HSC students have been dealt “harder than normal” maths questions during this week’s advanced mathematics exam.

Almost 3500 Year 12 pupils were challenged with one of the “toughest” problems to ever feature on the higher-level exam, designed to challenge Australia’s most advanced mathematical students.

Students sitting the three-hour extension 2 paper have revealed the last page featured several questions they claim are more difficult than previous years, but it was the final conundrum that really tested their skills.

This year’s final question involved complex numbers, an extension of the real number system that involves combining real and imaginary numbers, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The difficult mathematical method is commonly used in physics, pure maths, and electrical engineering.

Miriam Lees, a consultant for the Mathematical Association of NSW, said complex numbers encouraged “critical thinking” in students – stating: “I’ve not seen a question like this in an extension 2 paper.”

Vivian, a student from James Ruse High School in Sydney’s northwest, explained the “most challenging HSC maths” question on TikTok, where it quickly stumped countless Australians.

Some questioned why anyone would need to know how to solve a problem as tough as this, prompting many to roast their own inability to answer the question.

“This reminds me of the time I had an argument with my ex,” one teased.

“I wouldn’t even know how to put it in my calculator,” another joked.

As one extremely relatable response declared: “I don’t even understand the question!”

One student who took the exam shared a video describing the equation as “diabolic” and labelling the problem “sadistic”.

“The whole thing was so messed up,” one Year 12 participant responded in the comments.

“All the math tests have been brutal this year,” another agreed.

As one weighed in: “I literally had no clue.”

Answer to the most difficult HSC maths question explained

While most have been utterly stumped by the complex question, Australian maths teacher Ringo Mok from Sydney Science College, has shared a video breaking down how to solve it.

“We have this question where we have complex numbers W and Z that lie on the unit circle,” Mr Mok explained.

“And they are separated by an obtuse angle.”

The teacher, who recently applied for a master of mathematics degree according to his blog, went on to explain in great detail exactly how the elite students would work it out – revealing the answer that you can watch above.

News.com.au has contacted Mr Mok for further comment.


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By Rahul

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