GMAT Question of the Day - Daily to your Mailbox; hard ones only

 It is currently 21 Oct 2019, 00:37 GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.  Absolute modulus : A better understanding

 new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics
Author Message
TAGS:

Hide Tags

Math Expert V
Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 7998
Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

88
2
258
Attachment:
File comment: |x+2|=3-2x docu1.png [ 43.31 KiB | Viewed 81766 times ]

I had a PM and a profile comment asking about the absolute modulus, its concept and in particular a Question discussed on various occassion " How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....
Just thought to write down few concepts I have gathered. I have not gone through various Topics on Absolute Modulus in this Forum, so maybe few points are repetition.

Although difficult for a topic like this, I'll try to follow KISS- Keep It Short and Simple. So, let me touch the concepts now..

what is absolute modulus?

Absolute modulus is the numeric value of any number without any sign or in other words ' the distance from the origin'. It will always be positive.

What kind of Qs can one see in GMAT?

The Q will ask either the values of x or how many values can x take?..
most often what one can encounter is a linear Equation with...
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..

What are the methods

..
three methods..
1) As the property suggests, Open each modulus in both +ive and -ive ....
2) Critical value
3) Graphical method..

Opening each modulus

It is a time consuming process where you open each mod in both positive and negative and the number of Equations thus formed will increase as we increase the no of mods..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..

i) (x+2) + 2x=3.. 3x+2=3 x=1/3.. valid value
ii) -(x+2)+2x=3.. x-2=3..x=5...
but if we substitute x=5 in |x+2| + 2x= 3..... |x+2| will turn out to be a negative value so discard
so one value of x..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here you will have four equations..
i)(x+2)=(x-3)+1.. both positive

ii)-(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative

iii)-(x+2)=(x-3)+1..one positive and other negative

iv)(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. opposite of the one on top

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
it will further increase the number of equations..

Suggestion.. time consuming and susceptible to errors in opening of brackets and at times requires more to negate the values found as in first example.

Critical method

lets find what happens in this before trying the Qs as this was the main query..
Step 1 :- for each mod, there is a value of x that will make that mod to 0..
Step 2 :- the minimum value of a mod will be 0 and at this value of x, the mod has the lowest value...
Once we know this critical value, we work on the mod for values lesser than(<) that or more than(>)that and including the critical value in either of them,
we assign a sign, + or -, depending on what will happen to the value inside the mod in each scenario(in one scenario it will be positive and in other, negative)..
Step 3 :- after assigning the sign, we solve for x and see if the value of x that we get is possible depending on which side of critical value we are working on..

So what are we doing here
We are assuming a certain region for value of x and then solving for x.. If the value found matches the initial assumption, we take that as a solution or discard that value, which would mean that there is no value of x in that assumed region

lets see the three examples
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
here x+2 will be 0 at x=-2..
so Critical value =-2..
so two regions are <-2 and >= -2

i)when x<-2, |x+2|will be given negative sign.. for this assign any value in that region say -3 in this case x+2 will become -3+2=-1 hence a negative sign..
-(x+2)+2x=3..
x-2=3.. x=5, which is not in the region <-2.. so not a valid value..

ii)when x>=-2, |x+2|will be given positive sign.. for this assign any value in that region say 3 in this case x+2 will become 3+2= 5 hence a positive sign..
(x+2)+2x=3..
3x+2=3.. x=1/3, which is in the region >=-2.. so a valid value..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
critical values -2 and 3...
so regions are <-2, -2<=x<3, x>=3..

i) x<-2...
x+2 will be -ive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes -(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative
-x-2=-x+3+1..... no values..

ii) $$-2<=x<3$$..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes (x+2)=-(x-3)+1..
x+2=-x+3+1..
x=1.. valid value

iii)x>=3..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be positive ..
eq becomes (x+2)=(x-3)+1..
x+2=x-3+1..
no valid value..
so the solution is x=1

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
its time consuming and can be solved similarly..

