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Basic maths test stumps millions of adults

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 03, 2014

Thousands of adults find basic maths difficult, with many admitting to not paying attention at school

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Basic maths leaves millions of adults stumped, with 40 per cent finding their child's homework too hard.  

The results come after chancellor George Osbourne dodged a question from a seven-year-old boy asking him the answer to 7x8.

But almost half of the 2,000 questioned admitted their younger selves saw maths as a 'waste of time' because they felt it wasn't something they would use in the future.

It also emerged four in ten find it difficult to keep up with their child's education and help them with their homework.

Rahim Hirji, CEO of tuition firm Maths Doctor, which commissioned the survey, said: ''We shouldn't expect everyone to be experts when it comes to maths, but it's worrying to see so many adults who struggle with even the most basic of maths questions.

''But it's an even bigger concern to see that a large number view learning maths as a waste of time altogether.''Despite what many may think growing up, maths is a vital life skill, whether it's budgeting for a family holiday or simply working out your share of a restaurant bill.

''What's even more worrying is that this aversion to maths is being passed down from parents to their children and this is something we need to combat.''

The study of 2,000 adults found one in five considers themselves as 'bad at maths', with 42 per cent admitting they often struggle with even basic sums.

Long division was identified as the area of maths most likely to leave adults scratching their heads, followed by angles, square and prime numbers, and fractions.

Almost one in ten didn't know 42 is what you get when you multiply 6 by 7, while another nine per cent also failed to name 96 as the answer to 8x12.

Fourteen per cent also had no idea 25 per cent of 240 is 60, while 15 per cent were unaware that a foot is equal to 12 inches.

Less than half were able to identify 61 as a prime number and just six in ten knew 49 is a square number.

It also emerged from the study that almost three quarters feel they could do with improving their maths skills, with six in ten admitting they wish they tried harder, or paid more attention while they were younger.

Although 43 per cent of people said they felt learning maths was a waste of time, more than one in four admit their lack of knowledge has caused them problems in everyday life.

Many said their poor maths skills had left them struggling to work out the cost of something due to exchange rates when abroad while others have given someone the wrong money or change. Others have struggled to work out cooking measurements or been caught out with interest rates and fees on loans or credit cards.

MATHS QUIZ Answers below

1. What is 6 x 7? a) 36 b) 40 c) 42 d) 49

9 per cent got it wrong

2. What is 8 x 12? a) 78 b) 82 c) 96 d) 108

9 per cent wrong

3. What is 25% of 240? a) 43 b) 60 c) 73 d) 80

14 per cent wrong

4. If you had 126 sweets and had to share them equally between seven people, how many sweets would each person have? a) 4 b) 8 c) 12 d) 18

19 per cent wrong

5. Which of the following is a prime number? a) 42 b) 61 c) 75 d) 99

53 per cent wrong

6. Which of the following is a square number? a) 13 b) 26 c) 49 d) 55

41 per cent wrong

7. How many inches are there in a foot? a) 6 b) 9 c)12 d)16

14 per cent wrong

Answers: Question 1, 42; Question 2, 96; Question 3, 60; Question 4, 18; Question 5, 61; Question 6, 49; Question 7, 12. 

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