# Fall in math skills. 40% of Japanese engineers struggle with this simple puzzle

1:23 PM EST, December 28, 2023

Studies indicate that a mere 60 percent of individuals in their twenties in Japan can solve the math puzzle depicted in the graphic above. Interestingly, in the 80s, a far more impressive 90 percent could crack it. However, times have changed, and computations now pose a significant challenge for many.

Keep in mind, using a calculator may not prove very helpful in this instance.

## Is it as easy as pie or a nightmare for mathematicians?

The equation may seem incredibly straightforward at a first glance.

## 9 - 3 ÷ 1/3 + 1 = ?

Take a moment to find the correct answer. If you wish, you can use a calculator. Do remember the steps of mathematical operations though, as it might be incredibly handy!

Once you've taken your time, were you able to find the correct result?

We hope you haven't overlooked a specific detail. The above notation does indeed trip up some individuals.

Starting with division (3 ÷ 1 ÷ 3), you would get 1. If you further subtract it from 9 and add 1, you would end up with 9. Unfortunately, this answer is off the mark.

## The correct answer explained

Either a scientific calculator with fraction notation or simply **knowing how to divide by a fraction** can be helpful.

Sadly, many people fail to remember the crucial mathematical principle that **division by a fraction is the equivalent of multiplication by its reciprocal.** This critical knowledge from maths lessons often slips people's minds.

Thus, 3 ÷ (1/3) equates to 3 x 3, which gives us 9. **Consequently, the correct answer to this equation is 9 - 9 + 1 = 1.**

Remember, entering this equation with parentheses in the calculator will also generate the correct solution.