Simple Math Question Stumps New Hires & Netizens Alike

netizens solve maths challenge

In an article about the Chubu Economic Federation’s new initiative to encourage educational reform, Asahi News presented a simple math test that only 40% of new hires at a major Japanese company were able to answer correctly. Netizen reactions to this article were threefold: while many were quick to scorn the test takers, other 2ch commenters weren’t able to solve the problem correctly themselves, and still others pointed out that most of the confusion was a result of the ambiguous way the question was written.

What do you think – is this trending article an indication that fundamental math and reasoning skills have declined on a national level, or was the test biased to begin with? Can you solve this problem on your first try? No peeking…

From Asahi News:

“9-3÷1/3+1=? 40% of New Employees Answer Correctly”

What’s the answer to ”9-3÷1/3+1” (where 1/3 represents one third)? At a major car parts manufacturing company, when newly hired engineers who are high school and college graduates took this test, only 40% answered correctly. A proposal from the Chubu Economic Federation announced on February 3 regarding the competitive power of the manufacturing industry included these results as an example of declining ability.

This large parts manufacturing company conducts the same arithmetic test every year, and in the rate of correct answers in the 1980s was 90%.

Aside from a decline in fundamental academic ability, a survey given by the Chubu Economic Federation to its member companies also revealed that the difference between the abilities companies seek from students and the actual abilities of students is increasing. According to the survey, the top ability valued by 87% of companies when hiring new employees is “communication.” At the same time, the majority of companies (59%) reported sensing a decline in students’ communication abilities.

Because of this sort of gap, especially in smaller companies, cases of young employees losing their jobs are increasing. After this, the Chubu Economic Federation will seek reforms from the nation and educational institutions in order to accomplish goals such as “aiming to replenish the primary education which has been weakened by pressure-free education” and “cultivating communication ability through the use of debate in the classroom.”

(The answer to the test is 1.)

Comments from 2ch.net:
名無しさん@13周年:

9

名無しさん@13周年:

1.5

名無しさん@13周年:

1!

名無しさん@13周年:

Isn’t it 1?

名無しさん@13周年:

Huh? It’s 1, right?

名無しさん@13周年:

Don’t mix up “÷” and “/” !

名無しさん@13周年:

It’s 7. Common sense.

名無しさん@13周年:

Isn’t engineering science?

名無しさん@13周年:

Do the big companies really ask this kind of question?

名無しさん@13周年:

How about 19?

名無しさん@13周年:

Isn’t it 9?

名無しさん@13周年:

It’s 1. I haven’t taken math since middle school and only study the humanities, and even I understand this.

名無しさん@13周年:

The correct answer is 1, but… This is a rude question to ask college graduates.

名無しさん@13周年:

”engineers who are high school and college graduates” what? Under no circumstances is this possible. You would expect every employee to get this right. What happened???????

名無しさん@13周年:

You’re all stupid. It’s definitely 9.

名無しさん@13周年:

The answer is 9. The fact that even here everyone’s answering 1 shows that it’s a bad question. It seem to be a language problem rather than a math one.

名無しさん@13周年:

9―3÷1/3+1
=9-3×3+1
=9-9+1
=1

名無しさん@13周年:

9-3÷1/3+1
=9-3/3+1
=9-1+1
=9

It’s 9.

名無しさん@13周年:

Doesn’t 1/3 mean 1÷3?

名無しさん@13周年:

1/3, what is that? If it means one third then the person who wrote it is an idiot.

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  • MyMotto

    shouldnt it be -1? because addition comes before subtraction…I used PEMDAS
    9-3÷1/3 +1
    9-9+1
    9-10
    -1

    • Fullmetal36

      Don’t know if you’re trolling or not, but if you aren’t, then I’ll answer this seriously for you ^.^

      As far as rules go, you can do either addition or subtraction first. However, if you did want to do addition first, it wouldn’t be ‘9+1’, it would be ‘-9+1’, in which case, it would be ‘-8’. So then 9-8 is equal to 1.

      You can also think of any subtraction as adding a negative number if that helps 🙂

      • MyMotto

        ._. I rly need to learn how to check my work

      • vonskippy

        Huh?
        3÷1/3 = 3×3/1=9
        9-9+1
        It would be 9+(-9)+1
        0+1 or 9+(-8)
        1

        The best way to understand a combination of addition and subtraction is to think of the subtraction as addition of a negative number.

        • jem
          • vonskippy

            3 x 1/3 = 1, 3 ÷ 1/3 = 9

            http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=3%C3%B7%281%2F3%29

            Do us all a favour and find a 7 year old to tutor you before posting about basic math. You’re obviously toooooo stupid to use online tools like WA (which assumes you know basic math).

          • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

            By far math is my worst subject but even I know

            3 ÷ 1/3 = 9

            It’s obvious. If they wanted you to divide all the way, then you wouldn’t need to use two different symbols! They would have written it as

            3 ÷ 1 ÷ 3

          • nqk123

            you are a good example of what’s wrong with kids these days. too dependent on techs. can’t even do simple math.

          • o0ohahao0o

            why do people care so much about doing math without calculators? do you want people to torture themselves doomg 20-variable regressions by hand or something?

          • o0ohahao0o

            doing*

          • nqk123

            brain exercise => help critical thinking and problem solving skills.

          • o0ohahao0o

            when you get to higher level math, you’re not doing arithmetic – are you saying these people don’t do any critical thinking?

          • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

            The men on the Apollo mission had no calculators. So suck it up.

          • o0ohahao0o

            It also takes a week to do a regression with 20 variables by hand. PROGRESS

          • o0ohahao0o

            LMAO @ how abstaining from calculator use is an accurate barometer of intelligence or “critical thinking skills” and lol @ you thinking the apollo mission having no calculators was a “good thing.”

          • nqk123

            learning math without calculator help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. higher level math demand even more of these skills set. given kids calculator will prevent them from developing these skills

          • o0ohahao0o

            uh, lol, no. you are not doing computation in higher level theory, are you kidding?

          • nqk123

            which part of my statement did i said that higher level does not require computation? all i said was that kids need to learn basic math without calculator to help develops critical thinking and problem solving skills. these skills are necessary for higher math.

    • DAAAAMNNNN

      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ________
      . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . ,.-‘”. . . . . . . . . .“~.,
      . . . . . . . .. . . . . .,.-”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“-.,
      . . . . .. . . . . . ..,/. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ”:,
      . . . . . . . .. .,?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .,
      . . . . . . . . . /. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,}
      . . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`^`.}
      . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:”. . . ./
      . . . . . . .?. . . __. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :`. . . ./
      . . . . . . . /__.(. . .“~-,_. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`. . . .. ./
      . . . . . . /(_. . ”~,_. . . ..“~,_. . . . . . . . . .,:`. . . . _/
      . . . .. .{.._$;_. . .”=,_. . . .“-,_. . . ,.-~-,}, .~”; /. .. .}
      . . .. . .((. . .*~_. . . .”=-._. . .“;,,./`. . /” . . . ./. .. ../
      . . . .. . .`~,. . ..“~.,. . . . . . . . . ..`. . .}. . . . . . ../
      . . . . . .(. ..`=-,,. . . .`. . . . . . . . . . . ..(. . . ;_,,-”
      . . . . . ../.`~,. . ..`-.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . … . /
      . . . . . . `~.*-,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..|,./…..,__
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      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .`=-,. . . . . . . . . .,%`>–==“
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      • vonskippy

        The answer is: “There ARE four lights!”

  • Mighty曹

    I got 19. LOL

  • Jem

    I plugged it in Wolfram Alpha and got 9, and I also did it in my head and got 9.

    • vonskippy

      You typed it in wrong on WA and your head flunked basic math.

      • jem

        go fuck yourself.

        • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

          Should have put (1/3) to get a more accurate answer. WA is very specific about punctuation and symbols.

          Plus you should write in down when working on it. Just doing it in your head can lead to mistakes. It’s just the way the brain is wired.

        • David

          Don’t get mad at him just because you are too dumb to do basic math.

      • icu

        lol.

