Singapore Problem Solving

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Students might be so good at problem-solving because they're very good at math.

Students in Singapore scored second in the world, behind students in Shanghai, on the math portion of the PISA.

These problems show up in Singapore for a reason: they're meant to strengthen and test students' problem solving skills — and they seem to work.

"This kind of problems trains a person to analyze a problem in order to come to a logical solution," Henry Ong, the director of Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, wrote in a statement.

Then Cheryl tells Albert the month of her birthday, but not the day.

She tells Bernard the day of her birthday, but not the month. Albert: I don't know when Cheryl's birthday is, but I know Bernard doesn't know either. This problem is meant to test logical and analytical reasoning skills.

praised Singapore's method of teaching math, saying it was much better than the American method.

On reason was that word problems and real-world examples were used not just to show students that math is important outside the classroom, but to illustrate how math works.

As soon as Albert says that, though, Bernard figures it out.

He knows Cheryl must have told Albert her birthday is in July or August, because that's the only way Albert can be certain that Bernard doesn't know her birthday.

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