GCSE maths question about boy catching rabbits in woods leaves people baffled

A GCSE maths question about a lad catching rabbits in the woods has left folks on Reddit scratching their heads. But could you crack it?

It's that tense time of year again, with students across the nation diving into their books for revision. The pressure is on for our teens, as the first exams kicked off on Monday May 6, with the season drawing to a close on or before Friday June 21.

Over on Reddit, one user brought attention to what seemed like a 'trick question' from a Maths past paper. Sharing a snapshot of the puzzler on the r/GCSE subreddit, they commented: "Right who's making these questions".

The conundrum hails from a 2022 Pearson Edexcel GCSE higher maths exam. It lays out the scenario: "Albie is studying the population of rabbits in a wood. One day, he catches 55 rabbits and finds that 40 of these rabbits are marked with a tag."

"Albie estimates there are 50 rabbits in the wood. Explain why Albie's estimate cannot be correct", reports the Manchester Evening News.

The simplicity of the question was such that it baffled many. One individual elucidated: "He caught 55 rabbits, so the estimate of the total number of rabbits in the wood cannot possibly be lower than 55, therefore the estimate is incorrect. I guess I'd write something like this."

They continued: "These type of questions do make you question your own intelligence, the answer is so obvious that it feels wrong at first".

However, Reddit users were left just as confused by the intricacies of the question. One perplexed commenter questioned: "I'm confused. Is the answer just that he caught 55 rabbits, so there has to be at least 55 in the woods? " whilst another mooted: "But if he caught the rabbits those rabbits are no longer in the woods meaning he could be correct".

Another contributor chimed in with: "Assuming he's operating catch and release. If it's catch and bag, then he has just removed 55 rabbits from the wood."

An additional user conceded: "It seriously threw me off until I read the comments. I thought the expectation is that by recording the tags he was able to confirm whether a rabbit he has caught is one he had previously caught and that he had then worked out it was approximately a 10% chance of catching the same rabbit. 10% off of 55 is roughly 50 so he estimated that there are 50 rabbits."

They furthermore stated: "The only issue is there's no information given about that and it turns out the whole f****** question is a red herring and the real question literally just boils down to what's bigger, 55 or 50."

According to Maths Genie, indeed, Albie can't be correct as he caught 55 rabbits, thereby placing his number above his own estimate of 50.

So, would you have guessed correctly?

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