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Are you one of the 40% with number trouble?

Take our quick quiz and see if you’re one of the two in five who has trouble solving basic maths problems.

Image: Rainer Ebert via Flickr

It was reported yesterday that a new study by the National Adult Literary Agency found 40% of Irish adults – that’s two in five – have difficulties solving some basic primary school maths problems.

Let’s see just how many of our readers have such problems. Take our quick quiz and see if you’re one of the adults with trouble performing basic calculations.

Q1. You’re in a restaurant and your bill comes to €180. There’s no service charge included, and the custom is to add 10% to the price of your bill. But you don’t want to leave coins, and don’t want to cut the tip to less than 10% – so much do you leave on the table as you leave?

Q2. You’re in a supermarket and there’s a few offers on biscuits. You can get 3 packets of Jaffa Cakes for €5, or two twin packs for €5.99. Which is the better value?

Q3. What is half of a half of a half?


Hello, Mrs Murphy, with your score of geese.
“I haven’t a score,” says she:
“If I had twice as much, and half as much,
then I’d have a score,” says she.

How many geese does Mrs Murphy have?

Q5. Which is bigger: five-dozen and ten, or ten-dozen and five?

OK. When you’ve got your answers, hit Control + A to reveal the answers below.

Q1. 10% of €180 is €18, so if you wanted to add 10% to your bill, it would be €180 + €18 = €198. If you don’t want to deal with coins, and don’t want to round down your answer, you would leave €200 on the table.

Q2. Three packets of biscuits at €5 each mean that each packet costs €1.67. Two twin packs mean you could buy 4 packets for €5.99, which works out at about €1.50 each. Therefore it’s cheaper to buy the two twin packs.

Q3. Half of a half is a quarter. Half of a quarter is one-eighth.

Q4. Mrs Murphy says that if she had twice as many geese, and then you added half as many as she currently had, she would have a score (20). You can state this, in algebra, as 2x + 0.5x = 20. Therefore 2.5x = 20, and x = 8. Mrs Murphy has 8 geese.

Q5. Five dozens is equal to 5 times 12, or 60. 60 + 10 = 70. Ten dozens is 10 times 12, or 120. 120 + 5 = 125. Therefore, ten-dozen and five is bigger.

Now – our poll is anonymous, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Be honest: how many of the five questions did you get right?

Poll Results:

5/5 - I can do numbers, me. (22)
4/5 - I'm not bad, but I really don't care about how many geese Mrs Murphy has. (20)
3/5 - I don't tip. (2)
2/5 - Half of a half of a half of my brain can't figure out fractions. (1)
1/5 - I hate biscuits. And tipping. (1)
0/5 - I hate biscuits. And tipping. And fractions. And all numbers. Leave me alone while I go off to tend my eight geese. (1)

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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