If you suffer from mathematical anxiety, which is basically like a math-induced phobia, you may want to take a deep breath before you try to solve this problem. The seemingly simple equation below has managed to stump people left and right and social media users are divided over what the correct answer happens to be. Take a moment to work through it yourself and see what answer you come up with:

6 ÷ 2(1+2) =

The vast majority of people end up with an answer of either 1 or 9. Some even think it is 0, 3, or even 6, but if you came up with any of those three numbers, you’re wrong and way off! However, the reason why 9 and 1 are given as the main answers for this problem comes down to how people were taught to do math. However, in the end only one answer can be correct and if you came up with 9 then congratulations, you solved it!

So why has this equation caused so much confusion that its managed to go viral!? According to Presh Talwalkar, the man behind the YouTube channel MindYourDecisions which posted the explanation, there is an ‘old’ way and a ‘new’ way to approach the problem. Depending on which method you use, you will end up with either 1 doing it the old way, or 9 doing it the modern way. Check out his video for a much more thorough and complete explanation of each step and see if you agree with what’s being asserted. Despite the comprehensive run through, it looks like a lot of people are still confused and arguing over what the correct answer is in the comments!

If you completely botched the answer or failed to come up with the correct solution, don’t be too hard on yourself. Forgetting how to do math problems like this one is normal and inevitable. Other than simple addition and subtraction, most of us don’t do any type of complex math once we’re finished with school. If and when we do need to solve something above our abilities, we use a calculator or simply Google the answer. Between changes in the way math curriculum is taught, modern technology, and the passage of time, our math abilities tend to decrease and fade away.

Whatever the case may be, it’s fascinating and quite interesting how one equation can end up causing such a stir. People are really passionate about what they think is the correct answer and way to go about solving this equation. It just goes to show that even what we view as simple math isn’t as straight forward and predictable as we often assume it to be. Check out the video and see what you think!

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