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Kaplan contradict themselves on plugging in 1 and 0

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Kaplan contradict themselves on plugging in 1 and 0 [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2012, 14:03
Quote from Kaplan GMAT Premier 2012-2013 in the Problem Solving section related to the Picking Numbers strategy;

"The advice to use 0 and 1 is among the most commonly offered bad advice out there. Though 0 and 1 have properties that can complicate some problems, those same properties can radically simplify others. Don't be scared out of using two of the most powerful and manageable numbers in all of math!". It goes on to confirm that picking numbers is a valid approach where there are "(2) Variables in the answer choices".

Quote from Kaplan Lesson on Demand video number 14, 'Picking Numbers - Variables in the Answer Choices' video - free with Premier 2012-2013;

"In these types of questions you want avoid picking 1 or zero because they tend to make multiple answer choices the same thing."

So I guess they are right that this advice is common - they give it... :roll:
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Re: Kaplan contradict themselves on plugging in 1 and 0 [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2012, 12:46
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Hi Nick,

Thanks for pointing this out!

The issue here is that the advice applied to different types of problems! Unfortunately, we didn't do a good job making that distinction.

The properties of 1 and 0 cause them to behave oddly under a number of circumstances. That means that if you are trying to get a single solution to an algebraic word problem, their odd behavior is likely to bite you if you try to use them. However, on number properties problems--especially on data sufficiency--those very odd properties can be the only way to get an otherwise counterintuitive result, proving a statement is insufficient or that a certain choice isn't the answer to a "must be true" problem.

So, to paraphrase: avoid 1 and 0 on algebra! Use 1 and 0 on number properties!

Hope this help :-)

Eli
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Eli Meyer
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Kaplan contradict themselves on plugging in 1 and 0

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