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Only 28% of people can answer this viral maths question correctly

Posted by
Dave Fawbert
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Countdown Rachel Riley

You’re here for one of two reasons.

You know you’re useless at maths, but you’re thinking ‘everyone’s getting this one wrong, so maybe I can somehow get it right and I’ll feel better about myself for a minute or two’.

Or you think you’re amazing at maths, and you want to get it right to add a satisfying dose of smugness to your day by confirming that you are, as you were pretty certain already, better than everyone else.

This maths problem has been flummoxing the internet after being posted by Which? and then retweeted by Countdown’s very own number goddess Rachel Riley.

So, without further ado, can you get it right?

Got it right? Good for you?

Got it wrong? Don’t fear, you’re far from alone.

As we hit publish, an overwhelming majority of people have plumped for the fourth answer, ‘56’, which is very utterly and totally and completely wrong.

And if you did pick ‘56’, Rachel is here to point towards the reason for your error:

And what is BODMAS?

It’s an acronym which describes the order in which you perform mathematical operations - it stands for Brackets, Orders (also known as powers), Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.

Operations of the same level (multiplication and division, or addition and subtraction), you simply work from left to right.

So if you see a problem like this, follow the rules. There are no brackets or orders, so we begin with multiplication/division:

7 + 7 ÷ 7 + 7 x 7 - 7 = ?

7 + (7 ÷ 7) + (7 x 7) - 7 = ?

7 + 1 + 49 - 7 = ?

Then we perform addition/subtraction, going left to right:

(7 + 1) + 49 - 7 = ?

(8 + 49) - 7 = ?

57 - 7 = 50

Got it? Great, let’s try another one:

And here’s how it’s done:

25 - 48 ÷ 6 + 12 × 2 = ?

Multiplication/division first, left-to-right:

25 - (48 ÷ 6) + 12 x 2 = ?

25 - 8 + (12 x 2) = ?

25 - 8 + 24 = ?

Then addition/subtraction, left-to-right:

(25 - 8) + 24 = ?

(17 + 24) = ?

17 + 24 = 41

Congratulations, you are now a maths expert.

(Image: Rex)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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