This sounds like a silly question to begin with, right?
Well, it might be a lot less silly than you think. According to various reports, this is one of the most perplexing questions that interviewers ask the candidates in interviews for various roles.
Even a giant company like Google is known to ask this in their interviews!
How many golf balls fit in a school bus is an arbitrary question with many unknown parameters. This means that it is nearly impossible to give a correct answer to this, and the interviewer knows that as well.
In most cases, the person asking this question wants to know how you reach the final answer more than the actual final answer. It is a great test of someone’s thinking process.
This article will guide you through that process. Let’s read along!
Dimensions and Details
To reach a reasonably accurate result, you will need to do some calculations. The prerequisite to calculating the problem is knowing the dimension of the school bus in question as well as the golf balls.
In general, golf balls have a radius of roughly 0.84 inches. So, using that as a reference, we have to find the volume of a golf ball. The formula for determining the volume of a sphere is 4/3 * pi (3.1416) * 0.84^3.
Calculating that, we can estimate the volume of an individual golf ball to be about 2.5 cubic inches.
Now, coming to the bus, here’s where things may seem trickier. But fret not; simply use the size of a standard school bus for your calculations as a reference.
Let’s say a regular yellow school bus is 90 inches wide, 96 inches tall, and 360 inches long. Calculating the volume, we can determine that the school bus is roughly 3.1 million cubic inches.
Doing the Math
Now that you know the dimensions to use as reference points, let’s crunch the numbers, shall we?
To answer how many golf balls can fit in a school bus, we have first considered a standard size for golf balls to be fitted as well as the school bus.
Now before we proceed further, we would like to provide the disclaimer that our calculation will not be accurate down to the digits. This is because we have to take into account that the volume of the school bus that we determined isn’t all usable.
There are seats fitted to a bus. Often there are poles, steering wheels, handles, and other obstructions.
We also have crevices like the stairway from the door to the seating area. These all come into play in reducing the bus space. So the final number we will arrive at will be a solid estimate, not a completely accurate result.
Moving on, here is the final calculation:
Volume of individual golf ball = 2.5 cubic inches
Volume of the school bus = 3.1 million cubic inches
Now, if we divide the total volume of the school bus by the volume of an individual golf ball, we get 3100000/2.5 = 1.24 million golf balls
The number we get is 1.24 million golf balls. However, there are obstructions within the interior that eat up space, namely seats, handles, steering wheel, etc. Keeping that in mind, we can round the number up to 1.2 million golf balls.
In summary, a school bus that is 7.5 * 8 * 30 feet long can carry 1.2 million or 1200000 golf balls!
Answering Some Other Questions
Let’s have a look at the frequently asked questions on this. Do you have them in mind as well?
Is the Calculation Accurate?
The calculation we completed is reasonably accurate as we used all the right mathematical formulas and dimensions. However, as we said before, some intangible factors are hard to account for in this particular math.
The exact size of the bus or its volume is unknown to us, and so is the number of seats in it. This essentially means that we have to use assumptions to arrive at an answer to the question of how many golf balls fit in a school bus.
You can be rest assured that the small difference in accuracy won’t be a problem. Keep reading, and you will know why.
How Should I Answer this in an Interview?
This is a common question that could arise in the mind of anyone. So here’s how you should approach the answer.
The person interviewing you very likely knows that you have certain constraints. You are unaware of the exact dimensions and information needed to provide pinpoint results. He or she won’t be seeking that either.
While answering this question, just make sure your thought process and answer are sound and logical, like the one we provided. This question simply tests your ability to think analytically. If you can provide a logical solution with a sound reasoning process, you are very likely through.
We often have to face tricky questions that seem very hard to answer on first listen. The query of how many golf balls fit in a school bus is one such question. But while it seems super hard to answer at first glance, it is actually quite straightforward if you just figure out the science behind it.
A logical answer backed by the right line of thought is all it takes to appease your employer. We hope you can prepare for a challenging question like this and ace it in your next job interview!