Primary 5 math question that went viral turns out to be for Sec 3 Math Olympians

Primary 5 math question that went viral turns out to be for Sec 3 Math Olympians

Many people were stumped with this Primary 5 math questions yesterday. Turns out, this was actually designed for the Sec 3 Math Olympiad...

This “Primary 5” maths question that went viral on Facebook yesterday had many people cracking their heads. In fact, some parents expressed their concerns regarding the complexity of the question for kids in P5.

primary 5 math question

This “Primary 5 math question” stirred up hordes of debates and discussions online. (Photo: Facebook)

Turns out, this question was meant for a Math Olympiad contest held on 8 April 2015 for Secondary 3 and 4 students – as clarified by My Henry Ong, founder of the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO), the organiser of the competition.

Students from more than 30 secondary schools in Singapore took part in the competition, where they either signed up voluntarily or were selected by their teachers.

According to the report on The Straits Times, Mr Ong expressed his surprise upon realising that a screenshot of the question had been circulated online, as “students were not allowed to keep their mobile phones on them”.

First time leak

According to Mr Ong, questions that test on logical reasoning are common questions in Math Olympiads. The questions for the Sec 3 and 4 Math Olympiad were set by a team of maths experts, including professors based in Singapore and overseas.

primary 5 math question

This question was originally intended for Sec 3 and 4 students in the 2015 Math Olympiad this month. (Photo: Facebook screencap)

The same set of questions was also given to participants in 14 other countries, including Britain, Malaysia, Brunei and Uzbekistan. Mr Ong said that Cambodia has yet to run the competition, and will do so on 4 May 2015. The leaked question will be replaced.

He said that in his 10 years of organising such competitions, questions have never been leaked; the student who took and circulated the photo online can be disqualified from the competition.

Did you find out the answer to the “Primary 5 math question” that went viral? The solution and reasoning for this is shared on the next page.

See the official solution to the math question, courtesy of Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO) 2015:



Did the official solution to the “P5 math question” make sense? Let us know by taking the poll below:

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Written by

Justina Goh

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