Fun with math tests

I came across a silly little math test via The Washington Monthly that I simply had to try out. I have not actually done any math in at least a decade, at least not what I would count as math, and supposed that I would bomb this one horribly. It turns out that I am not as bad at this simple stuff as I would have thought.

I only missed one! I was pretty happy about that considering how long it has been since I have actually done math for a reason that didn’t involve drug weight conversions or silly video game puzzles. It was only when I went to see what question 6 was that I really started to kick myself in the ass.

The question was:

“A car dealer sells a SUV for $39,000, which represents a
profit over the cost. What was the cost of the SUV to the dealer?”

  1. $29,250
  2. $31,200
  3. $32,500
  4. $33,800
  5. $33,999

I have spent too many years in the grocery business to get this one right. The key line in the question, the one that I either missed or ignored was “which represents a 25% profit over the cost”. Since I have been in the grocery business so damn long I made the mistake of figuring out 25% profit rather than 25% profit over cost. 25% profit requires 33% mark-up, which is the way I figured it, thus giving me the 29,250 answer. Had I taken a bit more time reading the question I would probably have realized the mistake I was about to make, but I find it humorous that I didn’t.

The little test is available here. I found it much easier than I expected, though some of the questions took me a bit of remembering to figure out. I likely wouldn’t have posted anything about it at all had it not been for the single question I missed being related to doing only one type of math for eleven years.

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