Here is a non-standard way to look at the work problem:

assign numbers to the "job."

Take this particular question as an example.

Machines X can complete a certain job in 9 hours.

Let the job be: in this case, making 9 pieces of candies

So, Machine X's work rate = 1 candy per hour.

Then the question stated:

Machine X worked on the job alone for the first 3 hours

So, 6 more pieces of candies to go

Next: The two machines, working together, then completed the job in 4 more hours

We know that Machine X can produce 4 pieces of candies in 4 hours

So, Machine Y produces 2 pieces of candies in 4 hours, which is 0.5 piece per hour.

Thus, it will take 18 hours to produce 9 pieces of candies for machine Y alone.

This is what I came up with on the fly during the actual GMAT on a work problem that kinda confused me when I tried with the standard work function way... wondering why I didn't think of this way earlier.....

Nice and easy, with no fraction to confuse you... not to mention that candies are sure yummy

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