Can you solve this maths question meant for seven-year-olds?

A math question reportedly designed for 7-year-old school children has taken the internet by storm even after baffled parents struggled to solve the difficult problem. The question, from a Year 2 exam paper, challenges pupils to calculate how many passengers are on a train.


The question was posted by mother Louise Bloxham on Twitter, who lives in Bristol, England, reports The Sun. It prompted in a very lengthy debate about what the answer is and what’s the best way to work it out.

The question reads: “There are some people on a train. 19 people get off the train at the first stop. 17 people get on the train. Now there are 63 people on the train. How many people were on the train to begin with?”

After arriving at numerous different answers, the Twitter community determined that there were 65 people on the train to begin with.

Working backwards from, 63, we deduct the 17 new passengers and add again the 19 who got off the train, which leaves with 65, the original number of passengers on the train.

However, some claim that the real answer is 46 and the initial 19 passengers present a misleading red herring.

To confuse matters even further, Twitter user Louise Bloxham later commented, “if you think I the answer is 65 you would be wrong”, stating that the teachers who gave the test, the correct answer is actually 46.

Other answers given on Twitter include 61, 66 and zero; however, it was finally concluded that the correct answer was 65.

After the dust settled, a number of parents expressed resentment that such a complex question was given to 7-year-old children.

“That’s abstract thinking which hasn’t developed in children that age, still at concrete concepts,” one father wrote, according to the Sun.

“Children who can do math but struggle to read have no chance, whatever the answer,” another parent wrote. “Sickening.”


  1. Most idiotic article ever. Techworm should fire this idiot editor. I always wanted to say that, it’s no hidden fact that this editor copy many articles word to word from many sites, but at least leave 9Gag and Unilad for god sake. I need to go to rehab after reading this, you almost killed me, leaving this shit forever.

  2. How do you guys no understand this?? It’s a great question. Think about it, it’s 46 because it’s asking for how many people there originally was. If the people total in the train originally is unknown but 19 get out, you’re subtracting 19 from x total. Then 17 come into the train after the stop. 19-17=2. After that consider this, if 19 were not trchnically originally in the train then 17 come in there is a 2 difference. So 63-19+2 then you get 46. Have to listen carefully to the details and understand that 19 isn’t really apart of the original amount in the train. If that makes sense?

  3. x = total people on the train
    y = remaining people after 19 people get off
    x – 19 = y
    total people on the train X – 19 get off = remaining people on the train Y
    17 people get on the train and end up with 63 people on the train
    17 people + remain people on the train = 63
    17 + y = 63
    y= 63 – 17
    y = 46
    now we know the number that remain on the train after 19 people get off the train
    x – 19 = y
    x – 19 = 46
    => x = 46 + 19
    x = 65
    so the number of people on the train is 65

    In short

    X – 19 = Y
    17 + Y = 63
    Y = 63 – 17
    => Y = 46
    X – 19 = Y
    X – 19 = 46
    X = 46 + 19
    => X = 65

    • ???? Why the hell would you need to over complicate things like that? This is math for 7 year olds. VERY VERY simple, just go 63-17+19 BOOM correct answer!

  4. I don’t get it. Is the point that the majority of Americans are idiots, the next pop of at the mouth spitting random lies, and the minority group sits back and laughs at the rest, withholding the information, laughing?
    Because I didn’t say a word, I just laughed!!! My 19 month old could do this.

  5. I think it has to do with the point of origin, or the perspective. Where is that when you say; “to begin with”. Because technically a train starts his route with 1 person.. The driver.. Or even before that with none.. But technically it cannot start a route without a driver, or the conductor, to check the tickets.. So in retrospect.. The answer could be either 0, 1 or 2, depending your definition of the “beginning”. Then the train arrives at its starting station.. People get on.. Minimum of 2 are already on at this point.. Again.. If this is the “beginning”. If you say the “beginning” is just before 19 people get off, the answer is 65. When you take the moment the 19 got off as the “beginning” then 46 is the correct answer. Or even, to go a step further, you can take any moment on the first stop. Any time within the period the transaction from 19 off, 17 on, creates a reasonable answer. So what is the correct answer.. Depends on who you ask.. And a 7 year old often just does adding and subtracting.. The transaction is 19-17=2. So now 63 + 2 = 65 would be the correct answer for a 7-year old.

      • But most trains are held in a holding area (at least where I come from) and I as the passenger am prohibited from going there, the conductor goes there to then drive it to the first stop for passenger pick up….unless you’re talking about a train that is switching routes (i.e. the central stop in a line of stops is the end of the first route, but the start of the 2nd route as the central stop is a city and is a major stop on multiple routes) in which case it can get even more confusing as to what “the beginning” is. 🙂

  6. 65 65 65
    That’s because the question asked about the initial number so therefore to find that you have to subtract the new 17 from the new 63 and add back the old 19


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