# If You Can Solve This Math Puzzle, You May Be a Genius

It's not as simple as it looks.

Do you think of yourself as a secret mathematician who’s a genius at solving hard math problems? This math brainteaser will have even the biggest number nerds scratching their heads. Even those who solve the most popular riddles may be stumped here.

Peopleâ€™s Daily, China tweeted out this math puzzle in which each picture represents a number.

These algebra problems might seem easy at first glance, but hold on. Peopleâ€™s Daily was nice enough to give away the answer before you began. If you didnâ€™t get 16, you did something wrong. Take a closer look at the picturesâ€”you probably missed a few key details.

Still stumped? Weâ€™ll walk you through it (like we did for this coffee brainteaser). For the sake of the explanation, weâ€™ll call the shoes S, the cat C, and the whistle W.

The first equation sets up the whole math puzzle. Three pairs of shoes added together equal thirty. S + S + S = 30, so divide 30 by three. Each pair of sneakers represents the number 10. Easy enough.

Now the second equation is clearer. Sub the shoes out for a 10, and youâ€™ll find out 10 + C + C = 20. Subtract 10 from each side, so C + C = 10. Each cat must represent the number 5.

Look closely at the next equation before you jump into it. In the third equation, there are two whistles in each line, but the final one only has one whistle. So 5 + 2W + 2W = 13. If 4W = 8, then each whistle represents the number 2.

OK, so that clears up a bit of the next equationâ€”until you plug the numbers in. Sub S + C x W for 10 + 5 x 2. Remember your order of operations? Multiply first, then add. So 10 + 10 = 20. What went wrong? (Hint: It’s similar to this “simple” math problem for kids that has adults stumped.)

The key is in the catâ€™s clothes. In the second and third equations, the cat has a whistle around its neckâ€”but not in the last one.

No need to go back and redo all your hard work. Just change the last equation to S + (C – W) x W. Now plug the numbers in: 10 + (5 â€“ 2) x 2. Work your way through it. The equation goes to 10 + (3) x 2, then 10 + 6. Finally, you get 16â€”problem solved! Congrats, you’ve solved a tricky math puzzle.