll need a pencil and a piece of paper and the time to puzzle out one math problem.

It’s based on a Japanese study by university researchers, and only about 60% of the engineers who attempted to solve it got the correct answer. Since they were young and just out of school, the response led researchers to wonder if they were lacking basic math skills because their education wasn’t up to par.

Let’s see if you run into the same issue…

A problem most people can't solve on the first try

Image Credit: TipHero

Okay, so if you didn’t get it right, chances are it’s because applying the PEMDAS principle from our youths isn’t always as easy as we were led to believe.

People often forget about invisible parentheses and how to work from left to right, while also believing that addition always comes before subtraction, or that multiplication must come before division.

And fractions can throw folks for a loop, too, if you don’t remember the commutative, associative, and distributive properties.

According to TipHero, here’s is how you’d ideally go about solving this one.

“What you want to do here is start over by tackling 3 ÷ 1/3 first, and no, you’re not supposed to multiply here. Divide! Hint: 3 divided by 1/3 is actually 9. Take it from there. Using a calculator, it’s likely that it will read that relationship between 3 and 1/3 as a funky way to arrive at 1 before working out the rest of the equation.”

Here’s a video that shows you how to solve it.

Better yet, toss it out to your friends, see what they come up with, and then you all can debate until the cows come home.

What else are good brain teasers for, after all??

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