This Woman's Formula for Guessing the Number of Candies in a Jar Is Mind-Blowingly Accurate

Kelly Corbett - Author

May 10 2023, Updated 11:20 a.m. ET

boy at a desk with jar
Source: Getty Images

OK, real talk: How often do you apply any of the complicated math formulas you learned in high school to your everyday life? Because I would answer almost never.

But according to one TikTok user, there is one formula you might want to familiarize yourself with — and no, it's the not formula to calculate tip with (although yes, you should know that one!). Rather, it's the formula to calculate the volume of a cylinder.

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Why did I just bring up that horrible formula? Well, if you ever want to even have a chance at winning one of those guessing games where you're supposed to guess how many jellybeans, Skittles, etc are in a jar, you'll want to know this equation.

As a refresher, the formula to calculate the volume of a cylinder is V=πr2h.

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Source: Getty images

TikTok creator shares hack to win "guess the number of ____ in the jar to win" games.

For some strange reason, we enjoy putting candy in jars and making people guess how many pieces there are in total. Why is this a thing? I don't know. Honestly, I'd rather just eat the candy and mind my own business.

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But these contests continue to cross my path and I continue to take a wild guess and be incredibly off. Anyway, TikTok user Bel (@khaibellamy) says her first-grade teacher taught her that if you count the number of candies going vertically in the jar, as well as the number going across, and then plug those answers into the formula to calculate the volume of a cylinder, you should arrive at a number that is pretty close to the real answer.

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Bel even demonstrated how accurate this formula is by giving a real-life example. While she was at a baby shower, attendees were asked to guess how many gummy worms were in a jar. She immediately started putting her math skills to the test.

women holding baby clothes
Source: Getty Images
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"The key is to ignore whatever is inside the jar and treat it like an odd unit," she said in the video, showing us a photo of gummy worms in a jar.

"Count how many touch the side of the jar and that's your length. Count how many gummy worms touch the bottom of the jar and that's your width," she continued.

Last but not least, she said: "Divide that by 2, put that to the power of 2, multiply that by pi, and multiply that by length and you get the volume of a cylinder."

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She also adds, "if you're working with a different shape jar, google how to calculate the volume of that shape.".

Anyway, Bel calculates the number 234, which she submits.

Source: TikTok / @khaibellamy
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But unfortunately, she didn't win. A woman named Debra did.

"She looks to me as I'm falling to my knees and says 'Hey, you're the girl who was doing all the math, right? I just kind of looked at your paper and saw you were writing 234 so I went up by one. You looked like you knew what you were doing,'" Bel said, explaining that Debra had really just copied off her paper.

The point of that story is that the formula will get you pretty darn close to the real answer. Also, Debra sucks. Don't be a Debra!

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