Try OECD's International PISA Math Quiz 2012


The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has a PISA program which examines and compares the performance of worldwide students, schools and education systems on a three-year basis. In the PISA tests, 15-year-old students from different countries take math, reading, and science tests. In 2012, around 65 countries and economies took part in PISA, and the rankings of student competence of these countries have been revealed recently.


OECD has posted some sample questions of the 2012 PISA math quiz on its official website, which were soon forwarded by some major media in the western world. The questions cover the areas of algebra, graph, comparison, etc. The media call their adult readers to try these questions to see if they can get all correct, and the result is somewhat frustrating. Here Acadsoc also encourages our readers to have a go! (Hint: Some of the questions below are tricky indeed.)


Warm-up question:

In January, the new CDs of the bands 4U2Rock and The Kicking Kangaroos were released. In February, the CDs of the bands No One's Darling and The Metalfolkies followed. The following graph shows the sales of the bands' CDs from January to June.


In which month did the band No One's Darling sell more CDs than the band The Kicking Kangaroos for the first time?

A.      No month

B.      March

C.      April

D.      May


Selected questions:


1. Helen has just got a new bike. It has a speedometer which sits on the handlebar. The speedometer can tell Helen the distance she travels and her average speed for a trip. On one trip, Helen rode 4 km in the first 10 minutes and then 2 km in the next 5 minutes. Which one of the following statements is correct?

 A. Helen’s average speed was greater in the first 10 minutes than in the next 5 minutes.

 B. Helen’s average speed was the same in the first 10 minutes and in the next 5 minutes.

 C. Helen’s average speed was less in the first 10 minutes than in the next 5 minutes.

 D. It is not possible to tell anything about Helen’s average speed from the information given.


2. Helen rode 6 km to her aunt’s house. Her speedometer showed that she had averaged 18 km/h for the whole trip. Which one of the following statements is correct?

A.      It took Helen 20 minutes to get to her aunt’s house.

B.      It took Helen 30 minutes to get to her aunt’s house.

C.      It took Helen 3 hours to get to her aunt’s house.

D.      It is not possible to tell how long it took Helen to get to her aunt’s house.


3. Helen rode her bike from home to the river, which is 4 km away. It took her 9 minutes. She rode home using a shorter route of 3 km. This only took her 6 minutes. What was Helen’s average speed, in km/h, for the trip to the river and back?

A.      28

B.      28.3

C.      28.6

D.      28.9


4. Mount Fuji is a famous dormant volcano in Japan. It is only open to the public for climbing from 1 July to 27 August each year. About 200 000 people climb Mount Fuji during this time. On average, about how many people climb Mount Fuji each day?

A.      340

B.      710

C.      3400

D.      7100


5. The Gotemba walking trail up Mount Fuji is about 9 kilometres (km) long. Walkers need to return from the 18 km walk by 8pm. Toshi estimates that he can walk up the mountain at 1.5 kilometres per hour on average, and down at twice that speed. These speeds take into account meal breaks and rest times. Using Toshi’s estimated speeds, what is the latest time he can begin his walk so that he can return by 8pm?

A.      10am

B.      11am

C.      12pm

D.      1pm


6. Toshi wore a pedometer to count his steps on his walk along the Gotemba trail. His pedometer showed that he walked 22 500 steps on the way up. Estimate Toshi’s average step length for his walk up the 9 km Gotemba trail. Give your answer in centimetres (cm).

A.      0.4

B.      0.45

C.      40

D.      45


7. A revolving door includes three wings which rotate within a circular-shaped space. The door makes 4 complete rotations in a minute. There is room for a maximum of two people in each of the three door sectors. What is the maximum number of people that can enter the building through the door in 30 minutes?

A.       60

B.       180

C.       240

D.       720


8. Chris has just received her car driving licence and wants to buy her first car. This table shows the details of four cars she finds at a local car dealer. Chris wants a car that meets all of these conditions: The distance travelled is not higher than 120 000 kilometres, it was made in the year 2000 or a later year, and the advertised price is not higher than 4 500 zeds. Which car meets Chris’s conditions?

A.      Alpha

B.      Bolte

C.      Castel

D.      Dezal



9. Which car’s engine capacity is the smallest?

A.       Alpha

B.       Bolte

C.       Castel

D.       Dezal


10. Chris will have to pay an extra 2.5% of the advertised cost of the car as taxes. How much are the extra taxes for the Alpha?

A.       120

B.       160

C.       1200

D.       1600


Source: OECD's PISA programme ( and the Telegraph

(Click here to check out the correct answer)

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