Every once in a while, when you’re scrolling through your feed on Facebook, past all the memes, new profile pics your friends posted on the beach with a cold beverage and news articles, you’ll come across a post like this:
And the only reason you’ll encounter this is because your friend commented what they think is the answer to the equation. And while some of these are relatively simple, and don’t require that much thinking, as they’re basic stuff like multiplying, dividing and putting numbers into groups, sometimes you’ll get stuff like the one above.
The test makers agree that adding 1 + 4=5, but those who think a little deeper will get the answer by adding 1 + 4 and multiplying it by 1. Then, they add 3 to 6 x 3 and get 21. Finally, they add 8 to 11 x 8 and get 96.
Apparently the second answer involves a different way of thinking and it is less common than the other way, which requires “thinking outside the box.”
The commenters had a tough time going through this quiz:
“After a few minutes thought, and obviously knowing there were two possible answers to look for, I got 40 and 96 and was very surprised to see my solutions matched the published ones – I only got a C in GCSE maths! I have at various times in my life attempted general IQ tests from an old series of books published in the 1970’s (Eyensik?) and my score varied between 118 and 136, the latter representing peak score after gaining more familiarity with the tests – so clearly no latent genius exposed here! I think anyone can improve at these puzzles with practice.”
One commenter felt disappointed by the lack of people who answered correctly…
“Only one in a thousand? That says a lot about our educational system.”
And then, one brainiac who I imagine spent a lot of time studying math when they were in school finally got to an answer:
“There’s a 3rd way which also computes to 96. The left-hand number (1 in 1 x 4) is n. The “+” operator is the operation of multiplying the second number by n+1 and then subtracting 3. (4 x 2) – 3 = 5 (5 x 3) – 3 = 12 (6 x 4) – 3 = 21 (11×9) – 3 = 96 The solution is the same as the second solution, but it needn’t necessarily be the same, it just happens because in all cases the first and second numbers of each equation have a difference of 3. I didn’t see the first solution, but solving the problem in the first way is not really a maths solution, in my opinion, it’s a riddle, but not a good one because there are other answers that make sense.”
So now that you know the answer, share this with your friends and task them to solve this quiz without telling them the answer. Post what they said along with what your initial calculations were in the comments!
Oh, and if this reminded you that school is starting very soon and you’ll probably have to do stuff like this, we’re sorry and you’re welcome.