Graphical method

for graphical method we will have to again use the critical point..
at critical point, it is the lowest value of mod and on either side it increases with a negative slope on one side and positive slope on other side
so it forms a 'V' shape in linear equation and a 'U ' curve for Quadratic Equation..
If the mod has a negative sign in front, -|x+3|, it will have an "inverted V" shape with max value at critical value..

lets see the three examples..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
critical value at -2 and equation can be written as
|x+2| = 3-2x..
we take y=|x+2| and draw a graph and then take y=3-2x and again draw graph..
the point of intersection is our value.. b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here we will take y=|x+2| and y=|x-3|+1
again the point of intersection of two sides will give us the value of x.. c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
Here we have three critical values, but the graph will still be only two, one for LHS and one for RHS..
It will not be three for three mod as someone has drawn it in one of the discussions on this Q..
again we see the intersection of two graph.. there are no points of intersection , so no solution

THE FINER POINT

1) Opening modulus is time consuming, susceptible to error, and the answer found can still be wrong and has to checked by putting the values in mod again..
should be least priority and should be used by someone has not been able to grasp finer points of other two methods..

2) "Critical method" should be the one used in most circumstances although it requires a good understanding of signs given to the mod when opened within a region.
It has to be the method, when you are looking for values of X..

3) "Graphical method" is useful in finding the number of values of x, as getting accurate values of x may be difficult while estimating from free hand graphs..
but if understood much faster and easier to find sol for Q like How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....

Hope it helps atleast a few of you..
Attachments

File comment: |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| .. docu3.png [ 32.95 KiB | Viewed 81593 times ]

File comment: |x+2|=|x-3|+1.. docu2.png [ 40.42 KiB | Viewed 81525 times ]

_________________
Math Expert V
Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 7998
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

60
6
periyar22 wrote:
This is a very confusing method of solving. What is rear? I cant believe this person who spells rare as rear is an expert

Mr periyar,
Firstly, these are the methods used to solve modulus. So, if you find them confusing, you will have to learn them or leave the topic or invent a new method to solve it.
Secondly this post is related to quant, and I hope you are not mistaking this to be a verbal post, as you seem to be more interested in spellings. Thankfully, you found only one mistake in the big post above. But it is surprising, you could not avoid a mistake in even a single line you have written in last two years. It is not cant but can't.
Anyway, experts badge does not mean anyone should follow what he writes and in the same way, it is not necessary if an intelligent person but without a expert badge, like you, writes people will not follow. Please use this forum and assist others and surely people will follow you more than they follow any expert.
By the way, I will not edit rare and rear as it is a mark of your keen observation.
_________________
Retired Moderator V
Joined: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 1195
Location: India
GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V41 GPA: 4
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

4
6
Thank you Chetan for this. I would like to share an alternate method for solving absolute equations which can be used for as many variables: [I used this while persuing my engg.]

While solving the below equation:
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x|

=> |x+3|-|4-x|-|8+x|=0
Therefore the critical points will be x=-8,-3 and 4

Case 1. Now when x<-8 on the number line
|x+3| will open with a -ve sign, |4-x| will open with a +ve sign and |8+x| will open with a -ve sign
Therefore, equation will be
=> -x-3-4+x+8+x=0
=> x=-1; Now if we notice this value of x doesn't match with the case value i.e. x<-8 therefore this is not a correct answer.

Case 2. Now when -8<x<-3 on the number line
|x+3| will open with a +ve sign, |4-x| will open with a +ve sign and |8+x| will open with a +ve sign
Therefore, equation will be
=> x+3-4+x-8-x=0
=> x=9; Now if we notice this value of x doesn't match with the case value i.e. -8<x<-3 therefore this is not a correct answer.

Case 3. Now when -3<x<4 on the number line
|x+3| will open with a +ve sign, |4-x| will open with a +ve sign and |8+x| will open with a +ve sign
Therefore, equation will be
=> x+3-4+x-8-x=0
=> x=9; Now if we notice this value of x doesn't match with the case value i.e. -3<x<4 therefore this is not a correct answer.