    • Hlynb93

      Your calculation is right
      9-3:1/3+1=
      9-3/3+1=
      9-1/1+1=
      9-1+1=
      8+1=
      9

      • Zappa Frank

        3:1/3 is like 3×3; 3×1/3 is like 3/3. As said in article 1/3 is one third not 1:3.

  • Jem

    9-3÷1/3+1

    3/1÷1/3=9

    9-9=0

    1

    It doesn’t make sense to me because I see it as:

    9-3÷1/3+1

    3/1÷3=1

    9-1+1

    -1+1=0

    9

    is it 1/3 or 3/1? I assumed it was 3/1 because there is no 1/3, then why not just write as 3/1÷1/3 instead it was written as 3÷1/3 which is really 3÷1/3÷1.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      9 – 3 ÷ 1/3 + 1 ( 1/3 is treated as the fraction of one third since “/” was used instead of “÷” )

      9 – 3 * (3/1) + 1 (1/3 gets flipped around and multiplied as per rules when dividing fractions)

      9 – 3 * 3 + 1 ( PEMDAS (3 * 3) = 9)

      9 – 9 + 1 ( It’s obvious from here)

      0 + 1
      1

      • vonskippy

        “( 1/3 is treated as the fraction of one third since “/” was used instead of “÷” )”

        Good explanation!

      • Hlynb93

        Your calculation is wrong

        9-3:1/3+1
        You divide the 3 by 1 which will give you 3, and the 3 below is divided by nothing because there’s nothing below the other 3. You’ll end up with 3/3 which when simplified is 1/1 or just 1.
        Afterwards between – and +, the minus comes first so it’s 9-1=8, and then 8+1=9.
        So the answer is 9
        9-3:1/3+1=
        9-3/3+1=
        9-1/1+1=
        9-1+1=
        8+1=
        9

        • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

          Except there is no 1 to divide with, The 1 is only there to represent the fraction one third. You are assuming that says “1 divded by 3” it doesn’t, it is “1 over 3” or “⅓”

          If you could divide it, it wouldn’t be written that way.

          It would have been 9 – (3 ÷ 1) ÷ 3 + 1

          Not your fault. It was really stupid of them to write the probelm as ‘9 – 3 ÷ 1/ 3 + 1’ when ‘⅓’ was available

  • 3 ÷ 1/3 is indisputably 9. But reading 3÷1/3 as 3÷1÷3 is more ambiguous. When dealing with the same rank of order of operations (i.e., division vs division), you’re technically supposed to work from left to right, so you’d calculate it as (3÷1)/3.

    This was a poorly expressed question, and ultimately the “right” answer could be a matter of font––was it written as ⅓ or 1/3? ⅓ is clearly a single entity, whereas 1/3 is technically synonymous with 1÷3.

    In short:
    • If you read 1/3 as ⅓, the answer is 1.
    • If you read 1/3 as 1÷3, the answer is 9.

    • Zappa Frank

      Apparently it was said as note to consider 1/3 as one third, there is in the article and I guess also in the test it was clear.

      • NSA

        since it is stated clearly it is onethird, it should be 3 divide 1/3 = 9

    • YellowMagic

      I used to tutor high school kids math.
      From my experience I would say, most kids who have trouble with the maths have a problem with reading the directions, rather than having problems understanding the mathematical concepts.

    • firebert5

      RIght. They should have used parentheses for 1/3. That is the universal standard for order of operations, or so I was taught.

    • donscarletti

      This is why ISO 80000-2 specifies that ÷ (Obelus) should never be used, it just leads to an un-needed lack of clarity and no self-respecting high school would include it in an exam paper. I think this is also a good example of “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer”.

    • Kiwi

      I’m wondering if Japanese companies went to 4chan to get this math problem….

  • Cleo

    OMG – do they not understand the use of parentheses in Japan? I don’t accept that the answer is one because there is no order given so the answer COULD be one but it could also be all the other answers as well – duh,

    Plus if this is the situation with their mathematical organizational training, then no wonder Fukushima is still leaking.

    this is like that eats shoots leaves phrase – because order has not been established with punctuation

    they dismissed the wrong people and probably hired the wrong people

    • Zappa Frank

      You can accept or not, but without parentheses conventionally in math you have to do first multiplications and divisions. There is an order given and I guess it was proposed in this way exactly to make it more confused, but it is formally correct and the answer is 1.

