The Internet Can’t Seem to Agree on the Answer to This Math Puzzle

IQ test math puzzle

Do you consider yourself a “puzzle person”? If so, take a shot at this math puzzle and see what you come up with. This deceptively simple puzzle went viral, with over 3 million people commenting on the IQ stumper. In fact, the original post declares that only one in a thousand people will actually figure it out.

At this point, you may be thinking, “This puzzle doesn't seem very difficult,” but you'd be wrong. Still don't get it? Most people will default to using a running tally of numbers, where a + b = 5 and 5 + c +d = 12. This brings you to a final total of 40 when in reality, there's another way to answer this brainbuster.

tricky math puzzle

Confused? It may be the first line that is throwing you off, as if we use the a + ab equation, 1 x 4 equals 4. However, in the following lines the equation becomes clearer. For instance, 2 + 2(5) equals 12. So when used in the last line, 8 + 8(11), the final answer is 96.

If this math puzzle still isn't clear, watch the full video explanation of this tricky IQ test.

And if that weren't complicated enough, Presh Talwakar of MindYourDecisions also points out another pattern that some people see in the puzzle. Though rare, he states that “about 10 people saw this pattern out of 5+ million views this video has gotten,” it's certainly another, complex way of solving things.

The idea is to evaluate the sums in base 10, and then convert the answer into descending number bases 6, 5, 4, etc. line by line. So the pattern is:

1 + 4 = 5 (base 10) = 5 (base 6)

2 + 5 = 7 (base 10) = 5*1 + 2 = 12 (base 5)

3 + 6 = 9 (base 10) = 4*2 + 1 = 21 (base 4)

So if we do the same for the last line, we would need to use base 3 to get:

8 + 11 = 19 (base 10) = 9*2 + 3*0 + 1 = 201 (base 3) So if you got 201, that's another way people have seen the pattern.

Do your head hurt? Don't worry, you're not alone.

h/t: [Shareably]

All images via MindYourDecisions Youtube.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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