Case 4. Now when x>4 on the number line
|x+3| will open with a +ve sign, |4-x| will open with a -ve sign and |8+x| will open with a +ve sign
Therefore, equation will be
=> x+3+4-x-8-x=0
=> x=-1; Now if we notice this value of x doesn't match with the case value i.e. x>4 therefore this is not a correct answer.

Therefore there is no solution to this equation.
_________________
General Discussion
Intern  B
Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 12
Location: India
Concentration: Technology, General Management
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

2
nice post and exactly what i was looking for Math Expert V
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 58395
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

8
41
udbhav2412 wrote:
nice post and exactly what i was looking for In addition to Chetan's excellent post on absolute values, you can find the following topics useful:

Theory on Absolute Values: math-absolute-value-modulus-86462.html
The E-GMAT Question Series on ABSOLUTE VALUE: the-e-gmat-question-series-on-absolute-value-198503.html
Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT: properties-of-absolute-values-on-the-gmat-191317.html
Absolute Value: Tips and hints: absolute-value-tips-and-hints-175002.html

DS Absolute Values Questions to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=37
PS Absolute Values Questions to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=58

Hard set on Absolute Values: inequality-and-absolute-value-questions-from-my-collection-86939.html

For other topics please refer to ALL YOU NEED FOR QUANT ! ! !.

Hope it helps.
_________________
Intern  B
Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 12
Location: India
Concentration: Technology, General Management
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Bunuel wrote:
udbhav2412 wrote:
nice post and exactly what i was looking for In addition to Chetan's excellent post on absolute values, you can find the following topics useful:

Theory on Absolute Values: math-absolute-value-modulus-86462.html
The E-GMAT Question Series on ABSOLUTE VALUE: the-e-gmat-question-series-on-absolute-value-198503.html
Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT: properties-of-absolute-values-on-the-gmat-191317.html
Absolute Value: Tips and hints: absolute-value-tips-and-hints-175002.html

DS Absolute Values Questions to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=37
PS Absolute Values Questions to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=58

Hard set on Absolute Values: inequality-and-absolute-value-questions-from-my-collection-86939.html

For other topics please refer to ALL YOU NEED FOR QUANT ! ! !.

Hope it helps.

Thanks a lot Brunel Senior Manager  Joined: 31 Mar 2016
Posts: 375
Location: India
Concentration: Operations, Finance
GMAT 1: 670 Q48 V34 GPA: 3.8
WE: Operations (Commercial Banking)
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

1
1
these gentlemen Chetan2u and Bunuel are fab peeps i just discovered this pot of gold! Thanks Chetan2u given kudos for this!
Manager  B
Joined: 07 May 2015
Posts: 174
Location: India
GMAT 1: 660 Q48 V31 GPA: 3
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Thanks Chetan for compiling this.
I have realized GMAT is all about concepts, tips and tricks. Surely this is good one.
Manager  B
Joined: 28 Apr 2016
Posts: 84
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

1
Thanks Chetan, this helps a lot, especially since my D-day is fast approaching.

I had 2 questions though.

1. (A very basic one) When it comes to inequalities with mod, say | X + 1 | > 6, then, when we open the mod which of these is the correct expression?

A. X + 1 > 6 or X + 1 > - 6

B. X + 1 > 6 or X + 1 < - 6 (Basically do we flip the sing when we take the negative?)

2. Also, does the 'critical number' and 'open the modulus' apply for quadritic equations and inequalities as well, or de we have to rely only on the graph technique?
Intern  Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 3
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Can you please explain how the 3 mod equation is graphed on detail?

thanks man

Posted from my mobile device
Intern  B
Joined: 01 Sep 2016
Posts: 48
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

2
1
Hi Chetan,
Thankfully , i bumped into this post of yours',while reading your reply to my query on SC.
I was looking for such an explanation on Mods.I find this Topic on QA rather confusing.

