In a Mensa calendar, A daily challenge -
your daily brain workout. I got this and put a challenge up at work.
The Challenge starts with..
Assume you are using a basic calculator and press the numbers in the order shown, replacing each question mark ...continues... What is the highest number you can possibly score?
Basically, only using $+,-, * ,\div$, once in place of a question mark.
$5 ? 4 ? 7 ? 3 ? 2 =$
We all worked out the operators to be
$5 + 4 $ x $ 7 - 3/2 =$
Except that I calculated the answer to be $31.5$ and the others argued $30$. THe answer sheet from MENSA says the calculated total is 30.
Nobody actually understood the first part about using a basic calculator. I initially thought the challenge was all about the rules of maths. And when I asked why nobody else applied the rules of maths, they all forgot about it, not because the challenge said to use some "basic calculation"
I emailed MENSA and queried them about the challenge and they replied,
Thank you for your email. On a basic calculator it will be: 5 + 4 = 9 9 x 7 = 63 63 – 3 = 60 60 ÷ 2 = 30 Kind regards, Puzzle Team
Thank you for your reply. Could you please define what a basic calculator is? I tried 4 pocket, £1 calculators, and all gave me 31.5.
And finally their definition.
I guess what the question really means, whether you do the sum manually or on a calculator, is don’t change the order of the numbers. The Casio calculators we have in the office allow you to do the sum as it appears: 5 + 4 = 9 9 x 7 = 63 63 – 3 = 60 60 ÷ 2 = 30 Kind regards, Puzzle Team
So they guess the challenge meant to do it that way. Why not just say ignore rules of maths. What is the point of this anyway?
My original question, on Maths Stack (this one) was why MENSA used 30 instead of 31.5. And initially I did not understand that using a basic calculator meant calculating left to right by pressing equals after each operation.
So what is going on here? If they wanted us the ignore rules of math they should of said taht. Because my basic calculator gives me 31.5 and not 30.0 (I dont have a special. Casio MENSA calculator though)
Windows standard calculator gives me 30. Why? None of my pocket, office, el cheapo calculators do this.
Google, or Windows Scientific give me 31.5 - As do ally my elelctornic calculators.