Home News Maths question splits internet as nobody can agree on the correct answer

Maths question splits internet as nobody can agree on the correct answer

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The tweet has racked up nearly 20,000 retweets – and thousands of likes too.

Another said: “You do not need any acronyms to evaluate 8 ÷ 2(2+2), the result is the same whether you do the + first or the ÷ first.

“Just follow these conventions: 1. Do the parenthesis, 2. Do from Left to Right. The correct result is then 4 X 4 = 16. No memorization of acronyms.”

And another wrote: “The correct answer is 16. When the problem is at 8/2(4), You have to calculate from left to right because multiplication and division have the same precedence. So 8/2 first and then 4(4)=16. Just remember the left to right rule, which is a rule a lot of people forget.”

Feeling confused? We asked the Senior Education Consultant at virtual tutoring company Maths-Whizz why this seemingly simple sum is dividing social media.

It turns out it’s a question of where you’re from rather than whether you can work it out or not, explains Fiona Goddard.

While the BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction) method is commonly taught here in the UK, in America many use the PEMDAS method (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction).

She said: “It boils down to us all having to agree to play by the same rules governing ‘the order of operations, as in this calculation, we are faced with several mathematical operations to perform — to evaluate expressions in brackets, carry out multiplications or divisions, or do additions or subtractions — the order in which we do them can make a huge difference.

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