This “Year 2” maths question aimed at seven-year-olds is confusing adults

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.”