Will take time out to to understand your explanation
Thanks Again chetan2u wrote:
Attachment:
docu1.png

I had a PM and a profile comment asking about the absolute modulus, its concept and in particular a Question discussed on various occassion " How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....
Just thought to write down few concepts I have gathered. I have not gone through various Topics on Absolute Modulus in this Forum, so maybe few points are repetition.

Although difficult for a topic like this, I'll try to follow KISS- Keep It Short and Simple. So, let me touch the concepts now..

what is absolute modulus?

Absolute modulus is the numeric value of any number without any sign or in other words ' the distance from the origin'. It will always be positive.

What kind of Qs can one see in GMAT?

The Q will ask either the values of x or how many values can x take?..
most often what one can encounter is a linear Equation with...
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..

What are the methods

..
three methods..
1) As the property suggests, Open each modulus in both +ive and -ive ....
2) Critical value
3) Graphical method..

Opening each modulus

It is a time consuming process where you open each mod in both positive and negative and the number of Equations thus formed will increase as we increase the no of mods..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..

i) (x+2) + 2x=3.. 3x+2=3 x=1/3.. valid value
ii) -(x+2)+2x=3.. x-2=3..x=5...
but if we substitute x=5 in |x+2| + 2x= 3..... |x+2| will turn out to be a negative value so discard
so one value of x..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here you will have four equations..
i)(x+2)=(x-3)+1.. both positive

ii)-(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative

iii)-(x+2)=(x-3)+1..one positive and other negative

iv)(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. opposite of the one on top

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
it will further increase the number of equations..

Suggestion.. time consuming and susceptible to errors in opening of brackets and at times requires more to negate the values found as in first example.

Critical method

lets find what happens in this before trying the Qs as this was the main query..
Step 1 :- for each mod, there is a value of x that will make that mod to 0..
Step 2 :- the minimum value of a mod will be 0 and at this value of x, the mod has the lowest value...
Once we know this critical value, we work on the mod for values lesser than(<) that or more than(>)that and including the critical value in either of them,
we assign a sign, + or -, depending on what will happen to the value inside the mod in each scenario(in one scenario it will be positive and in other, negative)..
Step 3 :- after assigning the sign, we solve for x and see if the value of x that we get is possible depending on which side of critical value we are working on..

So what are we doing here
We are assuming a certain region for value of x and then solving for x.. If the value found matches the initial assumption, we take that as a solution or discard that value, which would mean that there is no value of x in that assumed region

lets see the three examples
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
here x+2 will be 0 at x=-2..
so Critical value =-2..
so two regions are <-2 and >= -2

i)when x<-2, |x+2|will be given negative sign.. for this assign any value in that region say -3 in this case x+2 will become -3+2=-1 hence a negative sign..
-(x+2)+2x=3..
x-2=3.. x=5, which is not in the region <-2.. so not a valid value..

ii)when x>=-2, |x+2|will be given positive sign.. for this assign any value in that region say 3 in this case x+2 will become 3+2= 5 hence a positive sign..
(x+2)+2x=3..
3x+2=3.. x=1/3, which is in the region >=-2.. so a valid value..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
critical values -2 and 3...
so regions are <-2, -2<=x<3, x>=3..

i) x<-2...
x+2 will be -ive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes -(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative
-x-2=-x+3+1..... no values..

ii) $$-2<=x<3$$..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes (x+2)=-(x-3)+1..
x+2=-x+3+1..
x=1.. valid value

iii)x>=3..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be positive ..
eq becomes (x+2)=(x-3)+1..
x+2=x-3+1..
no valid value..
so the solution is x=1

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
its time consuming and can be solved similarly..

