Chinese math exam question has the internet completely puzzled — and we can see why @staronline/Twitter

It’s a nightmare of a question for anyone who dreads math.

At least one test in China has everyone scratching their heads after seemingly asking students to solve a problem but clearly not giving them enough information, reports the BBC.

“If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats onboard, how old is the ship’s captain?” read a confusing question, which was intended for 11-year-olds in the fifth grade.

People had theories about the answer.

Others got sidetracked by a discussion on the weight of the theoretical ship’s imaginary cargo.

At least one person suggested that it was less a math question and more of a critical thinking test.

Others suggested that knowledge of Chinese boating licenses was needed for the question.

According to the Shunqing Education Department, the question makes perfect sense for a few reasons listed above. As explained, the question was designed to “examine … critical awareness and an ability to think independently.”


“Some surveys show that primary school students in our country lack a sense of critical awareness in regard to mathematics,” it continued. Questions like this “enable students to challenge boundaries and think out of the box.”

(H/T Twitter)

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