      • firebert5

        Type this

        9-3÷1/3+1

        in a scientific calculator and the answer will be 3.66666666 repeating. But type this

        9-3÷(1/3)+1

        and the answer is 1.

        • Zappa Frank

          The scientific calculator does not know that 1/3 is intended as one third, we know.

        • tomoe723

          most scientific calculators now respect operator precedence, so the answer is 9, not 3.666~, unless you pressed the = sign after every operation, like 9-3=,÷1=,/3=,+1, then you’ll get 3. How did you ever get 3.666~?

          • firebert5

            I literally copied and pasted the problem from the article into a scientific calculator and hit enter.

        • Kiwi

          Google calculator: 9-3÷1/3+1 is 9

          dammit google

  • Vlad

    what about metric and imperial system?

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      They used neither, so used the neutral ‘units’ designation.

  • YourSupremeCommander

    If I am a super salesman that can generate sales for this large parts manufacturing company on day one… does it matter if I got this question wrong, very wrong?

    You mean they would hire some nerd who can do this equation correctly but can’t sell shit instead of me, the super salesman?

    And no, 2+2 is not 5
    2+2=22

    • Mighty曹

      How many times have we applied Algebra in real life?

      • tomoe723

        or arithmetic for that matter… but tell that to the walmart cashiers, who refused to give me a dollar when i handed them 5 cents for a 95 cents change. -_-

        • Mighty曹

          Hahaha… yes! I do that a lot too – to lessen the coins or bills I carry – and I always see a puzzled look and I often have to clue them in.

        • lonetrey / Dan

          Never understood why so many people don’t get that when I do it in supermarkets.

          After punching in the numbers, usually it’ll give a nice round number on the screen, so won’t it be apparent then?

          • elizabeth

            The cashiers in China do. They even ask me for it almost every time because they want the loose change. That’s consistent with their position in the Math ranking.

  • One for all

    Answer is 1.

    3÷1/3= 3 x 3/1 = 9

    9 – 9 + 1 = 1

    • Well it’s very clear that you followed the rule of BODMAS. So if you followed that rule all the way to second last line, then why would you subtract first instead of addition. Mathematically the ultimately correct answer could also be -1.09009009009… But I am willing to settle with -1 as well as normally without calculator we can’t calculate long decimals.

      • One for all

        the subtraction symbol appeared before the addition one, as far as I know the priority goes to whichever of these symbol that comes first.

        9 – 9 + 1 does not give you -1….9 – (9 +1) gives you -1. That’s why brackets are used.

        Step up son!

        • I would just say, addition comes first. If we didn’t know the answer was one, any sane person would add first. It’s easy to solve the problem when you know the answer.

          • One for all

            9 – 9 + 1 = 1

            1 + 9 – 9 = 1

            If you solve the equations giving priority to whichever symbol appears first, you get the same answer.

            If you choose to do the addition first in both equations, you will get different answers.

            Again, addition has no priority over subtraction (or vice versa), the same way multiplication has no priority over division (again, same for vice versa)

  • Anonymous

    It’s stated in the fucking question to interpret 1/3 as a fraction. This isn’t symptomatic of basic arithmetic failure, but rather reading comprehension failure.

    • One for all

      Which makes the answer 1

  • NSA

    u guys are all stupid.

    9-3÷1/3+1= 2643

    • firebert5

      lol

    • Mighty曹

      Right answer but you missed a comma there.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    Where are the 3rd grade Chinese students when you need them?

    • YourSupremeCommander

      They are doing my homework for me right now.

      • Mighty曹

        Teach them some English while they’re at it.

  • markus peg

    And who ever said Asians were good at maths.. =D

    • Mighty曹

      Hahaha… but this only applies outside of Asia.

