If you felt as if you were losing your mind during the pandemic, you’re not alone. What with being constantly bombarded by bad news, unable to go to work and having a stimulating conversation with your colleagues, or, if you’re a parent, only having had toddlers or little kids to talk to all day, it might well have felt like your brain was deteriorating. And in fact, because people’s minds were so dormant over the whole period, it has given rise to a condition known as ‘pandemic brain’.

But has yours started to recover? Jigsaw puzzle website, im-a-puzzle.com, decided to test people’s current brain sharpness by quizzing 5,000 adults with typical SAT questions. The test consisted of two sections: one focused on Math and one focused on EBRW (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing).

It revealed that adults in Maryland came in 31st place. Adults in the Old Line State scored a 56% mark overall, below the national average of 58%. Surprisingly, most adults here struggled with EBRW, with just 44% passing (lower than the national average of 55%), but it was in math where their overall average was significantly boosted, scoring 69% (compared to the national average of 61%). 

An example Math question asked in the quiz was:

If x + 6 = 9, then 3x + 1 = ?*

A) 6

B) 10

C) 4

D) 12

And an EBRW example question asked was:

What does ‘burgeon’ mean?*

A) to rapidly shrink

B) to become tired

C) to make 

D) to rapidly expand

So, who came top of the class across the states when it came to answering these tricky questions? It’s not good news if you live in The Natural State; Arkansans had the lowest overall score, with a 61% fail rate. New Jerseyans, on the other hand, were teachers’ pets with a top-of-the-league 73% pass rate. Some may be surprised at this result – after all, NJ is home to the popular reality show, Jersey Shore, featuring a cast of characters not usually associated with the frontal lobe area of the brain.

However, could NJ’s high score have something to do with the fact that plenty of Princeton alumni still live in the state they studied at? Interestingly, Massachusetts came in second place, home to Harvard University….

Broken down across the spectrum, it appears Texas has the greatest proportion of ‘mathletes’, scoring 78% correctly. Surprisingly, even though it was adults who aced the test, Texan educational officials have expressed concern about the fact that math standards are actually dropping in schools. We need the next generation to be as good with numbers as their parents are! And who came last in Math? Arkansans, look away now – you scored the lowest, with a high fail rate of 63%…

When it came to EBWR, Nutmeggers emerged as the most articulate, scoring a highly impressive 82%. And as if to add salt to the wound, Arkansans also scored the lowest across the board on the EBRW section, with a fail rate of 60%. Perhaps it’s unfair to judge them on this – they could be seen to have a natural disadvantage when it comes to vocabulary, thanks to their distinct local slang; well, would you know what ‘tumped’ ‘spun up’ or ‘bowed up’ mean?!

Neal Taparia from im-a-puzzle.com says, “It’s great to see that, overall, most adults across the country haven’t got too much to worry about when it comes to their post-pandemic brain sharpness. It’s always a good thing to brush up on our general Math and EBRW skills, and online quizzes are a great way to exercise this knowledge, even if you don’t have upcoming SATs scheduled!”

If you want to see how well you would do in a similar test, im-a-puzzle.com have designed an interactive quiz you can take here (click on ’embed’ to host on your site)

  • The correct answer for the Math component is: B) 10
  • The correct answer for the EBRW question is: D) to rapidly expand

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply