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This Confusing Math Test Question Has Gone Viral -- Can You Solve It?

| by Lisa Fogarty

Impossible-to-answer math test questions have been stumping folks on the Internet for some time now, particularly since the argument over whether Common Core is beneficial to children blew up and continues to inspire heated debate.

But the latest crazy math test question comes from Singapore, where a problem that appeared on the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad exam has gone viral, mainly because it makes absolutely no sense to most people, reports The Blaze:

The "birthday" math problem was posted on Facebook by Kenneth Jianwenz on April 10 and has since confused hundreds of people, who have turned to Twitter to air their frustrations:

Or to try to make sense of the problem:

And, it seems, Ms. Chanandler Bong was correct. Karin McGourty, a primary school teacher, explained to the Telegraph how the problem is solved.

"You can rule out some of the options," McGourty said. "For Albert to have known the answer, he would have to have May and June as that is when 19 or 18 occur [respectively]."

Given this logic, the answer couldn't be any date in May or June.

She continued: "So Albert must have a month where numbers are repeated, leaving us with July and August."

Bernard knows Albert has been told one of those two months, and the possible dates are 15 through 17 and 14 is repeated. Since 14 is the only number that appears in both July and August, the correct answer is July 16.

The SASMO team posted a message on Facebook after the question went viral in an attempt to clear up any misinformation or concern about it:

To whom it may concern,

We would appreciate if you could post this reply to clarify the “supposedly P5 viral question” that appeared on several websites. We think it is important to clarify so that Singapore parents will not start to worry so much.

The supposedly P5 question that went viral on the Internet on Apr 12, 2015 is actually a question from the Secondary 3 and from the Secondary 4 SASMO (Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad) contests held on Apr 8, 2015. Being Question 24 out of 25 questions, this is a difficult question meant to sift out the better students. SASMO contests target the top 40% of the student population and the standards of most questions are just high enough to stretch the students.

The official suggested solution to this problem is on the picture below.

Yours Sincerely,

SASMO Team