    • I realize this is just a joke, but since I already have all the data compiled and it’s mildly relevant, I may as well post it…

      OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (2012)––Math:

      1 Shanghai-China 613
      2 Singapore 573
      3 Hong Kong-China 561
      4 Taiwan 560
      5 Korea 554
      6 Macao-China 538
      7 Japan 536
      8 Liechtenstein 535
      9 Switzerland 531
      10 Netherlands 523
      11 Estonia 521
      12 Finland 519
      13 Canada 518
      14 Poland 518
      15 Belgium 515
      16 Germany 514
      17 Vietnam 511
      18 Austria 506
      19 Australia 504
      20 Ireland 501
      21 Slovenia 501
      22 Denmark 500
      23 New Zealand 500
      24 Czech Republic 499
      25 France 495
      26 United Kingdom 494
      27 Iceland 493
      28 Latvia 491
      29 Luxembourg 490
      30 Norway 489
      31 Portugal 487
      32 Italy 485
      33 Spain 484
      34 Russian Federation 482
      35 Slovak Republic 482
      36 United States 481
      37 Lithuania 479
      38 Sweden 478
      39 Hungary 477
      40 Croatia 471
      41 Israel 466
      42 Greece 453
      43 Serbia 449
      44 Turkey 448
      45 Romania 445
      46 Cyprus 440
      47 Bulgaria 439
      48 United Arab Emirates 434
      49 Kazakhstan 432
      50 Thailand 427
      51 Chile 423
      52 Malaysia 421
      53 Mexico 413
      54 Montenegro 410
      55 Uruguay 409
      56 Costa Rica 407
      57 Albania 394
      58 Brazil 391
      59 Argentina 388
      60 Tunisia 388
      61 Jordan 386
      62 Colombia 376
      63 Qatar 376
      64 Indonesia 375
      65 Peru 368

      Not trying to prove any point or anything; just thought it’s interesting.

      • Mighty曹

        Wow, Chinese take 6 of top 10. Does it mean Shanghainese are smarter than Beijingers? Also, it’s interesting that India (a mind powerhouse) is missing.

        • Several Chinese cities were tested, but only the results for Shanghai were published (allegedly other Chinese cities performed nearly on par with Shanghai). I believe China is due to participate nationwide in the upcoming 2015 round.

          The two Indian states that were tested rivaled Kyrgyzstan for last place in the 2009 round:

          2009 PISA––Math:
          1/74 Shanghai, China 600

          71/74 Panama 360
          72/74 Tamil Nadu, India 351
          73/74 Himachal Pradesh, India 338
          74/74 Kyrgyzstan 331

          India subsequently pulled out of the 2012 PISA, with the Indian government citing “the unfairness of PISA testing to Indian students”.

          A year later, the Indian government again pulled India out of the 2015 PISA, still citing the “fairness of PISA testing relating to Indian students”.

          Pretty embarrassing. IMO, the bright star is Vietnam, which tested for the first time in 2012, and performed amazingly well relative to its level of development and wealth, vastly outperforming not just its Southeast Asian peers but also pretty much every other country in the developing world, except for China (which is much richer than Vietnam). That’s why I think Vietnam is likely to become the next South Korea (or Taiwan or Japan) in a few decades or so. Thailand and Indonesia are clearly in a different category in that respect.

          • whuddyasack

            Yes, I think so too WRT Vietnam. Personally, I don’t see what Vietnam lacks when compared to Japan, China, HK/Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, etc. As for Thailand, I think they have the potential to be on par with the best of the best. I’ve heard of some ridiculously smart Thais, including a 9-year old boy engineering prodigy.

          • David

            Yes, I think there are serious problems with the ranking of the Chinese test results (comparing the best and brightest in a city to all the population of a country is one of the problems) but I agree that Vietnam is very impressive.

        • o0ohahao0o

          It’s testing 15 year olds. Probably on trig or basic calc – the stuff of rote memorization. I don’t think we’re going to see any patterns pertaining to revolutionary breakthroughs in topology or group theory from this set…

          • Mighty曹

            “this set” being the students you’re teaching or the set from the International Student Assessment result above?

          • o0ohahao0o

            I’m not teaching any students?

          • Mighty曹

            Sorry, I misread “I’m testing 15 year olds.”

        • FYIADragoon

          China’s scoring on it is really a load of malarkey. They only allow for the kids in Shanghai and Hong Kong (Hong Kong has been noted to have one of the highest IQ averages in the world). Having worked with Chinese for a while, I can say that mathematics skills to an extent {their schooling system does place more emphasis on it, and teaches at a faster pace) are more of a stereotype akin to all black people being capable of playing basketball.

          • Mighty曹

            Students from Hong Kong are generally ahead in math courses when they arrive to the States and are usually placed in classes 1-3 years above the rest.

            Don’t forget, all black people and dance too.

        • linette lee

          Not all Indians have access to education and with their caste system I think it’s even worst for the poor in India than in China.

          • Mighty曹

            This is about tests based on students (those already in school). Not about access to education.

      • linette lee

        How can Shanghai and Singapore beat us HK??? Right now HK has influx of so many foreigners from Asia and they didn’t grow up in the HK education system. They are new students to the system. Don’t include them on any exams scores.

      • whuddyasack

        Damn, all I see is Asian dominance lol

      • markus peg

        Zion – 100%

        Anything other than basic Maths is a computers job lol

      • Kiwi

        The point is that asian people are just normal people who make mistakes.

      • KaiHarate

        cheating is rampant in chinese test scoring. chinese scores cannot be validated like other countries and given epic corruption in china it is highly suspicious they have so many of the top 10 spots.

        • I suppose I have the honor of being the first one to inform you that Singapore, Taiwan, and the PRC are three separate countries. Technically there’s only one entry from mainland China on this list.

          • KaiHarate

            For expanding my horizons, Matt, I’d like the honor to introduce you to a concept called demographics. If you’ve not heard of it yet…it’s a statistical analysis of ethnic groups that make up certain regions (nations, continents, etc.). Mainland Chinese created Taiwan. It’s 99% Chinese…yup, you guessed it…the very same kind of Chinese you’d find in China (and why China and quite a few other nations don’t officially recognize Taiwan as a nation). And when Britain signed a treaty with a sultanate to build a port in the place we now call Singapore, there weren’t any people. So Chinese poured in over the decades to provide labor and over time the foundation of Singapore. When Singapore declared it’s independence from Britian in the 1960s, it was was Chinese people that made that happen more than anyone as they made up the largest ethnic group. Today, Chinese make up 75% of the population of Singapore. They (or their parents/ grandparents) came from a place called China. The current president and prime minister of Singapore are Chinese. They have maternal/paternal lineage directly back to China. The president’s mom came from Fujian. You seem an expert on nations so I’m assuming you know that Fujian is in China?

            There you go, Matt. Chinese people are the vast majority in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. And given that the current leader of China, Xi, has declared war on the epic corruption/cheating that plagues China it is safe to say it’s an ethnic problem not just a border problem. There’s rampant cheating in Taiwan and Singapore in case you hadn’t heard. I’m guessing Chinese people have something to do with that, Matt?

          • For graciously expanding my horizons, KaiHarate, I’d like to re-post your previous comment:

            “cheating is rampant in chinese test scoring. chinese scores cannot be validated like other countries and given epic corruption in china it is highly suspicious they have so many of the top 10 spots.”

            Perhaps I’m not the competent Anglophone I thought I was, but it appears to me that you’re implying “China” has many of the top 10 spots. Singapore and Taiwan may be traditionally ethnically Chinese, but they are not “China”; just as Australia and Canada may be traditionally ethnically British but are certainly not “Britain”.

            FYI, Singapore is widely recognized as one of the least-corrupt countries in the world. In 2013, it tied with Norway for fifth place in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Taiwan ranked a respectable 36th, which placed it ahead of both Spain (40th) and South Korea (46th).

            So Taiwan and especially Singapore are some of the least corrupt countries in the world. I’m guessing Chinese people have something to do with that, Kai?

          • KaiHarate

            If you’re gonna post a wise guy response that you think is clever then you need to be able take it when you’re zinged back using your style of put-down. I see you are taking this seriously and won’t be giving up. So I’ll teach a bit and let you have last word if you so choose.

            If you taught in these places (or lived for extended period of time) you’d know that exam cheating is rampant in all 3 countries. You do your google research why this is but Han Chinese can tell you why if you want to ask around.

