Can You Solve This Simple Math Problem? The Correct Answer Depends On Where You’re From


Robert-Owen-Wahl / Pixabay

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: there’s a simple math problem that’s tearing the Internet apart. I caught this discussion at Twitter, ran the math, and came back with the correct answer. Simple, right? Not so much.

The correct answer to this pretty straight forward equation is entirely dependent upon where you were raised and learned math. Some people like myself learned PEMDAS, others learn BOMDAS (Bracket, Of, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract).

Normally, when one of these ‘solve this’ equations goes viral it’s because most people can’t do math. This is a genuine case of the answer depending on which method you were taught. Let’s check it out:

The answer is 1, right? PEMDAS leads to 2+2 = 4. 2(4) = 8. Then 8/8 = 1. But if you do this wonky BOMDAS method you wind up with an answer of 16 and this is where all hell breaks loose.

This is wrong (according to PEMDAS). It doesn’t make it any more correct just because you wrote it out on paper.

This hurts my head:

A few years back, at the time when Facebook was relevant, it felt like people were sharing ‘can you solve this math problem’ pictures nonstop. They appeared to be an easy and popular way for Facebook Pages to drive up reach by forcing a ton of comments from people answering the question.

What’s great about this one is how people are genuinely split on the answer and the correct answer is entirely dependent upon where someone was raised/taught math. Furthermore, according to some riled up people on Twitter the equation appears to be written wrong which I’m not buying as a viable excuse.

The answer is 1.

The answer is also 16.

Seriously though, the answer is 1.