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# If a^b = 289, what is the value of a-b? (1) b is not equal to 1

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If a^b = 289, what is the value of a-b? (1) b is not equal to 1  [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2018, 14:20
5
00:00

Difficulty:

65% (hard)

Question Stats:

35% (01:09) correct 65% (01:36) wrong based on 29 sessions

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If a^b = 289, what is the value of a - b?

(1) b is not equal to 1
(2) a and b are integers
GMAT Club Legend
Joined: 12 Sep 2015
Posts: 4003
Re: If a^b = 289, what is the value of a-b? (1) b is not equal to 1  [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2018, 16:34
1
Top Contributor
santorasantu wrote:
If a^b = 289, what is the value of a-b?

1. b is not equal to 1
2. a and b are integers

Target question: What is the value of a-b?

Given: a^b = 289

Jump straight to....

Statements 1 and 2 combined
There are several values of a and b that satisfy BOTH statements. Here are two:
Case a: a = 17 and b = 2. Notice that 17^2 = 289. In this case, the answer to the target question is a - b = 17 - 2 = 15
Case b: a = -17 and b = 2. Notice that (-17)^2 = 289. In this case, the answer to the target question is a - b = -17 - 2 = -19
Since we cannot answer the target question with certainty, the combined statements are NOT SUFFICIENT

Cheers,
Brent
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Re: If a^b = 289, what is the value of a-b? (1) b is not equal to 1   [#permalink] 24 Sep 2018, 16:34
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