The students only had 20 seconds to answer the trick question. But you can take as much time as you want considering there have been several Ph. D holders who have spent hours scratching their brains over this 'easy' question.
Everybody loves a good puzzle. Especially the ones which are solvable. As you would know, a puzzle that can't be solved even hours after working on it will eventually lead you to pull out your hair in frustration, throwing your pen away and whatnot.
And that's what has happened with a rather seemingly easy math question that was part of an elementary school test in Hong Kong. So you must be wondering, how did a simple math question end up as an article, let alone be going viral on the internet, especially in China. It was published on June 5 and had become the second-most popular post on Chinese microblogging Sina Weibo.
Okay -- so here is the deal. The first-grade students only had 20 seconds to answer the trick question. But hold on. You can take as much time as you want considering there have been several Ph. D holders who have spent hours scratching their brains over this 'easy' question.
So what is this question? It is a puzzle involving numbers with cars parked on a street. However, there are five numbers mentioned on the street and you have to find out the sixth number. Sounds simple right? The numbers mentioned are 16, 06, 68, 88, __ and 98. So basically, it is a "Fill in the blanks" question. Not too bad, is it?
But that's not all. Social media users on Weibo have been completely stumped by the question with many even suggesting that they almost "cried" while trying to solve the question for hours.
Here are some of the reactions on the question: One user wrote, "What takes an elementary school student just seconds to do; takes a high school student several minutes; takes a college student half an hour and up; and takes a Ph.D. a lifetime… After I shared this problem with my class and saw so many academic tyrants spend half the day trying to figure it out, I snickered sinisterly inside."
"I even picked up a pen to do calculations for a bit, tried all four rules of arithmetic [+-*/]…I shed tears after eventually learning the answer," a social media user was quoted as saying by Chinasmack.
Meanwhile, another added: I thought it was one circle, two circles, three circles, four circles. I might be a kindergartener.
You can keep your paper and pens aside now. And we really don't think there is any better way to explain it than how a Weibo user summed it up. "F*ck, accidentally picked up my mobile phone upside-down and the answer appeared!!"