            Your googling produced corruption results. Did you know that Taiwan was banned from Little League World Series for a time because it was discovered they were sending 18 year olds to play against 12 year olds…for 20 years? The cheating went to government levels not some random cheating. It was systemic. Anyone can google “top/best/worst” lists until they find what they want.

            Taiwan has no official diplomatic relations when ANY United Nations member. North America, Europe and Asia do not have any official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Though I support and hope for Taiwan’s fully recognized independence, it’s debatable whether they are an actual nation or just a mere political exile trying to hold out hope until their Chinese kin in Beijing give up. There are quite a few nations that do not recognize Taiwan as a nation. Taiwan is banned from making any appearance at high level international meetings/summits. The United Nations has rejected every attempt Taiwan has made to become member. They are banned from appearing as “Taiwan”, or with their flag, from all international events that is worth caring about. They would get kicked out of the Olympics if they tried to show up as “Taiwan” with their flag. They are only allowed at certain events and when they are they are only allowed to refer to themselves as Republic of China, Chinese Taiwan (or Taipei). That sounds a lot like “part of China”, don’t you think? China has put a strong argument forth that Taiwan (an island of China’s coast) was created by Chinese people trying to escape other Chinese people’s government. From China’s perspective, Taiwan is just a sore loser who won’t accept they lost a civil war they clearly lost so they ran off to an island to hide indefinitely.

            If you want to believe Singapore, Taiwan, China aren’t Han Chinese dominated than go for it. If you want to believe they have better students (schools) than Canada, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Japan, South Korea, Britain, Israel, America…to name a few… as well as being less corrupt – then have at it. The leader of China has his daughter at Harvard for a good reason after having her at a private high school in America. No American president is sending his daughter to Singapore or Taiwan to get the best education in the world.

            Chinese test results rank high because China only includes test results of certain high performing districts of Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong. The very same thing is true for cities of Singapore/Taipei. These 3 countries cheat the system by not including their poor/uneducated populations so they wind up looking like nations of geniuses. Students, parents, school officials chat the actual test (and results) due to enormous pressures that are too involved to get into here. But they cheat.

            North/South America, Europe, and some of Asia average up their great, good, so-so, bad, awful, cheaters to get one ranking. Many rural (farm) areas in America score equal or above top world cities. Students from Massachusetts and Connecticut are 3rd and 4th in the world in reading/writing but no one is going to suggest America is tops in the world because of that. America would dominate the top 20 if it skewed their test scores as China, Singapore, and Taiwan does. The nation of Singapore would not list top 30 nor would Taiwan if entire school systems were taken into account.

            Using Aussie/Canada analogy was just lame. I’m too tired to get into all that. Have the last word, my friend. It’s all yours.

          • Wow, apparently I unknowingly set off someone with a major complex about this issue. Embittered expat much? I’ve used the Internet long enough to know that anytime someone writes an 8-paragraph rant about some nationality/ethnicity/other group of people, I’m probably better off not bothering.

            Since you charitably let me have the last word, I’ll end this discussion by pointing out that you have absolutely zero proof or evidence that any of those Chinese regions unfairly gamed the PISA system. The fact that Shanghai and Hong Kong do not constitute all of China is irrelevant because they weren’t WEREN’T LISTED as China; they were listed as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Internal PISA discussion (I believe from the 2009 round) makes it clear that other Chinese regions WERE tested, and that they compared VERY favorably to Shanghai. We’ll see soon enough in 2015 when China finally participates on the national level (though, I guess that won’t prove anything since you’ll still insist that China is cheating the system, as if cheating is something that only happens in China [which according to you includes Taiwan and Singapore]). 呵呵

  • death_by_ivory

    With elementary math education in the USA as it is now,for sure over here 0% would know it.
    My daughter’ school teaching them multiplication since October.In 4th grade!!!

  • o0ohahao0o

    I’m totally failing my numerical analysis class right now, but this thread makes me feel much better about myself 🙂

  • FYIADragoon

    They pretty clearly denoted that they were using the common use division simple, so there shouldn’t have been any confusion if the recruits had any real attention to detail and/or critical thinking ability.

  • Barack Obama

    9-3÷1/3+1

    -3÷1/3 is ambiguous

    it can be read as either (-3/1)/3 Or -3/(1/3)

    this is just a badly written problem.

