People Are Disagreeing About the Actual Answer to This Math Problem

Math has never really been our strong suit—and after seeing this new viral math problem, we know for certain that we never want to see any kind of equation again

Though it’s pretty confusing, at first glance, the math problem looks pretty simple. There’s some division, some adding, and voila—you get your answer!

Except…many people who’ve seen this math problem have completely different answers. And the craziest part? They all have pretty valid reasons for getting to all of those different answers.

It seems that most people who’ve come across the equation think the answer is either 1 or 16—two pretty different answers. And again, they can argue why their answer is correct until they’re blue in the face. Amid the Twitter arguments, people have explained their reasonings for getting their answer—most of which are hard to argue about.

So which one is right?

Let’s start with the reason everyone is getting different answers. Some people learned how to solve equations like this using the PEMDAS method—meaning the order of solving the equation is Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.

However, there’s also something called the “BODMAS” method—making the order you solve it Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.

So! The method you use—which are both correct—will determine your answer.

When you use PEMDAS, the answer is 1: multiplication and division take equal priority—so you calculate whichever one comes first, from left to right. The same goes for addition and subtraction. However, when you use BODMAS, the answer is 16.

So what does that mean? It means that BOTH answers are correct.

Ah, the joys of math!

What do you think of having two right answers for one math problem? What answer did you get when you tried to solve the problem? Do you agree that both 1 and 16 are correct—or do you think there should just be one answer? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

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