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The PSLE Math problem that got everyone calculating – and asking

Why do Helen and Ivan have so much change when everyone's gone cashless?

We are officially in PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) Season, which started on Thursday (Sep 30) and will end on Wednesday.

Parents of 12-year-olds who sat for Friday's two Math papers would, by now, be very familiar – and frustrated – with the difficulty of the questions, which apparently left many kids crying, begging for more time, tossing desks out of frustration and vomiting, according to social media posts.

(Screen grab: Facebook)

One question, in particular, has been making its way to parents, tutors and teachers through chat groups and social media.

To those blissfully oblivious to the cut-throat world of PSLE, here’s the infamous two-part Math problem (or at least the version that has been going around) to catch you up:

Helen and Ivan had the same number of coins. Helen had a number of 50-cent coins, and 64 20-cent coins. These coins had a mass of 1.134kg. Ivan had a number of 50-cent coins and 104 20-cent coins.

1) Who has more money in coins and by how much?

2) Given that each 50-cent coin is 2.7g more heavier than a 20-cent coin, what is the mass of Ivan's coins in kilograms?

Never mind how much money Helen and Ivan each has. Why in the world do they have over 1kg of change presumably in their pockets? Imagine the hassle of emptying them before doing laundry.

Still, we're glad no 5-cent coins were hypothetically involved. Nobody likes that denomination, not even in real life.

On the other side of the coin, some Redditors aren't sure how grammatically sound the question is, especially the "more heavier" bit in the second parter.

(Screen grab: Reddit)

Meanwhile, it hasn’t stopped some enterprising parties from trying to solve the coin situation for Helen and Ivan, including throwing in some sweet deals for your PSLE trooper.

You could say it was the currency conundrum that launched a thousand memes. Okay, maybe not a thousand but enough for you and your kid to de-stress for a while.

So don't you and your little one worry about Helen and Ivan, and their coins. Besides, there's always PayNow.

Source: CNA/bk