Graphical method

for graphical method we will have to again use the critical point..
at critical point, it is the lowest value of mod and on either side it increases with a negative slope on one side and positive slope on other side
so it forms a 'V' shape in linear equation and a 'U ' curve for Quadratic Equation..
If the mod has a negative sign in front, -|x+3|, it will have an "inverted V" shape with max value at critical value..

lets see the three examples..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
critical value at -2 and equation can be written as
|x+2| = 3-2x..
we take y=|x+2| and draw a graph and then take y=3-2x and again draw graph..
the point of intersection is our value.. b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here we will take y=|x+2| and y=|x-3|+1
again the point of intersection of two sides will give us the value of x.. c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
Here we have three critical values, but the graph will still be only two, one for LHS and one for RHS..
It will not be three for three mod as someone has drawn it in one of the discussions on this Q..
again we see the intersection of two graph.. there are no points of intersection , so no solution

THE FINER POINT

1) Opening modulus is time consuming, susceptible to error, and the answer found can still be wrong and has to checked by putting the values in mod again..
should be least priority and should be used by someone has not been able to grasp finer points of other two methods..

2) "Critical method" should be the one used in most circumstances although it requires a good understanding of signs given to the mod when opened within a region.
It has to be the method, when you are looking for values of X..

3) "Graphical method" is useful in finding the number of values of x, as getting accurate values of x may be difficult while estimating from free hand graphs..
but if understood much faster and easier to find sol for Q like How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....

Hope it helps atleast a few of you..
Intern  B
Joined: 01 Sep 2016
Posts: 48
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Hi Bunuel,
Super thanks for the additional links on MODs Regards,
Abhishek

Bunuel wrote:
udbhav2412 wrote:
nice post and exactly what i was looking for In addition to Chetan's excellent post on absolute values, you can find the following topics useful:

Theory on Absolute Values: math-absolute-value-modulus-86462.html
The E-GMAT Question Series on ABSOLUTE VALUE: the-e-gmat-question-series-on-absolute-value-198503.html
Properties of Absolute Values on the GMAT: properties-of-absolute-values-on-the-gmat-191317.html
Absolute Value: Tips and hints: absolute-value-tips-and-hints-175002.html

DS Absolute Values Questions to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=37
PS Absolute Values Questions to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=58

Hard set on Absolute Values: inequality-and-absolute-value-questions-from-my-collection-86939.html

For other topics please refer to ALL YOU NEED FOR QUANT ! ! !.

Hope it helps.
Senior Manager  G
Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 256
Location: India
GPA: 3.9
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Hi Chetan,

First of all, thanks for sharing this information. In graphical method, I could not get how did you draw the graph for two modes at one side (x+3|-|4-x|) . My question might be silly but I could not get it. Please explain. Thanks once again.
Math Expert V
Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 7998
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

3
AR15J wrote:
Hi Chetan,

First of all, thanks for sharing this information. In graphical method, I could not get how did you draw the graph for two modes at one side (x+3|-|4-x|) . My question might be silly but I could not get it. Please explain. Thanks once again.

Hi,

The LHS is|x+3|-|4-x|...
Take this to be equal to y, so y=|x+3|-|4-x|•••••
Now find y for different values of x..
When x=0, y=|0+3|-|4-0|=-1...
When x=1, y=|1+3|-|4-1|=1...
For all values of x as 7 & above 7, y will be a constant 7... and below -7, y will be -7...
You can draw the graph with these points..
_________________
Intern  S
Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 30
GMAT 1: 530 Q33 V28 Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Beautifully explained. Can't thank you enough. THANKYOU !!
_________________
Intern  S
Joined: 10 Jun 2016
Posts: 45
Schools: IIM-A"19
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Chetan Very well explained. Hope we have similar summary for all GMAT question types and it would be Awesome reference guide. Great effort. Kudos to you.
_________________
Thank You Very Much,
CoolKl
Success is the Journey from Knowing to Doing

A Kudo is a gesture, to express the effort helped. Thanks for your Kudos.
Current Student P
Joined: 12 Oct 2015
Posts: 214
GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V39 GPA: 3
WE: Accounting (Accounting)
Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

Amazing thank you! Kudos to you
_________________
Winners dont make excuses.

