How Fast Can You Figure Out This “Easy” Math Problem?

Ah, how we love a good Internet debate. Whether it concerns the color of a dress or the size of an engagement ring, you’ll never find something more divisive than what is seen in the comments sections of these posts!

One of our current faves has nothing to do with clothing or social norms. It is all about a “simple” algebra problem that is actually much more complex than it looks.

Presh Talwalker, a Stanford grad, mathematics puzzle author, and blogger at Mind Your Decisions first introduced this mind-boggling problem to the masses last summer, and it’s still getting a ton of attention. Now, we’ll admit that when we first took a look at the problem, we had an answer within seconds. Did you?

Well, if you guessed “1”, then you are so wrong!

image of busted lightbulb

We know. What a buzzkill, right?
Those of you who came up with this answer most likely dug deep into that noggin and managed to dust off the “order of operations” that you learned in grade school.


Chances are you were either taught to approach equations like this one with the help of either PEMDAS (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) or BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction). It’s a simple procedure that’s akin to riding a bike—once you master it, you’ll never forget it!

With that said, there is a major caveat that comes with utilizing this handy model—division and multiplication have the same precedence, so in a case like this, pupils are actually instructed to solve the problem going from left to right.

It’s all coming back to you now, huh?

The Correct Answer Explained (VIDEO) in the Next Page …