basic permutation vs. combination : GMAT Quantitative Section
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basic permutation vs. combination

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16 Jan 2011, 07:37
I'm looking at kaplan premier at the permutation review section, and the example is how many ways can you arrange the letters in the word ASCENT.

I'm not understanding why this is a permutation and not a combinations problem. Overall, I'm having a hard time differentiating between combinations and permutations. I understand the order matters, but I don't see why here.

It says "clearly the order matters here, since ASCENT is different than TNESCSA." Right, but then if you don't want to change the order how could you rearrange the letters? Any advice or clarity would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: basic permutation vs. combination [#permalink]

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16 Jan 2011, 09:27
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Hi,
Keeping it simple.
A combination is simply a choice of objects, while a permutation is a rearrangement or (sometimes, a re-alignment) of the choice of objects.
Arranging letters involves permutation, while selection of letters involves combination.
How many ways can you arrange the letters in the word ASCENT?
Here we need to arrange letters and hence permutation is involved
How many 3 different letter words can be formed out of the five letters A,E,I,O,U?
Here we need to select 3 letters out of 5 and no arrangement is required. Hence it is combination.
Hope this helps

Thanks and Regards,
Sashikanth
Re: basic permutation vs. combination   [#permalink] 16 Jan 2011, 09:27
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