Can You Solve the Math Problem for Singapore School Kids that Went Viral?


Singapore usually comes top, or nearly top, of the international rankings in primary maths performance.

And when you read this question – you can see why. It’s an excellent logical puzzle, which will stump most adults.

To clear up any ambiguity, Cheryl tells Albert the month in which her birthday falls, and she tells Bernard the day’s number.

In other words, Albert is told either May, June, July or August. Bernard is told either 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19.

The question was posted by Singapore TV presented Kenneth Kong on his Facebook page this weekend and has gone round the world.

He wrote: “This question causes a debate with my wife .... and its a P5 question.” I’m assuming that means primary Year 5. 

Can you do it? Are you smarter than a Singaporean ten-year-old?

Go on, give it a try. 

(If no one gets the right answer - and shows their workings! - I’ll post it later).

My latest book Alex Through the Looking-Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life is just out in paperback.

If you want to be kept in touch with this blog I’m on TwitterFacebook and Google+.

UPDATE: It now appears that the question was not intended for year 5 primary schoolkids but in fact for 14/15-year olds. According to Singapore news agency the question was part of a Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad test paper, which is aimed at the best 40 per cent of students. In any case, Singapore is also always top, or nearly top, internationally for secondary maths also. So, I rephrase the question: are you smarter than a Singaporean 14-year-old?

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.