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# Can you solve this 'simple' puzzle that has bamboozled ace math students around the world?

Take a good look at the image above as **we are about to drop what is supposedly a 'simple' puzzle on you to work out**. The question appeared on maths tests way back in 1995 and advanced maths students across 16 countries had some serious issues trying to solve it.

The question is as follows: A string is wound symmetrically around a circular rod. The string goes exactly 4 times around the rod. The circumference of the rod is 4cm and the its length is 12cm. **Find the length of the string and show all of your work. Can you work it out?**

The reason it is considered to be an easy question is because it does not require any advanced mathematical skills to solve. The **puzzle was created by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)** to test maths literacy in 16 countries that year. The best performing country was Sweden where a paltry 24% of students tested managed to correctly solve the problem.

That is an incredible score though when compared to the **worst performing country, the United States, where only 4% of the students tested managed to adequately solve the puzzle**. Overall, the IEA reported that 10% of all students tested around the world managed to get the correct answer while a further 2% were on the right track getting the puzzle partially right. Not what the IEA were expecting from a question considered to be easier than many others on the test.

For those of you who are shouting "Give me a hint" then the best strategy for solving the puzzle is to think slightly outside the spatial box and imagine the cylinder and string flattened out into a rectangle. If you are still struggling for a direction to go then we will give you **an even bigger hint - just think Q.E.D...**