## Tuesday, July 25, 2017

### Primary school questions so difficult you will question your own intelligence

Source Website: http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/primary-school-questions-so-difficult-you-will-question-your-own-intelligence
By Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne, akosasi@sph.com.sg, on 24 July 2017

PHOTO: At first glance the most obvious and logical solution would be "excited", the letter choices that are given to students are not able to form that word.
Posted by Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne on 24 July 2017

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-n8qGi59Cr-0/WXcGOzediGI/AAAAAAAAnh8/Kme4OonDdU0A2UHkB38RWzJ5IaYv0bRnACLcBGAs/s1600/Questions1.jpg
http://www.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/styles/640x360/public/original_images/Jul2017/Questions1.jpg?itok=Woes99mM
http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/primary-school-questions-so-difficult-you-will-question-your-own-intelligence

If you have been on any form of social media lately, you would have heard about the (in)famous unscramble-the-letters question from Maris Stella High School (Primary).

While at first glance the most obvious and logical solution would be "excited", the letter choices that are given to students are not able to form that word.

Oh, did I mention that the question is for Primary 1 students?

So what is the solution? Netizens have offered their own thoughts on what could be the potential answer.

PHOTO: Screen grab on comments about Mothership.sg's public post by Netizens. Anagram means a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another, such as spar, formed from rasp (from Google dictionary).
Posted by Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne on 24 July 2017

The answer is nothing as exciting as those above, unfortunately.

The principal of Maris Stella told Mothership that "the original question had been altogether different, and the school had forgotten to amend the letters in the boxes in the process of changing it."

The correct answer is "excited", as predicted by many.

This was not the first time that a primary school exam question became viral on the internet.

Below is a list of other (in)famous school questions that got us stumped.

You might wonder how one survived primary school back then.

1. Cheryl's birthday [2], [2i]
Roughly two years ago, Singaporeans were taken by surprise when Cheryl gave two boys a difficult riddle to solve when asked about her birthday.

Who is this Cheryl?

A made-up character in this mind-boogling question intended for Primary 5 students.

PHOTO: Here’s a supposedly P5 logic question going viral on Facebook that will melt your brain [2]
Posted by Jonathan Lim on 12 April 2015
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ZsnMS9hk6do/VStHFUGPHeI/AAAAAAAAfzY/xyMdPn1_zLw/s1600/trick-question.jpg
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/search?q=P5+Maths+question+-+When+is+Cheryl%27s+birthday%3F

Netizens were not able to guess her birthday and instead launched an attack on Cheryl's character.

What is the solution then?

According to The Straits Times, the answer is July 16.

And oh, it is not actually meant for Primary 5 students.

Mr Henry Ong, founder of Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiads, told The Straits Times that  it was meant for Secondary 3 students who took part in the Math Olympiad that year.

This question got so famous that it was covered by The Guardian, amongst many others foreign publications.

Heck, even CNN has a video explaining the solution.

For me, if you were to hide your birthday date behind a series of convoluting hints, rest assured that you can forget about me remembering the date.

PHOTO: Next Level Cheryl Birthday Question [2i]
Submitted by iiyamabto on 16 April 2015

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HZaQoYJYbhs/VTNW00gZOdI/AAAAAAAAf1M/Qf6qOrAo_MQ/s1600/11130169_10206590247145210_4897581237217758880_n.jpg
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/s480x480/11130169_10206590247145210_4897581237217758880_n.jpg?oh=e6b23eca97794ecc386183d43b39126b&oe=55AB94DB&__gda__=1440815908_14694cbb0af7ed62072540e2f60b1671
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/search?q=+Cheryl%27s+birthday

PHOTO: Part 2: What's Cheryl's age?
PS: Dr Yeo has clarified that the second line in the puzzle should read: “Cheryl: I have two younger brothers.
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore with Un Cle Chai
By Lee Min Kok, mklee@sph.com.sg, The Straits Times, Saturday, 16 May 2015
http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/cheryls-birthday-poser-back-part-2-cheryls-age
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2015/05/cheryls-birthday-poser-is-back-with.html

2. Weight of coins [3]
Do you often bring a weighing scale to examination halls for your maths exam?

PHOTO: DIFFICULT TO ANSWER? A reader sent in this photo to Shin Min Daily News. A PSLE maths question on the weight of eight $1 Singapore coins has upset some parents, who believe that it is not related to the subject and that it must have baffled pupils sitting the exam. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QaT1OWzBIeo/VhXVu-LPxeI/AAAAAAAAhyk/S-ONAHdTZO8/s1600/Weight%2Bof%2Beight%2B%25241%2BSingapore%2Bcoins.jpg My Paper, Wednesday, October 07, 2015, Page A1, Top Stories http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/search?q=Weight+of+coins How heavy are eight$1 Singapore coins? Six grams, 60g, 600g or 6kg?

That was the question that appeared in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) mathematics paper on 2015.

Right off the bat, you can eliminate 6kg and 6g.

But between 61g and 600g? Those sound kinda close.

Naturally, some parents get upset because they feel that the students are tested unfairly.

PHOTO: Screen grab on comments about PSLE maths question on the weight of eight $1 Singapore coins Photo: Facebook Posted by Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne on 24 July 2017 https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ML5K4gbNVXc/WXcGNWgXR4I/AAAAAAAAnhk/1SBCd31bPyEeOg7p20AttqiNQnx3BBTNwCLcBGAs/s1600/18301_1500882195.jpg http://www.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/inline/images/18301_1500882195.jpg http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/primary-school-questions-so-difficult-you-will-question-your-own-intelligence A Facebook user by the name of Gordon Lim came forward with his opinions on the matter. PHOTO: Screen grab on comments about PSLE maths question on the weight of eight$1 Singapore coins
Posted by Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne on 24 July 2017

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ReuqT15ONhA/WXcGNajmOiI/AAAAAAAAnho/SPk0vVFj_qUEduqy_7JXu7MIId4OQcMqACLcBGAs/s1600/18301_1500882240.jpg
http://www.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/inline/images/18301_1500882240.jpg
http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/primary-school-questions-so-difficult-you-will-question-your-own-intelligence

I chose 600g when I first saw this question.

