Julie Hambleton
July 23, 2023 ·  2 min read

# Very few people can solve this math problem without using a calculator

Since childhood, we’ve always loved a good brain teaser. We grew up reading Where’s Waldo? books and putting together puzzles. It’s hard to resist a good riddle, challenging crossword, or math problem.

Now using the internet, brain games, riddles, puzzles, and optical illusions are spread around the world much faster. They cause frustration, confusion, and triumph in every household or friend group they make it into. The latest of these is a seemingly simple math problem that’s stumping even self-proclaimed math aficionados.

## Can you solve this math problem without a calculator?

Let’s be honest: Math isn’t many of our strong suits. Anytime we need to do some quick math, be it calculating a tip or how many pounds your 50-kg baggage allowance is at the airport, you have to whip out my phone-calculator.

For many of us, it has been years since we have thought about the rules of mental math. See if you can figure out the answer to the equation below. The answer is below, but don’t peek until you’ve tried!

104

## Remember what you learned in fifth grade math

If you didn’t get the correct answer, you’re not alone. As already mentioned, clearly many of us have forgotten the rules of basic math.

It’s time to think way back to grade school. What rules did your teacher give you in regards to the order in which equations like this are completed? (Hint: there’s an acronym that may help you out!) Use that and go try again.

## The Order of Operations for solving math equations

Still struggling? Don’t forget the acronym for the Order of OperationsBEDMAS (or PEMDAS or BODMAS – depending on where in the world you are from).

P – parentheses
E – exponents
– multiplication
D – division
S – subtraction

B – brackets
E – exponents
D – division
M – multiplication