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 Your Progress

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.

It appears that you are browsing the GMAT Club forum unregistered!

Signing up is free, quick, and confidential.
Join other 500,000 members and get the full benefits of GMAT Club

Registration gives you:

Tests

Take 11 tests and quizzes from GMAT Club and leading GMAT prep companies such as Manhattan GMAT,
Knewton, and others. All are free for GMAT Club members.

Applicant Stats

View detailed applicant stats such as GPA, GMAT score, work experience, location, application
status, and more

Books/Downloads

Download thousands of study notes,
question collections, GMAT Club’s
Grammar and Math books.
All are free!

Thank you for using the timer!
We noticed you are actually not timing your practice. Click the START button first next time you use the timer.
There are many benefits to timing your practice, including:

Re: If a = -0.3, which of the following is true? [#permalink]

Show Tags

10 Jan 2014, 04:32

It's tricky. At first sight I thought hey this is easy, it can only be E. But i re-calculated and saw that -0.3^3 = -0.027 which is bigger than -0.3. So B. Hope I'm as smart in the GMAT and calculate first before picking an answer :D

When using an EVEN power, the negative terms "cancel out", so the result is always positive.

This holds true even when we use a negative power:

(-2)^(-2) = 1/(-2)(-2) = 1/4

The exception I mentioned earlier:

0^2 = (0)(0) = 0 Etc.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made, Rich

Thanks. I understood that. But the question says -0.3 and not (-0.3).

-0.3 = -1 * 0.3. Hence, whatever happens, it would be -1 * (0.3)^even number, hence the overall result would still be negative. Read this in the MGMAT Algebra book in the exponents chapter.

Before substituting in the value for 'A', let's look at 'A' to an even power:

A^2 = (A)(A) A^4 = (A)(A)(A)(A) Etc.

NOW, plug in the value for A.... (A = -0.3)....

A^2 = (-0.3)^2 = (-0.3)(-0.3) = +.09 Etc.

IF.... you were given -0.3^2 to start off with, then that calculation WOULD lead you to -.09 (since you have to use PEMDAS rules), but that is NOT what we were given in this question.

(A) a < a^2 < a^3 (B) a < a^3 < a^2 (C) a^2 < a < a^3 (D) a^2 < a^3 < a (E) a^3 < a < a^2

We are given that a = -0.3; what we must keep in mind in this problem is that we are really being tested on what happens when we raise a negative proper fraction to an exponent. We say negative proper fraction because -0.3 = -3/10.

The fact that a = -0.3 is not that important; in fact, we could use any negative proper fraction, such as -1/2 or -1/3 to obtain the correct answer.

Let's look at what happens when a negative proper fraction is raised to an even or odd power.

Rule: When a negative proper fraction is raised to an even-powered or odd-powered exponent, the value increases. If this rule is hard to see, let’s test -1/2. We can start by raising -½ to the even exponent of 2.

(-1/2)^2 =1/4

¼ > -1/2

Clearly, we can see that positive ¼ is greater than -½.

Let’s now check an odd-powered exponent; we can raise -1/2 to an exponent of 3.

(-1/2)^3 = -1/8

-1/8 > -1/2

Although both values are negative, -1/8 is greater than -½.

We can use these rules to answer the question. Since we are raising a negative base to a power, the largest value will be a^2, since that is positive, and a and a^3 are negative. That leaves us with answers B and E. Finally, we know a^3 must be greater than a, thus eliminating answer choice E.

The answer is B.
_________________

Jeffery Miller Head of GMAT Instruction

GMAT Quant Self-Study Course 500+ lessons 3000+ practice problems 800+ HD solutions

(A) a < a^2 < a^3 (B) a < a^3 < a^2 (C) a^2 < a < a^3 (D) a^2 < a^3 < a (E) a^3 < a < a^2

Hello could you please tell me why answer D is incorrect.

D) 0.09 > -0.0027 > -0.3 B) -0.3 < -0.027 < 0.09

Aren't both of them same?

Hi nandetapuri,

It looks like you 'mixed up' the order of the three values. Notice that the largest term in Answer B is "a^2" (which equals +0.09), while the largest term in Answer D is "a" (which equals -0.3). So the answer to your immediate question is NO - Answers B and D are NOT the same.

Version 8.1 of the WordPress for Android app is now available, with some great enhancements to publishing: background media uploading. Adding images to a post or page? Now...

“Keep your head down, and work hard. Don’t attract any attention. You should be grateful to be here.” Why do we keep quiet? Being an immigrant is a constant...

“Keep your head down, and work hard. Don’t attract any attention. You should be grateful to be here.” Why do we keep quiet? Being an immigrant is a constant...