A math problem that first appeared in a test for Singapore's elite high school students has left internet users baffled.
The question first appeared in a test on April 8, organised by the Singapore and Asian School Math Olympiads (SASMO) and involves a girl asking two boys to guess her birthday after providing some clues.
The test, made for 15-16-year old secondary school students, went viral after a local television news presenter posted it on his Facebook page on Saturday.
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In the question, Cheryl gives her friends Albert and Bernard 10 possible dates when they inquired about her birthday, before separately giving each of them further clues.
Those attempting to solve the problem are then asked to use logic to deduce Cheryl's birthday using a short conversation between the two boys about the information given to them.
Internet users around the world were sharing their meticulously detailed answers to the puzzle across social media networks.
Many comments surfaced following the shared post in which many posted about Cheryl.
"Cheryl obviously didn't want Albert and Bernard at her party. Should have taken the hint when Cheryl decided to play this little game," wrote David Leong on Facebook.
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The hashtag #cherylsbirthday also trended on Twitter, while some people created funny memes about the puzzle. "If Math would grow up and solve its own problems, that'd be great," read one such meme.
In a Facebook post late Monday, SASMO provided the full question and a model answer.
The post further clarified earlier erroneous reports that the question was not posed to primary school children, adding that SASMO thought it important to specify the age of the students involved so "Singapore parents will not start to worry so much".
The question was "actually from the secondary 3 and secondary 4 SASMO contests held on April 8, 2015", it said, adding it was "meant to sift out the better students".
Following ongoing debate on the difficulty level of the question, SASMO's executive director Henry Ong on Tuesday afternoon issued another statement.
"We are pleased that this problem has generated so much interest and thinking from the public," Ong said.
"We are not saying this problem is for every student... but if this kind of problem can be used to stretch the better students to sharpen their analytical power, why not?" he added.
Singapore is renowned worldwide for its national maths system, which has been emulated by schools in other developed countries and cities, including New York.
Singaporean pupils are ranked second in the world in mathematics according to the latest student assessment survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, beaten only by their counterparts in Shanghai.
Many took a comical approach to the math problem and shared their views on Twitter.
Cheryl clearly doesn't want any presents #cherylsbirthday— Darryl (@legenDARRY04) April 15, 2015
Hope Cheryl never approaches police questioning in the same way. She'd be shot. #cherylsbirthday— The City Speaker (@thecityspeaker) April 15, 2015
WELL, I KNOW SOMEONE WHO'S NOT GETTING A BIRTHDAY CARD, CHERYL! #cherylsbirthday— Winifred Beecher Howe (@katemccabesays) April 15, 2015
This article originally appeared on Emirate News
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