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General D-S question

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Joined: 11 May 2009
Posts: 126
Schools: Columbia Business School, Goizueta, Sloan
Followers: 3

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General D-S question [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2011, 10:33

I have a small question regarding the D-S questions. I noticed that I tend to get some questions incorrect because I cannot get the exact value. For example, if a question is "how old is person A", I get a question that his age equals
(r-8)*2. I get this solution but I put the statement as insufficient because I cannot tell how exactly old the person is. The official answer provides the same equation but declares it as sufficient.

How can I tell when it is just enough to put the solution in terms of a variable and consider it is sufficient?


Set your aims high, carpe diem

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Status: Enjoying the MBA journey :)
Joined: 09 Sep 2011
Posts: 137
Location: United States (DC)
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
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Re: General D-S question [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2011, 11:46
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Hi Laker7

The example you've cited, does not provide a complete picture of the question you have. (r-8)*2 can be sufficient or insufficient based on whether you know the value of 'r'. If you can somehow determine the value for variable 'r', using the question stem and the given statement alone, then your statement should be sufficient.

Let me put it this way. Assuming that the question you've posted is something like this:
8 years ago, Person A's age was twice that of Robert's. What is Person A's current age?
Statement 1: Robert's age will be 15 in 5 years time.

Given this information, we know that Robert's age (let's say, r) is r = 10 years and using the question stem, we know that Person A's age, 8 years ago, was given by the equation: (r-8)*2
Without calculating, we can definitely say that Statement 1 is sufficient as we know the value of variable 'r' and hence, can determine Person A's current age. Hence sufficient.

Whether or not a given statement is sufficient will also determine how you frame your equations. In certain cases, we tend to use more number of variables than is actually required. Due to this, we end up getting equations with at least 1 unknown variable value, which cannot be solved/reduced further to determine the correct solution.

My advice would be to read the question stem very carefully and then frame the necessary equations using the minimum number of required variables. Then look at each of the given statements separately to determine whether they are sufficient. In most cases, you won't be required to solve the equations - you could determine whether the statement is sufficient, just by looking at the information presented in the question stem and the statement.

Hope this helps! :)


MBA Candidate 2015 | Georgetown University
McDonough School of Business

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Joined: 07 Aug 2011
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Concentration: Technology, International Business
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Re: General D-S question [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2011, 22:54
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as @sudish has said .. its not important to solve the equation, its about is this information provided enough for you to solve or not..

and as far as your question goes, no never it will be answer in variable, it has to be Yes it can be solved with given parameter or Not

Think why this question is being asked to future MBA .. its about testing your analyzing skill, don't get into tunnel vision. read the question stem, if possible try to break it down , rephrase it, create small chunk of points , and then read answer stem or facts provided.
Re: General D-S question   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2011, 22:54
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