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Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

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Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 10:51
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Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 11:15
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ShreeCS wrote:
Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3


Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3 --> \(n^3-n=n(n^2-1)=(n-1)n(n+1)=3q\). Now, \(n-1\), \(n\), and \(n+1\) are 3 consecutive integers and one of them must be multiple of 3, so no wonder that their product is a multiple of 3. However we don't know which one is a multiple of 3. Not sufficient.

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3 --> \(n^3 + 2n^2+ n=n(n^2+2n+1)=n(n+1)^2=3p\) --> so either \(n\) or \(n+1\) is a multiple of 3, as out of 3 consecutive integers \(n-1\), \(n\), and \(n+1\) only one is a multiple of 3 then knowing that it's either \(n\) or \(n+1\) tells us that \(n-1\) IS NOT multiple of 3. Sufficient.

Answer: B.
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Re: Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3? [#permalink] New post 12 Sep 2012, 05:17
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Bunuel wrote:
ShreeCS wrote:
Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3


Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3 --> \(n^3-n=n(n^2-1)=(n-1)n(n+1)=3q\). Now, \(n-1\), \(n\), and \(n+1\) are 3 consecutive integers and one of them must be multiple of 3, so no wonder that their product is a multiple of 3. However we don't know which one is a multiple of 3. Not sufficient.

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3 --> \(n^3 + 2n^2+ n=n(n^2+2n+1)=n(n+1)^2=3p\) --> so either \(n\) or \(n+1\) is a multiple of 3, as out of 3 consecutive integers \(n-1\), \(n\), and \(n+1\) only one is a multiple of 3 then knowing that it's either \(n\) or \(n+1\) tells us that \(n-1\) IS NOT multiple of 3. Sufficient.

Answer: B.


Hi Bunuel,
I got a question. "Is positive integer n-1 a multiple of 3" doesn't require a specific answer?
Through the Statement 2 we figure out that n-1 is a multiple of 3 only if n+1 would be as well, and the answer is yes, conversely if n would be a multiple of 3, in this case the answer is no.
Could me please explain better this doubt
Thank you
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Re: Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3? [#permalink] New post 12 Sep 2012, 05:29
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mario1987 wrote:
Bunuel wrote:
ShreeCS wrote:
Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3


Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?

(1) n^3 – n is a multiple of 3 --> \(n^3-n=n(n^2-1)=(n-1)n(n+1)=3q\). Now, \(n-1\), \(n\), and \(n+1\) are 3 consecutive integers and one of them must be multiple of 3, so no wonder that their product is a multiple of 3. However we don't know which one is a multiple of 3. Not sufficient.

(2) n^3 + 2n^2+ n is a multiple of 3 --> \(n^3 + 2n^2+ n=n(n^2+2n+1)=n(n+1)^2=3p\) --> so either \(n\) or \(n+1\) is a multiple of 3, as out of 3 consecutive integers \(n-1\), \(n\), and \(n+1\) only one is a multiple of 3 then knowing that it's either \(n\) or \(n+1\) tells us that \(n-1\) IS NOT multiple of 3. Sufficient.

Answer: B.


Hi Bunuel,
I got a question. "Is positive integer n-1 a multiple of 3" doesn't require a specific answer?
Through the Statement 2 we figure out that n-1 is a multiple of 3 only if n+1 would be as well, and the answer is yes, conversely if n would be a multiple of 3, in this case the answer is no.
Could me please explain better this doubt
Thank you


In a Yes/No Data Sufficiency question, statement(s) is sufficient if the answer is “always yes” or “always no” while a statement(s) is insufficient if the answer is "sometimes yes" and "sometimes no".

The question asks whether n-1 is a multiple of 3, and from (2) we have a definite NO answer to this question, so this statement is sufficient.

Hope it's clear.
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NEW TO MATH FORUM? PLEASE READ THIS: ALL YOU NEED FOR QUANT!!!

PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW: 12 Rules for Posting!!!

RESOURCES: [GMAT MATH BOOK]; 1. Triangles; 2. Polygons; 3. Coordinate Geometry; 4. Factorials; 5. Circles; 6. Number Theory; 7. Remainders; 8. Overlapping Sets; 9. PDF of Math Book; 10. Remainders; 11. GMAT Prep Software Analysis ; 12. SEVEN SAMURAI OF 2012 (BEST DISCUSSIONS) ; 12. Tricky questions from previous years.

COLLECTION OF QUESTIONS:
PS: 1. Tough and Tricky questions; 2. Hard questions; 3. Hard questions part 2; 4. Standard deviation; 5. Tough Problem Solving Questions With Solutions; 6. Probability and Combinations Questions With Solutions; 7 Tough and tricky exponents and roots questions; 8 12 Easy Pieces (or not?); 9 Bakers' Dozen; 10 Algebra set. ,11 Mixed Questions, 12 Fresh Meat

DS: 1. DS tough questions; 2. DS tough questions part 2; 3. DS tough questions part 3; 4. DS Standard deviation; 5. Inequalities; 6. 700+ GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions With Explanations; 7 Tough and tricky exponents and roots questions; 8 The Discreet Charm of the DS ; 9 Devil's Dozen!!!; 10 Number Properties set., 11 New DS set.


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Re: Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3? [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 02:15
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Re: Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3? [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2014, 02:56
(1): Pick numbers. If n=5 then 5³-5 = 120 = multiple of 3, but n-1 = 4 no multiple of 3. And 4³-4 = 60 = multiple of 3 and 4-1 = 3 which is a multiple of 3. Insufficient. This will stay IS so the answer will be B or E.

(2) This is a bit trickier. First, simplify the expression:
n³+2n²+n = n(n²+2n+1) = n(n+1)² --> Multiple of 3. For this to be a multiple of 3, EITHER n OR n+1 is a multiple of 3 (both is not possible since they are consecutive integers).
Now pick numbers again: if n=5, then n+1 = 6 = multiple of 3, which satisfies the equation.
If n=3, then n is a multiple of 3, which again satisfies the equation.
Note that in both cases n - 1 is NOT a multiple of 3, which answers the question is n-1 a multiple of 3?

The Answer is B
Re: Is positive integer n – 1 a multiple of 3?   [#permalink] 04 Sep 2014, 02:56
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