Seemingly-simple kids' math question is leaving people absolutely stumped

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By James Kay

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Are you ready to test yourself with a math question that is apparently designed for kids?

Look, I know that numbers aren't for everyone and you've either got the ability to figure them out or you don't, but most of us presume we're smarter than a kid, right?

Despite some of us struggling in exams at school, we're still convinced that our ability to ace the test papers has improved even though we've done absolutely no studying since.

Even if numbers aren't your strong suit, telling the time is pretty easy, right? Well, take a peek at the math question below and see how you get on.

Got a splitting headache from trying to understand it yet?

If you're like me, you read the first line and thought that it would be a piece of cake, and then proceeded to stare blankly at the picture for a while.

In case the image isn't making it clear enough, the question is asking you to find the closest time to midnight, and then gives four options of: A) 11:55AM, B) 12:06AM, C) 11:50AM, or D) 12:03AM.

All of them seem close to midnight, but a couple of them are actually hours away - they're all morning times but considering that 12:00AM (midnight) is the earliest in the morning you can possibly get, just count the minutes from there.

If you're still struggling I'll put you out of your misery - the answer is D) 12:03AM.

Going through the answers one by one, 11:55AM is actually 11 hours and 55 minutes away from midnight, and 12:06 AM is 6 minutes away.

For the last two possibilities - 11:50AM is 11 hours and 50 minutes away, whereas 12:03AM is just 3 minutes from midnight, making it the correct answer.

The key here is that the question is not asking you to work out time chronologically, but just wants the time closest in proximity to midnight, meaning that in this case, time can be reversed.

A lot of the confusion stemmed from people not differentiating between AM and PM, but as is typical on the internet, the comments were full of clever people that had to inform everyone else that they had done it.

"The question speaks to proximity and not chronology, so the answer is D," one person wrote, while a second added: "I don't even understand why this is causing confusion. The answer is D! 3 minutes after midnight is the closest time to midnight."

If you struggled and still don't fully understand it - fear not, you aren't alone!

One person thought that the question wanted the answer in chronological order, so said: "The answer is A. 11:55am (is 12 hours, and 5 minutes) away from midnight (12am). B is 23 hours and 54 minutes away, C is 12 hours and 10 minutes away and D is 23 hours and 57 minutes from midnight."

And another just got fed up and decided to confuse things further by saying: "There's a greater chance of catching the train that leaves at midnight if you get to the station at 12:03 am instead of 11:55 am, but being there at 11:55 am would have you waiting less time for the next one. Therefore, choose the time that's best for Y'all"

To clarify - the correct answer is 12:03AM, and I am now going to go and lie down because I have a headache.

Featured image credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty

Seemingly-simple kids' math question is leaving people absolutely stumped

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Are you ready to test yourself with a math question that is apparently designed for kids?

Look, I know that numbers aren't for everyone and you've either got the ability to figure them out or you don't, but most of us presume we're smarter than a kid, right?

Despite some of us struggling in exams at school, we're still convinced that our ability to ace the test papers has improved even though we've done absolutely no studying since.

Even if numbers aren't your strong suit, telling the time is pretty easy, right? Well, take a peek at the math question below and see how you get on.

Got a splitting headache from trying to understand it yet?

If you're like me, you read the first line and thought that it would be a piece of cake, and then proceeded to stare blankly at the picture for a while.

In case the image isn't making it clear enough, the question is asking you to find the closest time to midnight, and then gives four options of: A) 11:55AM, B) 12:06AM, C) 11:50AM, or D) 12:03AM.

All of them seem close to midnight, but a couple of them are actually hours away - they're all morning times but considering that 12:00AM (midnight) is the earliest in the morning you can possibly get, just count the minutes from there.

If you're still struggling I'll put you out of your misery - the answer is D) 12:03AM.

Going through the answers one by one, 11:55AM is actually 11 hours and 55 minutes away from midnight, and 12:06 AM is 6 minutes away.

For the last two possibilities - 11:50AM is 11 hours and 50 minutes away, whereas 12:03AM is just 3 minutes from midnight, making it the correct answer.

The key here is that the question is not asking you to work out time chronologically, but just wants the time closest in proximity to midnight, meaning that in this case, time can be reversed.

A lot of the confusion stemmed from people not differentiating between AM and PM, but as is typical on the internet, the comments were full of clever people that had to inform everyone else that they had done it.

"The question speaks to proximity and not chronology, so the answer is D," one person wrote, while a second added: "I don't even understand why this is causing confusion. The answer is D! 3 minutes after midnight is the closest time to midnight."

If you struggled and still don't fully understand it - fear not, you aren't alone!

One person thought that the question wanted the answer in chronological order, so said: "The answer is A. 11:55am (is 12 hours, and 5 minutes) away from midnight (12am). B is 23 hours and 54 minutes away, C is 12 hours and 10 minutes away and D is 23 hours and 57 minutes from midnight."

And another just got fed up and decided to confuse things further by saying: "There's a greater chance of catching the train that leaves at midnight if you get to the station at 12:03 am instead of 11:55 am, but being there at 11:55 am would have you waiting less time for the next one. Therefore, choose the time that's best for Y'all"

To clarify - the correct answer is 12:03AM, and I am now going to go and lie down because I have a headache.

Featured image credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty