Tricky exam question about crickets is leaving everyone scratching their heads

Students in Australia have been left baffled by a Higher School Certificate exam.

On Monday (October 26) a number of Year 12 pupils sat a standard mathematics exam but found one question on the test to be particularly challenging.

According to the syllabus was recently altered by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), which sets the exam papers.

One of these changes, saw some of the same questions feature in both the standard and advanced maths tests.

And a duplicated question about chirping crickets caused major issues for pupils – even sparking a meme on social media after the exam had finished.

Can you solve the tricky mathematics problem?

The exam question featured a box plot of temperature data and those taking the test were asked to “calculate the number of chirps expected in a 15-second interval when the temperature is 19° Celsius.”

Answers had to be given “correct to the nearest whole number”.

Many pupils were left scratching their heads over the whole thing – and even a few parents failed to solve the problem.

One person tweeted a hilarious meme showing the difference between what they had studied for the exam, compared to what was actually in it.

Another person shared a look at the Google search result for “how many times do crickets chirp per second”.

Someone else wrote: “The HSC Maths exam papers are another NESA stuff-up. The way they are justifying it is ridiculous. At the very least, NESA should have told everyone what they might expect instead of dropping it in the exams.”

Speaking to, a spokeswoman for NESA said it had received feedback from a number of students and parents about the maths exam “being difficult”.

She added: “NESA confirms that all questions asked within the Maths Standard 2 exam were within the scope of the syllabus.

“All HSC exam papers are designed to differentiate student achievement. NESA will monitor marking of the Maths Standard 2 paper very closely.

“Mathematics education is a priority for the NSW Government.”