“Hong Kong Elementary School Admissions Test Question #21”

This was the second most popular microblog post of the day on popular social network Sina Weibo at time of translation…

From Sina Weibo:

@微博搞笑排行榜: What takes an elementary school student just seconds to do; takes a high school student several minutes; takes a college student half and hour and up; and takes a Ph.D a lifetime… After I shared this problem with my class and saw so many academic tyrants spend half the day trying to figure it out, I snickered sinisterly inside.


Note: If you want to figure out the answer yourself, avoid reading the translated Chinese netizen comments below.

Click here to jump to the comments section.

Comments from Sina Weibo:


It’s very simple, just took me an entire afternoon.


I looked at the comments after calculating with a pen and paper for over half an hour, and cried.


Those who only found out the answer after looking at the comment, please conscientiously click upvote!


Fuck, look at it upside-down.


I tried various numerical/mathematical sequences, and even used calculus, fuck…


Please call me an elementary school student.


I didn’t understand/couldn’t figure it out, so I came to look at the comments.


The facts prove that I have the potential to be a Ph.D. [晕] I even picked up a pen to do calculations for a bit, tried all four rules of arithmetic [+-*/]…I shed tears after eventually learning the answer.




The official correct answer: L8


Fuck, accidentally picked up my mobile phone upside-down and the answer appeared.


I am a Ph.D. [拜拜]


Can I meekly ask, why is it 87?


87, a car parks into a parking space, so you have to look at it upside-down [from the other direction].


I thought it was one circle, two circles, three circles, four circles. I might be a kindergartener. [可怜]

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  • Mighty曹

    Took me 2 seconds for the answer.
    Hahahaha…. some of the Sina Weibo comments are hilarious.

  • FYIADragoon

    I’m used to parking in a spot like this, so I think I just got lucky. Clever problem though I think it would be easier if it was on an actual test sheet instead of a computer screen.

  • Free Man

    Took less than 5 minutes.

  • mr.wiener

    I had to cheat….

    • Teacher in China

      I just put it on my facebook, and a friend of mine posted the answer within like 30 seconds……I took several minutes looking at it and failed.

  • donscarletti

    87, upside down. Took 3 seconds.

    • Nor Bolbe

      Wow, want a cookie? Welp, back to your “highly skilled” ESL job.

  • bujiebuke

    Super easy. Took me less than 2 hours.

    • theguy126

      Click bait. Did it in two seconds. The “data” about educated people taking longer is probably just to make people feel better.

      It’s also prefaced by the article which, if you have a brain and can use it, should be a dead giveaway that NO ADVANCED MATH is involved… I have to wonder if the people who “tried doing Calculus” even bothered reading the article.

      It’s super obvious, and the answer hits you subconsciously in the face even on the first glance at the picture… Or I’m just 5 years old.

  • ¿uᴉɐldxǝ ǝuoǝɯos uɐƆ ˙ʇᴉ ʇǝƃ ʇ,uop I

    • Mighty曹


      • I shouldn’t have deleted it. Damn…

        • Mighty曹

          Damn clever!

    • Insomnicide


      • took me a while to figure that one out ;)

  • Insomnicide

    I was guessing handicapped parking….

  • The fact is Chinese can’t park correctly….and should not be allowed to drive

    • Caesar

      Can we get the casual racism off this website?

      • all i see is some dude lampooning racism

      • mr.wiener

        Racism not encouraged , but is not against the rules of this site and we get to see plenty from both sides. People will usually call others out on their stupidity. The Fred Fong is tolerated [barely] as is satirical albeit not very funny.

        @Brandon. Funny that you should accuse this site of bias, currently we have a couple of westerners busy saying we tolerate too much racism from asian people.
        I guess we must be doing something right eh?

        • bujiebuke

          “couple of westerners busy saying we tolerate too much racism from asian people”
          – that’s difficult to believe, but I’ll take your word for it. Overall I think you guys are doing a good job moderating.

        • Surfeit

          Aw man, I think the Fong is mad jokes.

        • Dr Sun

          Rock on mods

      • You ever seen Chinese park?

        • Dr Sun

          you ever seen south park?

          • Guest

            ive seen this,

          • Guest

            ive seen this,
            (sh!t, how do I delete one of dem?)

          • Guest

            Ive seen this,

          • Dr Sun

            As you parked there ?

        • Raymond

          There is no Chinese Parks, only Korean Parks.

      • ClausRasmussen

        Better to much racism than too much political correctness

      • donscarletti

        Casual racism is the best kind. The Nazis gave methodical racism a bad image.

      • bujiebuke

        Fred Fong is like the “special” kid in the class that we all tolerate because of his handicaps in life. If he ever stops commenting on this site, then he’s probably dead.

        • Dr Sun


          • Nor Bolbe

            would bang 10/10

      • Nor Bolbe

        Can we get these overly offended morons off of this website? They are really offending me.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Hahahaha this is clever! I had to cheat since I’m at work and didn’t want to get too distracted but I don’t think I would’ve figured it out by myself…

  • YourSupremeCommander

    You cannot answer the question, because there’s no car.

    • Mighty曹

      When there IS a car…

      • mr.wiener

        If you have a car park for 100 standard cars how many cars can this hold in America?

        • Alex Dương

          big cars and SUVs plus Americans like to leave themselves enough room to exit their vehicles.

          You calling us fat?!

          Just kidding. Two people in my apartment complex always double park.

          • Mighty曹

            I like how people in Bangkok leave the parking brakes off when double parked. The driver of the car being blocked can simply push the double parked car out of the way. Smart way to utilize limited space.

          • Alex Dương

            Is Bangkok fairly flat in terms of terrain?

          • Mighty曹

            Bangkok is probably 99.5% flat but that’s how people park their cars in garages at shopping malls and residential complexes.

        • Mighty曹

          I agree with your assessment except for Taiwan, where they cram 1,000 motorbikes/scooters into a 100 cars lot.
          Lots of assholes in America think it looks cool to just zip into a parking space – without straightening or fitting evenly – get out and walk away without even looking to see that the car is occupying two spaces.

          • Dr Sun

            many americans deliberately park over two spaces to protect their F650 or suburban, plus its really hard to get their super sized asses in and out of a single space as they need to swing the door wide open while holding a 9mm glock, a 50 cal auto,their 5 kids and their food stamp book.

          • djemir

            You mean a truck like this :) You have a problem with this guys parking? Go ahead and tell him LOL

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          Same carpark in mainland China: None. The operators are sleeping at their desks and everyone double-parks outside anyway because it is free and closer to the shops. Traffic jam is NOT their problem (until they want to leave, then everyone who’s doing exactly what they did is an asshole).

        • Dr Sun

          LOL :)

  • Dr Sun

    Easy for aussies and Kiwis to answer impossible for northern hemisphere folk.

    • Mighty曹

      Not if it’s placed in front of them in the same manner.

      • Dr Sun

        you mean upside down

  • Brian227

    It’s a Hong Kong test. The correct answer is, “A HONG KONG PARKING SPACE FOR HONG KONG PEOPLE, THE DAMNED LOCUSTS!!!!!!”

  • Stefan

    Very easy, just at it upside down…duh

    • ESL Ninja

      You are fucking amazing. Marry me?

  • BillBo

    I don’t think I’d have ever figured it out. I was just trying different math solutions for a few minutes before it seemed absurd and I gave up :P

  • Joey

    this is the goddamn funniest shit and i have no idea why

    i have bene nlaughing for like 30 minutes now


    • Raymond

      Must be the weed you’re smoking.

  • Brian227

    It’s easy to tell it isn’t a mainland test. They would have used a series of numbers that didn’t include 89.

  • Karze


  • Markus Peg

    As a joke it is great, but, as a test question… bollocks to that…

  • Washington Bullets

    I guess I’m just surprised this is a test question. It’s rather easy, and I can see how people would have to be like “ohhhh, it’s upside down,” however I don’t see it as requiring any kind of in-depth analysis skills.

    • ClausRasmussen

      >> I don’t see it as requiring any kind of in-depth analysis skills

      It is not supposed too, it is a test for first graders

      • Washington Bullets

        You are right.

    • KamikaziPilot

      Yeah, no analysis, but I think you’d have to kind of get lucky to spot it or think about it. Or maybe it tests your ability to think outside the box. Anyways I couldn’t figure it out after 5 minutes so I cheated.

      • Washington Bullets

        I’m thinking I only got it because I park in a numbered lot everyday.

  • ‘answer within 20 seconds’ is a sure sign there is an easy trick involved.

    • Insomnicide

      Or that the school is just really harsh.

    • theguy126

      That alongside “elementary school students can do it in 10 seconds” leaves me wondering exactly what was going through the heads of the dumbasses in the comments section talking about how they tried advanced math and calculus…

  • Raymond

    Well the 06 gave it away. Took me a minute.

  • ClausRasmussen

    Kids have an easier time solving this problem because they are semi dyslexic, rotating and mirroring letters and numbers all the time.

    • Mighty曹

      Kids are better with visuals. They immediately can solve the school bus quiz while the adults struggle. “Which direction is the bus going?” (see pic)

      • ClausRasmussen

        Haha, I wasn’t able to solve it first time I saw it, but in this case I think it has more to do with experience than visual ability.

        • Mighty曹

          I wasn’t able to solve it either. When I found out what the answer was I felt dumb. LOL

      • KamikaziPilot

        I already felt dumb for not getting the answer on the parking # question. Is the bus going straight ahead, as in straight towards me?

        • ClausRasmussen

          It is going left or right

          • KamikaziPilot

            Neither, it’s coming straight at the viewer. You’re looking at the bus while standing right in front of it. Those two circles that some think are wheels are actually the headlights and the top is the roof. I got that image by eliminating the possibility that you can determine with certainty if it’s going left or right. I guess you can look for the doors too but that would depend on what country you’re in.

        • Mighty曹

          Hahaha.. don’t feel bad, I didn’t get this when I first saw it either. The bus is going left because the DOOR is not seen on the side we’re looking at. Somehow, kids recognize this immediately. (Maybe because they’re still riding the school bus).

          • KamikaziPilot

            Aww man, I’m terrible at these kinds of things. I just thought the door thing would depend on the country too so I thought maybe I was looking at the bus from the front instead of the side.

          • Mighty曹

            That looks like a UFO.

      • Teacher in China

        I immediately said to the right, not sure why though….I have a feeling that both left and right are the right answer.

        • Myk

          That depends if we’re talking about left hand or right hand traffic… ;)

        • Zappa Frank

          I think You get the solution asking yourself, where are the doors of the bus?

        • Mighty曹

          The door is on the other side so it’s traveling left (in the US).

      • djemir

        well I could argue that what we are looking at is the headlights and top lights and we are in trouble because we are about to get run the F over LOL

        • Mighty曹

          hahaha… Then the quiz should be “Which side should you run? Left or Right?”.

      • djemir

        PS: Maybe if they could get a better sketch artist… just saying, come one now LOL

        • Mighty曹

          Yeah, the one I saw was better illustrated. How about this one here? (see pic)

  • KamikaziPilot

    I spent 5 minutes and I couldn’t get it even though I had a feeling it was a “trick” question. I was thinking too hard and finally got frustrated and gave up. Even if I spent an hour I’m not sure I would have gotten it. Now I feel dumb.

    • Zappa Frank

      same here including the feeling

    • Dr Sun

      Same here, then the misses looked at it, flipped it upside down. Good thing shes the money/ house, well everything boss.

  • David

    I really find it difficult to believe adults are talking more than a few seconds to figure this out. Honestly maybe some people are making comments about working on it for hours just to be funny.

    • Took me less than two minutes, but more than one minute. Also I’m a bit drunk so there’s that.

      • David

        See, and sober it would have taken 20 seconds. Of course the idea of a Chinese driver actually parking between the lines is unbelievable.

    • Warren Lauzon

      I don’t think it is to be funny. I think it has a lot to do with how people are taught.

  • Jahar

    This your way of saying you couldn’t get it?

  • Rick in China

    You realize the hypocrisy in that statement right?

    Fucking idiot.

  • 금정산

    I got it in 20-30 seconds.

    I gather this problem is about perception more than intelligence; and being able to look at a problem in a different way. People will normally lose this ability as we get older and set in our ways.

    Also, I think this has little do with education. It’s age.

    • Warren Lauzon

      I disagree. I am over 60 and got it almost immediately. I think it has to do with not being able to think outside the box, and that box get smaller with rote-learned for tests “education”. I would be curious to see how different cultures in various countries do on it with different educational systems.

      • 금정산

        Well… I would say perception develops as we mature – and that means people accept what they are presented with as reality. In this regard, there is a big difference between the ages 10, 15, 20 and 25. The brain reaches the final stage of development at around age 24. There may be little difference between the two of us, in terms of perception, since I am 28 and you are over 60.

        You make an interesting point about route learning. I would agree that it conditions people to think of a problem of being “true, as presented to them”. This problem is presented as the “find the missing number in the sequence” problem… But all tests excluding creative problem solving, trick question etc present a problem as being “true to solve”. We are faced with problems to solve throughout everyday life, not just in school; so think it is based on age (experience) more than level of education.

        I agree that it is about thinking outside the box. I think we lose this ability with age. Both you and I are probably exceptions to the rule.

        • Warren Lauzon

          I don’t think the ability is lost with age – I think it is more that already existing modes of thinking get reinforced. I have never seen any real studies on it, though. “…true, as presented to them…” – this is pretty common in many areas – I have seen it often on poll questions: it is not asked “who was the worst president ever”, it is asked “why was Bush worse than Jimmy Carter” or some such phrasing.

  • Arendelle

    It is not a matter to laugh at. The conventional world map you would usually see is based on European’s perspective. It is general to think Europe is located in the North, which should be the upper part of the globe. In fact, however, there isn’t actually fixed direction of up, down, left or right in the universe. Is there? These directions are relative. Regarding “South” as direction “up” is not a mistaken view to those living in the Southern Hemisphere. In the same context, world maps in the West show Europe in the top middle (Eurasia on the right, Americas on the left), but I used to see world maps which have the Pacific Ocean placed on the center and Europe on the left-upper conner (Eurasia on the left, Americas on the right). Most world maps in the East asia are in that style.

    • PC bullshit

      • Arendelle

        I beg your pardon??

      • Exactly.

    • donscarletti

      Another good matter to laugh at is the people who claim the Mercator Projection is a culturally biased attempt to make Europe look bigger (ignoring the fact that it makes Greenland larger still).

      But getting back to why putting Australia “upside down” is an appropriate matter to laugh at is that the convention of putting north at the top coincided with the adoption of the compass, previously the East was normally at the top, hence the word “orientation”. So in other words it is not a product of long term cultural bias, but simply a scientific discovery.

      But you may say, the compass of course was first invented in China, where by convention it actually pointed south, despite China being a northern hemisphere country.

      So are Chinese sensitive to the plight of antipodeans? When I tell Chinese I was born in summer and I was born in December, I get one of two reactions a) you’re lying or b) what month is it in Australia now? December or January? So I would say, no, Chinese are not particularly aware of the Southern Hemisphere. However, most Europeans and North Americans seem to understand how the Seasons work.

      So, in conclusion, you need to pick a direction to make the map easy to use. Making parallels horizontal and meridians vertical lines makes the map more easy to visualise since there are no east or west poles to make a natural border and distorting Antarctica and the arctic circle along both edges does not impact the usefullness of the map so much as distorting an inhabited continent. People mostly can’t understand disjoint projections like Goode Homolosine or Dymaxion, so you’re stuck with having either North or South at the top. So why not North?

    • 東洋i♡asianwomen美人

      meanwhile here in Japan, they’re not only the “Land of the Rising Sun” (thought it was New Zealand though) but also the center of the Planet Earth.

      • monkey

        > thought it was New Zealand though

        Aotearoa, “the land of the long white cloud”

        Thats a pretty pathetic thing to have a dig a an entire country about.

  • Kai

    I really liked 不过还比较难’s comment.

  • mr.wiener

    I have one of those maps on my wall.

  • YourSupremeCommander

    When I park, I park like a BOSS.

    • Mighty曹

      In your case, BOSS = ASSHOLE

      • YourSupremeCommander

        Kneel before your ASSHOLE.

        • Mighty曹

          What happens when you kiss your boss’s ass?

    • Dr Sun

      I say this pic is of YSC parking and therefore endorse it.

  • Mighty曹

    They can’t even stay in their own lanes when driving.
    Btw,I thought of adding splattered blood.

  • nqk123

    Math, adults immidiately think of equations, but forget this is fking elementary question. We over think thing too much

  • Pingback: This Maths Question From A Hong Kong Elementary School Test Has Adults Stumped | Business Insider()

  • Anna Presman

    Those things are actually easy to figure out when you know what to expect. If it says that it’s easy for first graders, it’s obvious you shouldn’t use math. I remember trying desperately to figure out one of these riddles, when all I needed to do was look at the numbers as if they were pictures.

  • I’m not kidding, I got it right away…don’t get why people don’t think to look upside-down.

  • Sydney

    So you are against racism but you hate white people, very interesting.

  • Matt

    10 seconds! Yeah! I’m an elementary student! Mommmm! guess what?!

  • donscarletti

    We already do that, but with South being the “heavy” direction.

    What? You don’t think there is anything special about North do you? You cultural imperialist!

  • Vien Huynh

    I got it after 10 seconds, for real.

  • Dan

    Well, i figured it out in ten minutes; nine.nine minutes getting no-where, then ten seconds scrolling to the answer, grin…

    Yes, the numbers would be oriented to the drivers, not people viewing from above. Fun the best puzzles are like this, where the solution is both truly elegant and fun.


  • Owlish

    Literally took me five seconds to get. Does that make me smart, or does that mean I have the intelligence of a first grader? :P

    • mr.wiener

      It means you are thinking outside the box…..a lot like the guys in the next story.
      Don’t get up, I’ll punch myself in the face.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    i got it in about a min. Clever though, nice question

  • nice article

  • donscarletti

    I’ve never lived in the US, so I cannot give a very good assessment.

    America is a big country politically, geographically and economically, like China, which tends to lead to a lot of insularity, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they know just as much about the world outside of their borders as the Chinese do. so I would believe you when you claim that most Americans do not know where Australia is. I would however highly doubt it in the case of Canadians however, both because of a less insular culture and the historical and cultural ties. Mexians I would believe, simply because most Australians probably don’t really know much about Mexico either.

    Europe? British and Irish certainly know where Australia is and a decent amount about it, western and southern Europeans seem to have some idea about position and language as well. Russians not so much from my experience.

  • djemir

    5th from the left / second from the right :) HE HE

  • ClausRasmussen

    “Too much racism” as in “speech”. Not action.

  • Little Wing

    87. the numbers are upside down.

  • Orlando Herrera


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