mun23 wrote:

If the positive number d is the standard deviation of n, k and p then the standard deviation of n+1, k+1 and p+1 is

(A) d+3

(B) d+1

(C) 6d

(D) 3d

(E) d

GyanOne is absolutely right about the answer, it is indeed E. I've often heard students say that standard deviation is their least favorite statistic. I, however, think that it should be the opposite. Calculating a square root may seem tedious to some, but the GMAT never asks you to do the actual calculations, so the questions always revolve around the concept. In this case, whether the numbers n, k and p are all increased by 1 or 100, or even 5,000,000, the answer remains the same. The only time the standard deviation is going to increase or decrease is if the numbers are multiplied (or divided, which is really just multiplication by 1/number) by some constant.

A standard deviation question is an opportunity to get easy points because the concept being tested will never be that hard. The important notions are that moving the numbers by a constant changes nothing, multiplying amplifies everything (as you would by pinching an iphone screen) and that sets with the same numbers have standard deviations of 0 (ex: 5,5,5,5).

Quick refresher to calculate standard deviation:

1) Take the average of all numbers.

2) Subtract the average from each element of the set

3) Square this difference (they're all positive now)

4) Add up all these numbers and divide by the number of elements

5) Take the square root of this number. (note: the square is the variance, not tested on the GMAT)

Again, you don't ever have to do this on the GMAT, but the concep can help unlock quick answers to standard deviation questions.

_________________

Ron Awad

Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor

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