350--> 700

https://gmatclub.com/forum/700-q47-v39-ir-7-awa-246682.html
Manager  B
Status: Preparing
Joined: 05 May 2016
Posts: 53
Location: India
Concentration: International Business, Finance
Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

@
chetan2u wrote:
Attachment:
docu1.png

I had a PM and a profile comment asking about the absolute modulus, its concept and in particular a Question discussed on various occassion " How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....
Just thought to write down few concepts I have gathered. I have not gone through various Topics on Absolute Modulus in this Forum, so maybe few points are repetition.

Although difficult for a topic like this, I'll try to follow KISS- Keep It Short and Simple. So, let me touch the concepts now..

what is absolute modulus?

Absolute modulus is the numeric value of any number without any sign or in other words ' the distance from the origin'. It will always be positive.

What kind of Qs can one see in GMAT?

The Q will ask either the values of x or how many values can x take?..
most often what one can encounter is a linear Equation with...
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..

What are the methods

..
three methods..
1) As the property suggests, Open each modulus in both +ive and -ive ....
2) Critical value
3) Graphical method..

Opening each modulus

It is a time consuming process where you open each mod in both positive and negative and the number of Equations thus formed will increase as we increase the no of mods..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..

i) (x+2) + 2x=3.. 3x+2=3 x=1/3.. valid value
ii) -(x+2)+2x=3.. x-2=3..x=5...
but if we substitute x=5 in |x+2| + 2x= 3..... |x+2| will turn out to be a negative value so discard
so one value of x..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here you will have four equations..
i)(x+2)=(x-3)+1.. both positive

ii)-(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative

iii)-(x+2)=(x-3)+1..one positive and other negative

iv)(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. opposite of the one on top

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
it will further increase the number of equations..

Suggestion.. time consuming and susceptible to errors in opening of brackets and at times requires more to negate the values found as in first example.

Critical method

lets find what happens in this before trying the Qs as this was the main query..
Step 1 :- for each mod, there is a value of x that will make that mod to 0..
Step 2 :- the minimum value of a mod will be 0 and at this value of x, the mod has the lowest value...
Once we know this critical value, we work on the mod for values lesser than(<) that or more than(>)that and including the critical value in either of them,
we assign a sign, + or -, depending on what will happen to the value inside the mod in each scenario(in one scenario it will be positive and in other, negative)..
Step 3 :- after assigning the sign, we solve for x and see if the value of x that we get is possible depending on which side of critical value we are working on..

So what are we doing here
We are assuming a certain region for value of x and then solving for x.. If the value found matches the initial assumption, we take that as a solution or discard that value, which would mean that there is no value of x in that assumed region

lets see the three examples
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
here x+2 will be 0 at x=-2..
so Critical value =-2..
so two regions are <-2 and >= -2

i)when x<-2, |x+2|will be given negative sign.. for this assign any value in that region say -3 in this case x+2 will become -3+2=-1 hence a negative sign..
-(x+2)+2x=3..
x-2=3.. x=5, which is not in the region <-2.. so not a valid value..

ii)when x>=-2, |x+2|will be given positive sign.. for this assign any value in that region say 3 in this case x+2 will become 3+2= 5 hence a positive sign..
(x+2)+2x=3..
3x+2=3.. x=1/3, which is in the region >=-2.. so a valid value..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
critical values -2 and 3...
so regions are <-2, -2<=x<3, x>=3..

i) x<-2...
x+2 will be -ive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes -(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative
-x-2=-x+3+1..... no values..

ii) $$-2<=x<3$$..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes (x+2)=-(x-3)+1..
x+2=-x+3+1..
x=1.. valid value

iii)x>=3..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be positive ..
eq becomes (x+2)=(x-3)+1..
x+2=x-3+1..
no valid value..
so the solution is x=1

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
its time consuming and can be solved similarly..

