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Each week we'll be posting several questions from The Official Guide For GMAT® Quantitative Review, 2ND Edition and then after couple of days we'll provide Official Answer (OA) to them along with a slution.

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As x^3-x=(x-a)(x-b)(x-c) is true for ALL x-es than it must be true for x=0, x=1 and x=-1 too. Substituting these values you get the values of a, b, and c.
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Re: If a, b, and c are constants, a > b > c, and x^3 - x = (x - [#permalink]

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02 Mar 2015, 13:11

Bunuel wrote:

bankerboy30 wrote:

How do we know so is equal the numbers are -1,0,1. I know there consecutive but why not 2,3,4?

As x^3-x=(x-a)(x-b)(x-c) is true for ALL x-es than it must be true for x=0, x=1 and x=-1 too. Substituting these values you get the values of a, b, and c.

I still dont understand this logic. Are we simply looking for any value of X that makes the entire equation 0? What do you specifically mean by "as x^3.... is true for all x-es" - I really dont understand this.

This is a "layered" concept and it's easy to get "lost" in this prompt because you're used to solving for the final values in most Quant questions.

Here, the 3 "final" numbers are (X - A), (X - B) and (X - C), but the question is NOT asking for any of the 3 final numbers...it's asking for a "piece" of one of them....the value of B.

To answer it, you have to ignore the A, B and C for a moment and go back to the prior "term"

X^3 - X

This can be factored down into 3 pieces. Here's how...

X^3 - X

First, factor out an X...

(X)(X^2 - 1)

Next, reverse-FOIL the other term.... (X)(X+1)(X-1)

Since we're multiplying 3 terms, it doesn't matter what the order is. I'm going to put them in order from least to greatest...

(X-1)(X)(X+1)

Now, looking at THIS, you can figure out what A, B and C are. Since A>B>C, then....

Re: If a, b, and c are constants, a > b > c, and x^3 - x = (x - [#permalink]

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03 May 2016, 08:50

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If a, b, and c are constants, a > b > c, and x^3 - x = (x - [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2016, 17:53

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:

Hi erikvm,

This is a "layered" concept and it's easy to get "lost" in this prompt because you're used to solving for the final values in most Quant questions.

Here, the 3 "final" numbers are (X - A), (X - B) and (X - C), but the question is NOT asking for any of the 3 final numbers...it's asking for a "piece" of one of them....the value of B.

To answer it, you have to ignore the A, B and C for a moment and go back to the prior "term"

X^3 - X

This can be factored down into 3 pieces. Here's how...

X^3 - X

First, factor out an X...

(X)(X^2 - 1)

Next, reverse-FOIL the other term.... (X)(X+1)(X-1)

Since we're multiplying 3 terms, it doesn't matter what the order is. I'm going to put them in order from least to greatest...

(X-1)(X)(X+1)

Now, looking at THIS, you can figure out what A, B and C are. Since A>B>C, then....

What I found confusing about this problem is that we are not told that the left side of the equation is equal to 0 (x^3-x=0), so how do we know to begin factoring x^3-x here into x(x-1)(x=1)? Am I missing something really basic here?

The 'act' of factoring does not require an equation - it's just a way of re-writing information that you've been given.

For example, if you're told that you have 'two boxes that each contain the same number of widgets', then you can write that as (2)(W)... even though you don't have an actual equation yet. If I wanted to, I could rewrite 2W as (W + W). Certain GMAT questions just come down to organizing information in a way that makes it easy to answer the given question, so you should think about how you choose to take notes and 'translate' sentences ('your way' might not be the only way, and there might be additional 'steps' that you can take to simplify what you have written).

Re: If a, b, and c are constants, a > b > c, and x^3 - x = (x - [#permalink]

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26 Jan 2017, 07:51

If you dont know the algebra for this most probably you cannot solve this question.

x^3 - x = x(x^2 - 1) . GMAT algebra fundamentals require you to know/memorise that x^2 - 1 = (x-1) * (x+1)

So long story short: x^3 - x = x * (x-1) * (x+1) = (x - a)(x - b)(x - c)

x * (x-1) * (x+1) = (x - a)(x - b)(x - c)

We know that a > b > c

Hence (x-c) > (x-b) > (x-a) . This is because in this question x is a constant rather than a variable. So the maximum value of any of the three operation, (x-c), (x-b) or (x-a) is the one that uses the SMALLEST value (i.e. c):

Then you just do the mapping

out of x, (x-1) and (x+1) the (x+1) has the GREATEST value. Hence (x+1) = (x - c) => x+1 = x -c which gives c = -1 out of x, (x-1) and (x+1) the (x-1) has the SMALLEST value . Hence (x-1) = (x - a) which gives a = 1

therefore the only case that left is the x = (x-b) which gives b = 0

gmatclubot

Re: If a, b, and c are constants, a > b > c, and x^3 - x = (x -
[#permalink]
26 Jan 2017, 07:51

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