# Many people get it wrong: Can you solve this tricky math problem?

|When it comes to math, people tend to have a love-hate relationship. Some find it exciting, while others may have nightmares about their school days filled with equations, formulas, and tricky problems. Today, we’ll delve into a math problem that might appear simple but is, in fact, a classic challenge for many. This puzzle has been circulating online and getting people scratching their heads. Are you up for the challenge?

### The Math Problem Challenge for Middle Schoolers

We often assume that simple math problems are, well, simple. But many of us tend to get them wrong because we forget the basic rules we learned in middle school. The problem we’re about to tackle will test your understanding of the order of operations, a fundamental principle that determines how calculations are performed in mathematics. Here’s your challenge:

**Can you solve this math problem without using a calculator?**

Many people mistakenly approach this problem, but if you remember your math rules from school, you’ll ace it. So, take a moment, brush up on those old math lessons, and let’s see if you can solve it.

### Why Math Puzzles Like This Are Fun

Mathematical puzzles, like crosswords or sudoku, are excellent brain exercises. They engage different parts of your brain, forcing you to recall and apply what you’ve learned. In fact, puzzles like these can even help keep your mind sharp as you age. Math challenges, in particular, are a great way to stretch your problem-solving skills and improve cognitive function.

This specific type of math problem isn’t just about numbers; it’s about understanding and applying the proper steps to solve it. So, before we dive into the solution, let’s go over some important concepts that will help you get the right answer.

### The Order of Operations: A Quick Refresher

If you’ve forgotten how to approach a math problem, don’t worry—you’re not alone. The key to solving most mathematical puzzles is understanding the order of operations. Do you remember the acronym PEMDAS? It stands for:

**P**arentheses**E**xponents**M**ultiplication**D**ivision**A**ddition**S**ubtraction

This order tells you the sequence in which to solve different parts of a mathematical expression. The first step is to handle anything inside parentheses, then move on to exponents, followed by multiplication or division, and finally, addition or subtraction.

The mistake that many people make is forgetting that multiplication and division should be done before addition and subtraction. This is crucial because getting the order wrong leads to an incorrect answer. Now that you’ve got this refresher in mind, let’s apply it to the problem at hand.

### The Tricky Math Problem

Here’s the problem you need to solve:

**3 + 3 × 3 – 3 + 3**

At first glance, it might seem straightforward. You might be tempted to add all the numbers in the sequence, but if you do that, you’ll get the wrong answer. The correct way to approach this is by following the order of operations. Let’s break it down step by step.

### Step-by-Step Solution: Understanding the Process

**Identify the multiplication**: According to PEMDAS, multiplication should come before addition or subtraction. So, in this case, you need to perform the multiplication first.- 3 × 3 = 9

**Rewrite the problem**: After solving the multiplication, the expression becomes simpler:- 3 + 9 – 3 + 3

**Perform the addition and subtraction from left to right**: Now, handle the remaining operations, going from left to right.- 3 + 9 = 12
- 12 – 3 = 9
- 9 + 3 = 12

The correct answer to the problem is **12**.

### Common Mistakes and Why People Get It Wrong

Many people stumble on this problem because they forget the order of operations. Some might think that you should simply perform each operation as it appears from left to right, but that’s not how it works in math. Failing to prioritize multiplication over addition is a common error that leads to incorrect results.

Some may also rush through the problem, making quick assumptions without properly applying the rules. It’s always a good idea to take your time and follow each step carefully when solving math problems.

### Why Understanding the Basics Is Important

This problem may seem trivial, but it serves as a great reminder of why understanding math fundamentals is crucial. Whether you’re doing your taxes, calculating your budget, or helping a child with homework, knowing how to correctly apply the order of operations can save you from making costly mistakes. Math is a part of our daily lives, and refreshing your skills with puzzles like these can help sharpen your mind and keep you on top of things.

### Conclusion: Did You Get the Right Answer?

If you picked the number 12, congratulations! You’ve successfully solved the problem by applying the correct order of operations. If you got a different answer, don’t worry. The important thing is to learn from the mistake and remember the order of operations for next time.

Math puzzles like this one are not only fun but also a fantastic way to exercise your brain. So, the next time you come across a tricky problem like this, take your time, think it through, and apply the right rules. Who knew middle school math could be this engaging?

**Did you solve it correctly?** Let us know in the comments and share this puzzle with your friends! It’s a great way to challenge them and see who remembers their math lessons best.