Graphical method

for graphical method we will have to again use the critical point..
at critical point, it is the lowest value of mod and on either side it increases with a negative slope on one side and positive slope on other side
so it forms a 'V' shape in linear equation and a 'U ' curve for Quadratic Equation..
If the mod has a negative sign in front, -|x+3|, it will have an "inverted V" shape with max value at critical value..

lets see the three examples..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
critical value at -2 and equation can be written as
|x+2| = 3-2x..
we take y=|x+2| and draw a graph and then take y=3-2x and again draw graph..
the point of intersection is our value.. b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here we will take y=|x+2| and y=|x-3|+1
again the point of intersection of two sides will give us the value of x.. c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
Here we have three critical values, but the graph will still be only two, one for LHS and one for RHS..
It will not be three for three mod as someone has drawn it in one of the discussions on this Q..
again we see the intersection of two graph.. there are no points of intersection , so no solution

THE FINER POINT

1) Opening modulus is time consuming, susceptible to error, and the answer found can still be wrong and has to checked by putting the values in mod again..
should be least priority and should be used by someone has not been able to grasp finer points of other two methods..

2) "Critical method" should be the one used in most circumstances although it requires a good understanding of signs given to the mod when opened within a region.
It has to be the method, when you are looking for values of X..

3) "Graphical method" is useful in finding the number of values of x, as getting accurate values of x may be difficult while estimating from free hand graphs..
but if understood much faster and easier to find sol for Q like How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....

Hope it helps atleast a few of you..

Awesome post.This is what i was looking for. One small doubt. Can you please explain how we can simplify |4-x|? I think we can write it like |x-4|, but want to understand the concept that why we can write it like this?
Current Student D
Joined: 12 Aug 2015
Posts: 2567
Schools: Boston U '20 (M)
GRE 1: Q169 V154 Re: Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

nishantt7 wrote:
@
chetan2u wrote:
Attachment:
docu1.png

I had a PM and a profile comment asking about the absolute modulus, its concept and in particular a Question discussed on various occassion " How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....
Just thought to write down few concepts I have gathered. I have not gone through various Topics on Absolute Modulus in this Forum, so maybe few points are repetition.

Although difficult for a topic like this, I'll try to follow KISS- Keep It Short and Simple. So, let me touch the concepts now..

what is absolute modulus?

Absolute modulus is the numeric value of any number without any sign or in other words ' the distance from the origin'. It will always be positive.

What kind of Qs can one see in GMAT?

The Q will ask either the values of x or how many values can x take?..
most often what one can encounter is a linear Equation with...
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..

What are the methods

..
three methods..
1) As the property suggests, Open each modulus in both +ive and -ive ....
2) Critical value
3) Graphical method..

Opening each modulus

It is a time consuming process where you open each mod in both positive and negative and the number of Equations thus formed will increase as we increase the no of mods..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..

i) (x+2) + 2x=3.. 3x+2=3 x=1/3.. valid value
ii) -(x+2)+2x=3.. x-2=3..x=5...
but if we substitute x=5 in |x+2| + 2x= 3..... |x+2| will turn out to be a negative value so discard
so one value of x..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here you will have four equations..
i)(x+2)=(x-3)+1.. both positive

ii)-(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative

iii)-(x+2)=(x-3)+1..one positive and other negative

iv)(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. opposite of the one on top

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
it will further increase the number of equations..

Suggestion.. time consuming and susceptible to errors in opening of brackets and at times requires more to negate the values found as in first example.

Critical method

lets find what happens in this before trying the Qs as this was the main query..
Step 1 :- for each mod, there is a value of x that will make that mod to 0..
Step 2 :- the minimum value of a mod will be 0 and at this value of x, the mod has the lowest value...
Once we know this critical value, we work on the mod for values lesser than(<) that or more than(>)that and including the critical value in either of them,
we assign a sign, + or -, depending on what will happen to the value inside the mod in each scenario(in one scenario it will be positive and in other, negative)..
Step 3 :- after assigning the sign, we solve for x and see if the value of x that we get is possible depending on which side of critical value we are working on..