I lack common sense after all.

3. The bonus question
It is an understanding that a bonus question, intended for extra marks, will naturally be harder.

But this next one takes the cake. It is NOT a piece of cake.

PHOTO: I never have questions this hard in my whole academic life.
The circular puzzle, said to be a bonus Primary 1 exam question, is worth four marks [4]
Photo: Hardware Zone Forum
Posted by Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne on 24 July 2017
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7UzbjUQGB7Q/WXcGNaKYKSI/AAAAAAAAnhs/c_Je76zzNswzcld6RLD5npEwnJrvuh0hgCLcBGAs/s1600/18301_1500883049.jpg
http://www.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/inline/images/18301_1500883049.jpg
http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/primary-school-questions-so-difficult-you-will-question-your-own-intelligence

According to The Straits Times,  the question first appeared on forums and quickly went viral.

It did not say where the question came from though, only claiming that it is purportedly for Primary 1 students.

Kids sure have it tough these days.

A similar puzzle had been found on this blog, accompanied by a solution.

PHOTO: Called the Petite Circle, Mr Burgin's puzzle provided more information on how to solve it, and contains a detailed solution.
Picture posted by The Straits Times on 15 May 2017, 2:38 pm SGT
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k5xU8_PNbLg/WXcGPKpLvoI/AAAAAAAAniA/nhJEqnhFSF8Vaa8DUuvftlmC0CD_N4mJwCLcBGAs/s1600/question2.jpg
http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/default/files/articles/2017/05/15/question2.jpg
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/purported-primary-1-bonus-question-confuses-the-internet

A check by The Straits Times found that a near-identical puzzle had appeared previously on the blog of Gordon Burgin, who claims to be an author of maths puzzles and logic problems.

However, the bottom-left number in Mr Burgin's puzzle is 20 instead of 2. [4]

On of the solutions: [4]
Posted by Dorian on 23 May 2017 at 10:46 pm

"I was interested in how other people solved it… here is my way a bit of deduction and luck.
I labeled all the empty circles as N,E,S,W.
Then I made a simple equation
3+N+E=10
3+E+S=12
3+S+W=20
3+W+N=18

Now I realized that north, west and south had to be pretty large
N+E=7
E+S=9
S+W=17
W+N=15

So even though I did not follow the instructions I solved for E to equal 0 after all we are only playing with additions.
So I got
N=7
E=0
S=9
W=8

Afterwards realizing the diagram works with E=0, I changed it to E=1 and had to subtract from N and S and add 1 to W.
So I got
N=6
E=1
S=8
W=9

And that’s the way I solved it… a bit of luck…
"

So education is getting more and more difficult, that is not surprising. My only worry is that one day I will not be able to help my children with their homework, and they will began questioning my intelligence as an adult.

Lordy.
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.
.
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.
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We are children and You are adults. So what is your answer? How many times did you have to try? How long did you take to solve it? You can or can knock?

PHOTO: So what is your answer? How many times did you have to try? How long did you take to solve it?
Picture posted by Photo Source: Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons, The New Paper, published on 23 February 2016

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-t0cdm5vG9xg/VxrtmtfZVrI/AAAAAAAAjqU/N5ORf4KR5PQdsckz2zg20Yh0hRs0k5oTACLcB/s1600/6_Baby_Shutterstock.jpg
http://news.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/styles/w641/public/original_images/Feb2016/6_Baby_Shutterstock.jpg?itok=GJF4DVWR

By Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne, akosasi@sph.com.sg, on 24 July 2017

Reference
[1]  Alvin Kosasi, AsiaOne, Primary school questions so difficult you will question your own intelligence, posted on 24 July 2017. http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/primary-school-questions-so-difficult-you-will-question-your-own-intelligence

[2] Jonathan Lim, P5 Maths question - When is Cheryl's birthday?, posted on 12 April 2015, http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/search?q=P5+Maths+question+-+When+is+Cheryl%27s+birthday%3F
Jonathan Lim on 12 April 2015, http://mothership.sg/2015/04/heres-a-supposedly-p5-logic-question-going-viral-on-facebook-that-will-melt-your-brain/

[2i] iiyamabto, Next Level Cheryl Birthday Question, posted on Sunday, 19 April 2015, http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/search?q=+Cheryl%27s+birthday
Submitted by iiyamabto on 16 April 2015, http://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/32opae/next_level_cheryl_birthday_question/

[3] My Paper, Wednesday, PSLE question weighs heavy on parents' minds, posted on Thursday, 08 October 2015, http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/search?q=Weight+of+coins
My Paper, October 07, 2015, http://mypaper.sg/top-stories/psle-question-weighs-heavy-parents-minds-20151007

[4] The Straits Times, Purported Primary 1 bonus question confuses the Internet, posted on 15 May 2017, 2:38 pm SGT, http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/purported-primary-1-bonus-question-confuses-the-internet

[5] Lee Min Kok, 'Cheryl's birthday' poser is back with Part 2: Cheryl's age, posted on Saturday, 16 May 2015, http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2015/05/cheryls-birthday-poser-is-back-with.html
Lee Min Kok, mklee@sph.com.sg, The Straits Times, Saturday, 16 May 2015, http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/cheryls-birthday-poser-back-part-2-cheryls-age