Divisibility/Multiples/Factors: Tips and hints

DIVISIBILITY1. Every GMAT divisibility question will tell you in advance that any unknowns represent positive integers (ALL GMAT divisibility questions are limited to positive integers only).

2. On the GMAT when we are told that \(a\) is divisible by \(b\) (or which is the same: "\(a\) is multiple of \(b\)", or "\(b\) is a factor of \(a\)"), we can say that:

(i) \(a\) is an integer;

(ii) \(b\) is an integer;

(iii) \(\frac{a}{b}=integer\).

FACTORS1. A divisor of an

integer \(n\), also called a factor of \(n\), is an

integer which evenly divides \(n\) without leaving a remainder. In general, it is said \(m\) is a factor of \(n\), for non-zero integers \(m\) and \(n\), if there exists an integer \(k\) such that \(n = km\).

2. 1 (and -1) are divisors of every integer.

3. Every integer is a divisor of itself.

4. Every integer is a divisor of 0, except, by convention, 0 itself.

5. Numbers divisible by 2 are called even and numbers not divisible by 2 are called odd.

DIVISIBILITY RULES1.

2 - If the last digit is even, the number is divisible by 2.

2.

3 - If the sum of the digits is divisible by 3, the number is also.

3.

4 - If the last two digits form a number divisible by 4, the number is also.

4.

5 - If the last digit is a 5 or a 0, the number is divisible by 5.

5.

6 - If the number is divisible by both 3 and 2, it is also divisible by 6.

6.

7 - Take the last digit, double it, and subtract it from the rest of the number, if the answer is divisible by 7 (including 0), then the number is divisible by 7.

7.

8 - If the last three digits of a number are divisible by 8, then so is the whole number.

8.

9 - If the sum of the digits is divisible by 9, so is the number.

9.

10 - If the number ends in 0, it is divisible by 10.

10.

11 - If you sum every second digit and then subtract all other digits and the answer is: 0, or is divisible by 11, then the number is divisible by 11.

Example: to see whether 9,488,699 is divisible by 11, sum every second digit: 4+8+9=21, then subtract the sum of other digits: 21-(9+8+6+9)=-11, -11 is divisible by 11, hence 9,488,699 is divisible by 11.

11.

12 - If the number is divisible by both 3 and 4, it is also divisible by 12.

12.

25 - Numbers ending with 00, 25, 50, or 75 represent numbers divisible by 25.

GCD and LCM:1. The greatest common divisor (GCD), of two or more non-zero integers, is the largest

positive integer that divides the numbers without a remainder.

So GCD can only be

positive integer. It should be obvious as

greatest factor of two integers can not be negative. For example if -3 is a factor of two integer then 3 is also a factor of these two integers.

2. The lowest common multiple (LCM), of two integers \(a\) and \(b\) is the smallest

positive integer that is a multiple both of \(a\) and of \(b\).

So LCM can only be

positive integer. It's also quite obvious as if we don not limit LCM to positive integer then LCM won't make sense any more. For example what would be the

lowest common multiple of 2 and 3 if LCM could be negative? There is no answer to this question.

3. Divisor of a positive integer cannot be more than that integer (for example 4 doesn't have a divisor more than 4, the largest divisor it has is 4 itself). From this it follows that the greatest common divisor of two positive integers x and y can not be more than x or y.

FINDING THE NUMBER OF FACTORS OF AN INTEGERFirst make prime factorization of an integer \(n=a^p*b^q*c^r\), where \(a\), \(b\), and \(c\) are prime factors of \(n\) and \(p\), \(q\), and \(r\) are their powers.

The number of factors of \(n\) will be expressed by the formula \((p+1)(q+1)(r+1)\).

NOTE: this will include 1 and n itself.

Example: Finding the number of all factors of 450: \(450=2^1*3^2*5^2\)

Total number of factors of 450 including 1 and 450 itself is \((1+1)*(2+1)*(2+1)=2*3*3=18\) factors.

WHEN THE SUM OR THE DIFFERENCE OF NUMBERS IS A MULTIPLE OF AN INTEGER1.

If integers \(a\) and \(b\) are both multiples of some integer \(k>1\) (divisible by \(k\)), then their sum and difference will also be a multiple of \(k\) (divisible by \(k\)):Example: \(a=6\) and \(b=9\), both divisible by 3 ---> \(a+b=15\) and \(a-b=-3\), again both divisible by 3.

2.

If out of integers \(a\) and \(b\) one is a multiple of some integer \(k>1\) and another is not, then their sum and difference will NOT be a multiple of \(k\) (divisible by \(k\)):Example: \(a=6\), divisible by 3 and \(b=5\), not divisible by 3 ---> \(a+b=11\) and \(a-b=1\), neither is divisible by 3.

3.

If integers \(a\) and \(b\) both are NOT multiples of some integer \(k>1\) (divisible by \(k\)), then their sum and difference may or may not be a multiple of \(k\) (divisible by \(k\)):Example: \(a=5\) and \(b=4\), neither is divisible by 3 ---> \(a+b=9\), is divisible by 3 and \(a-b=1\), is not divisible by 3;

OR: \(a=6\) and \(b=3\), neither is divisible by 5 ---> \(a+b=9\) and \(a-b=3\), neither is divisible by 5;

OR: \(a=2\) and \(b=2\), neither is divisible by 4 ---> \(a+b=4\) and \(a-b=0\), both are divisible by 4.

Please share your Divisibility tips below and get kudos point. Thank you.
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