Can You Solve the 3 Maths Questions Most Adults Fail?


  1. Question 1
  2. Question 2
  3. Question 3
  4. Why are these questions so difficult?

There are just some questions in maths everyone gets wrong. Keep on reading to find out why and test your knowledge.

No matter how much we want to understand things better than our kids, we still get things wrong. 😄 There are 3 maths questions that most adults tend to get wrong. We'll shed some information on why, down below. 👍3-maths-questions-adults-fail-2 

Question 1 – 9 + 3 x 6 ÷ 2 = ?


When we look at this equation above, there will be some people who will answer 36, while others will answer 18. But, what is the right answer? Answers to this question often differ completely! 🤔 

It all depends what you learnt was the meaning of the acronym BODMAS -Brackets, orders, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction. 😅

Now when we think about it, orders must mean the order of the equation, right? Actually, that's not the case. 😮 Orders refer to the power, square roots, or indices, not to the order of the equation. This is where a lot of people get confused! 😊

The answer is actually 18 and not 36. Since the sum should technically read as follows:

9 + (3 x (6 ÷ 2)) = 

9 +(3 x 3) = 

9 + 9 = 18

Question 2 – Picture Problems 


Can you figure out this problem? A lot of people can’t do it without using a piece of paper. 💭

We as adults forget to develop and practise a very important connection in our brains 🧠, because we don’t use it as much. We forget to practise the connection between the visual and logical parts of our brain.

When we were in school, we would often have to calculate word problems, even in higher grade maths.

Financial problems were given as word problems and we had to visualise the scenario. Now we just find ourselves living in the maths rather than having to visualise it. 😰

The other problem some people have, is the idea of working backwards, instead of being given the numbers. 

With the watermelon 🍉 we have to think, the answer would be 36 divided by 3, instead of being given 12 in the equation. 🤔

Then we have to take 28, minus 12 and then divide the remaining number by 2 (since there are 2 peaches). This gives us 16 divided by 2, giving us 8, which is the value of the peaches. 🍑

Now we have to take 8 and minus 3, giving us 5, which is the value of the banana. 🍌

It all ends up being a mixture of mathematics and visualisation. Alongside working backwords using the power of deduction! Something as adults we don’t give enough credit to.

Download study plan


Question 3 – How many squares can you count? 


how-many-squaresHere we have a fun geometry question! Starting with the answer… There are 40 individual squares 🟦 to count in this photo.

People tend to get this wrong because of two reasons. Either they gave up halfway, or they genuinely did not count a certain part as its’ own square. 🤷

We start on the outside, meaning one square. Then we count all the smallest squares that are within that big square, including those overlapping ones.

There are 18 little squares in total. Those 18 little squares make 9 bigger squares in different places, and then 4 even bigger ones after that. Then in those overlapping squares we find 8 tiny squares. 🧮

So, let’s break this up for anyone who is lost:

  • 1 giant square
  • 18 small squares
  • 9 medium squares
  • 4 big squares
  • 8 tiny squares

It comes to 40 squares in total. You can find more squares with your kids and see how many they can count! Use different colours to indicate them on a diagram and whoever finds the most wins! 🤪


Why are these questions so difficult? 


Some question fails we can blame on giving up, but some we really can blame on a lack of concrete knowledge from school.

It can be scary how much we forget or how we were taught incorrectly. 😔 Which is why it's a great idea to consider a maths tutor. Any confusion your child is dealing with can be resolved with the help of one of our experienced tutors. 

Book a free trial lesson with GoStudent today and help your child avoid any maths struggles in the future! 😄

Start your kid’s learning journey

Study tips

Top Tips for Beginner Readers

Easy to follow steps to encourage a love of reading.

Download Now