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Forget conventional ways of solving math questions. For DS problems, the VA (Variable Approach) method is the quickest and easiest way to find the answer without actually solving the problem. Remember that equal numbers of variables and independent equations ensure a solution.

We can modify the original condition and question as follows.

There are two different ways in which \(a^2+b^3\) can be odd:

i) \(a\) is even and \(b\) is odd.

ii) \(a\) is odd and \(b\) is even.

Since condition 2) tells us that a and b are consecutive integers, one of them must be odd, and the other must be even. In both cases, the answer is ‘yes’.

Therefore, condition 2) is sufficient.

Condition 1) implies that a is odd, but tells us nothing about b. Therefore, it is not sufficient.

Therefore, the answer is B.

Normally, in problems which require 2 equations such as those in which the original conditions include 2 variables, or 3 variables and 1 equation, or 4 variables and 2 equations, each of conditions 1) and 2) provide an additional equation. In these problems, the two key possibilities are that C is the answer (with probability 70%), and E is the answer (with probability 25%). Thus, there is only a 5% chance that A, B or D is the answer. This occurs in common mistake types 3 and 4. Since C (both conditions together are sufficient) is the most likely answer, we save time by first checking whether conditions 1) and 2) are sufficient, when taken together. Obviously, there may be cases in which the answer is A, B, D or E, but if conditions 1) and 2) are NOT sufficient when taken together, the answer must be E.

Answer: B

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