WATCH: Chinese Students Use Bizarre Hand Technique at Math Competition

By Rakini Bergundy, October 12, 2019

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Chinese students have a global reputation for being quick-witted when it comes to mathematics, but do you know why? Perhaps a recent event in Northwest China may help shed some light on their impressive math skills.

At a math competition recently held in Lanzhou, Gansu province, a total of 245 students were seen using an unusual technique to answer questions: Hand waving

A school instructor told the Paper that students who use their left hand in combination with their computing skills (the key factor, we’d like to add) can quickly solve math equations. The teacher noted that students of a higher level can simply solve an equation without the use of this hand-waving technique, while others need a boost of ‘brain power.’ He added that the lower the student’s level, the faster they need to move their hand. (Yes, we’re flabbergasted too.)

The novel counting method helped students achieve as many as 219 correct answers out of 222 questions in the demanding 15-minute arithmetic competition. 

Watch a roomful of students shake out the answers to math problems below (VPN off): 

A similar math calculation technique was invented by the late Shi Fengshou, a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China. The counting method calls for the use of one’s fingers and mind for fast counting. 

The reaction on Weibo was seemingly mixed. One user inappropriately compared the students’ hand motions to a debilitating disease, while another joked that the young mathematicians could surely eliminate computers in the future.

READ MORE: This New TV Drama About Chinese Students in the US is Crazy Bad

[Cover image: screengrab via QQ

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