So what are we doing here
We are assuming a certain region for value of x and then solving for x.. If the value found matches the initial assumption, we take that as a solution or discard that value, which would mean that there is no value of x in that assumed region

lets see the three examples
a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
here x+2 will be 0 at x=-2..
so Critical value =-2..
so two regions are <-2 and >= -2

i)when x<-2, |x+2|will be given negative sign.. for this assign any value in that region say -3 in this case x+2 will become -3+2=-1 hence a negative sign..
-(x+2)+2x=3..
x-2=3.. x=5, which is not in the region <-2.. so not a valid value..

ii)when x>=-2, |x+2|will be given positive sign.. for this assign any value in that region say 3 in this case x+2 will become 3+2= 5 hence a positive sign..
(x+2)+2x=3..
3x+2=3.. x=1/3, which is in the region >=-2.. so a valid value..

b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
critical values -2 and 3...
so regions are <-2, -2<=x<3, x>=3..

i) x<-2...
x+2 will be -ive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes -(x+2)=-(x-3)+1.. both negative
-x-2=-x+3+1..... no values..

ii) $$-2<=x<3$$..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be negative ..
eq becomes (x+2)=-(x-3)+1..
x+2=-x+3+1..
x=1.. valid value

iii)x>=3..
x+2 will be positive and x-3 will be positive ..
eq becomes (x+2)=(x-3)+1..
x+2=x-3+1..
no valid value..
so the solution is x=1

c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
its time consuming and can be solved similarly..

Graphical method

for graphical method we will have to again use the critical point..
at critical point, it is the lowest value of mod and on either side it increases with a negative slope on one side and positive slope on other side
so it forms a 'V' shape in linear equation and a 'U ' curve for Quadratic Equation..
If the mod has a negative sign in front, -|x+3|, it will have an "inverted V" shape with max value at critical value..

lets see the three examples..

a) only one Mod
eg.. |x+2| + 2x= 3..
critical value at -2 and equation can be written as
|x+2| = 3-2x..
we take y=|x+2| and draw a graph and then take y=3-2x and again draw graph..
the point of intersection is our value.. b) two mods..
|x+2|=|x-3|+1..
here we will take y=|x+2| and y=|x-3|+1
again the point of intersection of two sides will give us the value of x.. c) three mods.. very rare
|x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| ..
Here we have three critical values, but the graph will still be only two, one for LHS and one for RHS..
It will not be three for three mod as someone has drawn it in one of the discussions on this Q..
again we see the intersection of two graph.. there are no points of intersection , so no solution

THE FINER POINT

1) Opening modulus is time consuming, susceptible to error, and the answer found can still be wrong and has to checked by putting the values in mod again..
should be least priority and should be used by someone has not been able to grasp finer points of other two methods..

2) "Critical method" should be the one used in most circumstances although it requires a good understanding of signs given to the mod when opened within a region.
It has to be the method, when you are looking for values of X..

3) "Graphical method" is useful in finding the number of values of x, as getting accurate values of x may be difficult while estimating from free hand graphs..
but if understood much faster and easier to find sol for Q like How many solutions does the equation |x+3|-|4-x|=|8+x| have?....

Hope it helps atleast a few of you..

Awesome post.This is what i was looking for. One small doubt. Can you please explain how we can simplify |4-x|? I think we can write it like |x-4|, but want to understand the concept that why we can write it like this?

That is correct.
If you keep the modulus sign intact =>Then absolutely we can.

In case you decide to remove the modulus sign-->
|4-x| => 4-x for x<4
=> x-4 for x>4
=> 4 for x=4

_________________
Manager  S
Joined: 02 May 2016
Posts: 75
Location: India
Concentration: Entrepreneurship
GRE 1: Q163 V154 WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Absolute modulus : A better understanding  [#permalink]

Show Tags

I wonder why I didn't come across this before...
Brilliant post.
I used only first method-always, and that is why struggled with 2 and 3 mod questions.
And amazing work on "How many solutions does the equation with more than 1 mod have". Made my life easier.

A big big big Thank You!  Absolute modulus : A better understanding   [#permalink] 08 Aug 2017, 05:00

Go to page    1   2    Next  [ 39 posts ]

Display posts from previous: Sort by

Absolute modulus : A better understanding

 new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics

 Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne  