Trending: Only for genius ?? 3 – 3 x 6 + 2 = ??

David Meego - Click for blog homepageCompletely off topic and maybe something that should have waited for a Friday Funny post, but I noticed this post trending on the Book of Face today.

What amazes me is that there is only one correct answer, but the comments are full of many, many different answers. How can so many people get it wrong?

Now, I am not saying that my answer is correct just because it is mine, but because it follows the rules and methodology that I was taught at primary (elementary) school.

So here is the question:


Below is a poll for you to answer with a selection of the answers found on the Facebook post:


Now to help you, please make sure you remember the Order of Operations mnemonics you probably learnt at school (depending on terminology):

Mnemonic Meaning
BIDMAS Brackets, Indices, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
BIMDAS Brackets, Indices, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction
BEDMAS Brackets, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
BEMDAS Brackets, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction
BODMAS Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
BOMDAS Brackets, Orders, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction
PIDMAS Parentheses, Indices, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
PIMDAS Parentheses, Indices, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction
PEDMAS Parentheses, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
PEMDAS Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction
PODMAS Parentheses, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
POMDAS Parentheses, Orders, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction

What also surprised me was how many people actually remembered the rules, but failed to apply them correctly!

Let’s see how many of you get this correct….

Have a look at the other posts in the series:



PS: Shouldn’t the question be using the plural of Genius? Is that Geniuses or Genii?

This article was originally posted on

49 thoughts on “Trending: Only for genius ?? 3 – 3 x 6 + 2 = ??

  1. LoL… All I remember from my school days is that parenthesis prime over multiplication/division that prime over addition/substraction… 🙂


  2. I’m inclined to argue the solution to the actual post: The answer to the poll equation is -13, but the equation in the original post is different because you use two question marks to denote the solution. While one question mark is common when requesting a solution, two is not. The question mark, query, point of interrogation, or even Minkoswky’s mark would be representative of a symbolic factor relative to, in this case, a solution and value. Since the question mark is not being used in the body of the equation and/or being representative of a fractal slope(etc), it remains a symbolic factor specifically relative to the value of that solution. Two question marks would therefore represent the solution times itself…would they not??
    If each factor in an equation is represented by a value, whether it be a numerical factor already possessing value or a symbolic factor whose value needs to be determined, placing two question marks side by side should therefore imply an additional step. Unless “??” is representative of a factor on a chart, graph, or even a geometrical shape or angle, wouldn’t that become (?X?) or ?squared ? It wouldn’t be any different than ?a being simplified to ?(a), a polynomial before all the parentheses.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jonathon

        Please note that I did not create the original image and so cannot be blamed for the double question marks. Maybe they are questioning the question? 🙂

        Anyhow does ?? mean 2? or ?^2, is the answer half of -13 or the square root of -13 (which then involves complex numbers)?

        However, I think this is mute point because the question does not actually say to solve for ?, so we don’t need to get the answer back to a single question mark.

        With the number of people failing to use order of operations, or using order of operations and then failing to add a negative number adding complex numbers will just drive them to insanity.


        PS: Your answer above is incorrect. It will not be -13 x -13 and even if it was -13 x -13 = 169 not -169. 🙂

        PPS: Make sure you also look at


  3. There’s no negative sign just a minus sign ? The equation was unclear. I know the order of operations and following it the answer is 17. A negative sign should be at the top left of the number that is Negative.


    • James

      Sorry your answer is wrong. A negative sign and a minus sign are the same thing. You can also call it a subtraction sign.

      The equation is perfectly clear and if you follow order of operations and simple number line mathematics you will get the correct answer.

      3-3×6+2 = 3-18+2 = -15+2 = -13 or
      3-3×6+2 = 3-18+2 = 3-16 = -13.

      Mathematics is a pure science and will always give the same answer. Which is -13 in this case.



      • ?? = x.
        ?? * 3 – 3*6 + 2 = ??
        x * 3 – 3*6 +2 = x
        x * 3 – 18 + 2 = x
        x * 3 – 16 = x
        x * 3 = 16 + x
        x * 3 – x = 16
        x *(3 – 1) = 16
        x = 16/ (3 -1)
        x = 16/2
        x = ??
        x = 8. GG WP
        ?? = 8
        See I’m a genius, you’re just normal, It’s ok like the 98.13% that thought 8 wasn’t the answer.


      • OK, I agree with your solution of ?? * 3 – 3*6 + 2 = ??, however that is NOT the question.

        Look at the original image. The first ?? is on the line above in the smaller font and is not part of the question.

        Well done, on correctly solving the algebriac equation anyway.


      • Hello, I’ve done this exersice and I came up with the same result as Genius.
        The question is clear, they are asking for the value of ”??” its not just a 2nd grade equation, thats why they are asking for genius people, a normal person would just ignore the ”??” and just do the equation and think that he is intelligent, im sorry if you are one of them.But dont feel bad, 98.13% of you thought that they are right.
        I recommend some books like ,”How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog by Chad Orzel”,”Principle of Relativity by Albert Einstein
        ”, and ”Genius: Habits of highly creative people by David Tuffley”
        Keep working on your intelligence im sure that one day you will understand us and see the world as we do.


      • I think you are also reading too much into that graphic.

        You would be surprised how many people cannot answer the “2nd grade equation” 3-3*6+2 correctly.


      • It’s stupid to think that there are two question marks (??) in the “only for genius” phrase (that’d be a sintaxis error) also everything is equalized to ??, you may think that’s a casual mistake (as normal people would think), but there’s no other logic behind doing this. Nice work although answering 3-3*6 +2, you’re a real human calculator m8.


      • Hi Leonhard, It’s nice to see one of the 1.87% of genius that’ve solved this problem right. You’re absolutely right, he can study and learn to see the world as we see it, although I think his pride won’t let him out from normality.

        About those books, I think they’re incredible, I absolutely agree, but I think this one will be better for him: “Basic Maths For Dummies”.


      • If the two of you continue to rude, I will happily remove your comments. I would like to leave them as it shows another way of looking at the problem.


      • Mr. WinthropDC I understand that you dont like our point of view becuase it is a little bit to complex for a normal brain but I didn’t mean to be rude or ofend anyone with my comment, i’m sorry if i did.
        Now my awnser to:”You would be surprised how many people cannot answer 3-3*6+2 correctly.”
        The problem is that you dont understand that this exercise is done for genius that see thing in a different way than you normals do.


  4. I’m sorry If you thought that I was being rude, that wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to help. us genius sometimes try to help but don’t know how to treat with people, sorry.


  5. Actually I never heard of either one when I was taught mathematics in school. The way I look at the equation the answer is 2. I never heard of the order of operations rule. That looks like standard algebra. So you read left to right and perform each operation as it comes unless parentheses or brackets are written in the equation. And not assumed. You can’t do what is not there. And as for the rule of operations, mathematicians are just trying make their therums work. And takes years to make it the commonly used theory. I am just a high school graduate of 30 years. This goes the same for common core mathematics. To much work for simple mathematics. I can get the same answer in 2 to 3 less lines of mathematics


    • Hi Terry

      I am sorry but you are incorrect.

      Would you agree that 2 + 1 = 3 and 1 + 2 = 3 give the same result.

      So 3-3×6+2 should be the same as 2+3-3×6.

      If you use the Order of Operation rules both of those sums give the same answer -13.

      If you ignire the rules, the first gives 2 and the second case gives 12… both incorrect.




    • Hi Safna

      I think you miss a few characters writing the problem. Not F=46 but F=42, G=56.

      Is this n * (n+1) where n is the position of the letter of the alphabet.

      A = 1 * 2 = 2
      B = 2 * 3 = 6
      C = 3 * 4 = 12
      D = 4 * 5 = 20
      E = 5 * 6 = 30
      F = 6 * 7 = 42
      G = 7 * 8 = 56
      H = 8 * 9 = 72

      So answer is 72.

      David… Next challenge. 😁


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