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Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean)

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Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X is 10, and the standard deviation is 4.6. Which of the following two numbers, when added to set X, will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the greatest amount?

A. -100 and -100
B. -10 and -10
C. 0 and 0
D. 0 and 20
E. 10 and 10
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by Bunuel on 24 Sep 2015, 03:52, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic, edited the question and added the OA.
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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Hussain15 wrote:
Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X is 10, and the standard deviation is 4.6. Which of the following two numbers, when added to set X, will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the greatest amount?

A. -100 & -100
B. -10 & -10
C. 0 & 0
D. 0 & 20
E. 10 & 10


Answer E

Standard Deviation is deviation from the mean. If all the numbers in a set are equal to mean, then the standard deviation will be zero.
Therefore, in the given set with mean of 10, if we add 10 & 10, then the standard deviation will reduce. All other numbers will increase the standard deviation.

Please note that B is not the answer. Mean is +10 and, therefore, -10 is 20 points away from +10 (its not equal to the mean). Therefore, -10 will increase the standard deviation of the given set.
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2010, 17:48
Clearly E, as the mean of the set is 10. Adding the mean as an extra value in the set will decrease the standard deviation.
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2010, 03:41
I have a doubt for this explaination.
The question says "will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the GREATEST amount" Now if SD is +ve then adding a negetive number will reduce the standard deviation correct?? and if SD is -ve then adding the positive number will reduce the standard deviation. the value of the added will depend on the number of data given.
Please correct me if i am wrong.
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2010, 06:04
I have another doubt:

If we will add 10 & 10 to set X, then the arithematic mean will not change i.e it will still be 10. Hence the standar deviation will not change & will remain the same. But our requirement is that SD will decrease in maximum.

What am I missing here?
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2010, 06:14
Hussain15 wrote:
I have another doubt:

If we will add 10 & 10 to set X, then the arithematic mean will not change i.e it will still be 10. Hence the standar deviation will not change & will remain the same. But our requirement is that SD will decrease in maximum.

What am I missing here?


I think the red portion in my statement above is not correct. SD will come down. :oops:
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2010, 06:43
Yes, this part is incorrect.

There will be no change in the average if you add (10, 10), but the difference will be zero, when we calculate for SD. So, SD will be <4.6.

E is correct, which brings the miminum sum after subtracting and squaring the differences for SD calculations.

Hussain15 wrote:
Hussain15 wrote:
I have another doubt:

If we will add 10 & 10 to set X, then the arithematic mean will not change i.e it will still be 10. Hence the standar deviation will not change & will remain the same. But our requirement is that SD will decrease in maximum.

What am I missing here?


I think the red portion in my statement above is not correct. SD will come down. :oops:

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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2010, 06:49
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Hussain15 wrote:
Hussain15 wrote:
I have another doubt:

If we will add 10 & 10 to set X, then the arithematic mean will not change i.e it will still be 10. Hence the standar deviation will not change & will remain the same. But our requirement is that SD will decrease in maximum.

What am I missing here?


I think the red portion in my statement above is not correct. SD will come down. :oops:


"Standard deviation shows how much variation there is from the mean. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the mean, whereas high standard deviation indicates that the data are spread out over a large range of values."

So when we add numbers, which are far from the mean we are stretching the set making SD bigger and when we add numbers which are close to the mean we are shrinking the set making SD smaller.

According to the above adding two numbers which are closest to the mean will shrink the set most, thus decreasing SD by the greatest amount.

Closest to the mean are 10 and 10 (actually these numbers equal to the mean) thus adding them will shrink the set most, thus decreasing SD by the greatest amount.

Answer: E.

amitjash wrote:
I have a doubt for this explaination.
The question says "will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the GREATEST amount" Now if SD is +ve then adding a negetive number will reduce the standard deviation correct?? and if SD is -ve then adding the positive number will reduce the standard deviation. the value of the added will depend on the number of data given.
Please correct me if i am wrong.


SD is always \(\geq{0}\). SD is 0 only when the list contains all identical elements (or which is same only 1 element).

For more on this issue please check Standard Deviation chapter of Math Book (link in my signature) and the following two topics for practice:
ps-questions-about-standard-deviation-85897.html
ds-questions-about-standard-deviation-85896.html
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2010, 10:48
You can prove it yourself with a couple quick calculations. Try calculating the SD for the set

{1,2,3}

and then calculate it for the set

{1,2,2,3}

Notice how it decreases.
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Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) [#permalink]

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Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X is 10, and the standard deviation is 4.6. Which of the following two numbers, when added to set X, will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the greatest amount?

A. -100 and -100
B. -10 and -10
C. 0 and 0
D. 0 and 20
E. 10 and 10
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shrive555 wrote:
Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X is 10, and the standard deviation is 4.6. Which of the following two numbers, when added to set X, will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the greatest amount?

A. -100 and -100
B. -10 and -10
C. 0 and 0
D. 0 and 20
E. 10 and 10


"Standard deviation shows how much variation there is from the mean. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the mean, whereas high standard deviation indicates that the data are spread out over a large range of values."

So when we add numbers, which are far from the mean we are stretching the set making SD bigger and when we add numbers which are close to the mean we are shrinking the set making SD smaller.

According to the above adding two numbers which are closest to the mean will shrink the set most, thus decreasing SD by the greatest amount.

Closest to the mean are 10 and 10 (actually these numbers equal to the mean) thus adding them will shrink the set most, thus decreasing SD by the greatest amount.

Answer: E.

For more on this issue please check Standard Deviation chapter of Math Book (link in my signature) and the following two topics for practice:
ps-questions-about-standard-deviation-85897.html
ds-questions-about-standard-deviation-85896.html

Hope it helps.
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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

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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2013, 00:33
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Bunuel wrote:
gmatgambler wrote:
Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X is 10, and the standard deviation is 4.6. Which of the following two numbers, when added to set X, will decrease the set’s standard deviation by the greatest amount?

A)-100 and -100
B)-10 and -10
C)0 and 0
D)0 and 20
E)10 and 10


Merging similar topics. Please refer to the solutions above.


Theory on Statistics and Sets problems: math-standard-deviation-87905.html

All DS Statistics and Sets problems to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=34
All PS Statistics and Sets problems to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=55


Similar questions to practice:
a-certain-list-has-an-average-of-6-and-a-standard-deviation-97473.html
a-certain-list-of-100-data-has-an-average-arithmetic-mean-87743.html
a-certain-list-of-200-test-scores-has-an-average-131448.html
new-ds-set-150653-60.html#p1211907
ps-questions-about-standard-deviation-85897.html
lately-many-questions-were-asked-about-the-standard-85896.html

Hope this helps.
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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

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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2014, 05:51
How I think about problems associated with means and standard deviations is with scattered data points. Since this question is regarding standard deviations (and how to reduce it), a quantity calculated to indicate the extent of deviation for the group -- the greater the deviation from the mean the greater the standard deviation. Therefore what data points will help to reduce deviation from the mean of set X [10]. If you add two points with the value of the mean their deviation will be 0, which is the smallest deviation you can add to the set of numbers.
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) of set X [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2015, 02:33
i reviewed math of Gmat club and found that 10,10 will not decrease the SD
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean) [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2015, 13:01
HIgh SD = Wide distribution of data in the set
Low SD = Closely associated data in the set

The intention is to reduce the SD

That implies the newer entrants into the set need to near the mean

Option A would Increase the SD the most
Option E would not affect as much.

Hence E
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Re: Set X consists of 100 numbers. The average (arithmetic mean)   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2015, 13:01
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