    • Tova Rischi

      The line in the fraction doesn’t stand for anything except division; the dots in ÷ represent placeholders for the numbers around the line, it IS a division sign of the same sort. *They* forgot parentheses, otherwise the rules with this kind of writing and PEMDAS (helpfully remembered with the mnemonic “please excuse my dope ass swag”) dictates that you divide 3 by one first, then you divide that by three.

      Of course, this could all have been avoided with reverse polish notation: 3 , 1/3 regardless of notation , ÷ , 9 , – , 1 , + .

  • The John

    This problem + (a sledge hammer) = a broken computer

  • elizabeth

    There is too much reliance on technology. People not only do not need to think much these days, they also do not bother to think much because of the speed they are accustomed to in many things technological.

    Even without the explanation that 1/3 is one-third, the test takers should be able to question why there is a difference in the two ‘division’ signs and conclude that the second is one-third. They probably just didn’t bother to figure that out.

    So, not it’s necessarily a question of intelligence.

  • Morning

    Well I actually got it wrong >. “(where 1/3 represents one third)?” why is there a question mark there ?

    The only case I will argue is that questions like the one above CAN NOT test the aptitude of our math skills ! But rather personal reasonings and a bit of luck. Two equally supreme mathematicians can get the problem wrong or right.

    I hate to say it but the question maker is an not qualified to give questions.

    If I want 1 as the answer I would of given the question like this:

    9-3÷(1/3)+1=
    This will give approximately the answer 1, if your do the math correctly.
    ” Hey question maker you FORGOT the Parenthesis”

    If I want 9 as the answer, I would of given a question like this:

    9-(3÷1)÷3)+1=9

    Because this question is extremely vague, I believe answer should be either 9 or 1. But then again I could be wrong and susceptible to [email protected]@.

    • Kamui04

      The answer is 1 if you remember some basic math rules. You solve multiplications/divisions first before additions/substractions, even without parenthesis. Also the question as far as the article mentions, it says to take 1/3 as “one third”.

      • Morning

        Hi there I just saw the post 3 days later :3. Well I didn’t forget my basic math operations. If you look deeper in than PEMDAS. There is an underlying rule: do all problems from Left to Right.

        If you contemplate on the essence of division, you cannot tell me a / gets priority over ÷. Reason being / and ÷ are the same when you look at the order of operations. To my knowledge they both signify division because 1/3=1÷ 3. Therefore I had to go with the underlying rule “from Left to Right.”

        The question above is simply unintuitive, it tests you nothing regarding math. Like I said if you wanted to get 1 as the answer either put a () or use 0.33 and list a requirement for rounding. If not people can argue all day on the answer is 9 because there is no way to distinguish the priority between / and ÷. But there is a rule of working from Left to Right.

        Also “(where 1/3 represents one third)?” I saw that as a question, not a statement to the question because there is a question mark… I didn’t quite understand what the writer meant.

  • TheMerryGoRoundOfLife

    PEMDAS!

  • Kiwi

    lol I thought 9

    oh wellz

  • KaiHarate

    1 is actually the wrong answer. haha

    rules of math dictates that it is 9 – (3 divided by 1/3) + 1. so… 9-(1)+1.

    9.

    you always do multiplication and division first and then do addition and subtraction in a complex equation.

    use google calculator and input 9-3÷1/3+1 to verify the answer is 9.

  • HaakonKL

    And this is why filthy infix mathematics will always be inferior to superior prefix and postfix notations:
    behold the glory!

    Infix: 9-3÷1/3 +1
    Parenthified: (9- (3 / (1/3))) + 1
    Prefix: + – 9 ÷ 3 1/3 1
    Parenthified (It’s just like functions ala “f(x) = 2x”!:
    +(-(9 ÷(9 1/3)) 1)

    now let’s work it out, shall we?
    Start from inside and work our way out:
    +(-(9 ÷(9 1/3)) 1) =

    +(-(9 9) 1) =

    +(0 1) =

    1
    So much easier than normal shitty infix arithmetic. Just start from the inside and work your way out, no order of operators required. You don’t even strictly need the parens, but they make it more readable.

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