Walkabout wrote:

If Jake loses 8 pounds, he will weigh twice as much as his sister. Together they now weigh 278 pounds. What is Jake's present weight, in pounds?

(A) 131

(B) 135

(C) 139

(D) 147

(E) 188

This problem can be solved as a simple word problem in which we must convert words to math. Before we create our equations, we want to define some variables.

J = Jake’s current weight, in pounds

S = Sister’s current weight, in pounds

We are told that “If Jake loses 8 pounds, he will weigh twice as much as his sister." We put this into an equation:

J – 8 = 2S

We can isolate J by adding 8 to 2S:

J = 2S + 8 (Equation 1)

Next, we are told that “Together they now weigh 278 pounds.” We can also put this into an equation.

J + S = 278 (Equation 2)

To solve this equation, we can substitute 2S + 8 from Equation 1 for the variable J in Equation 2:

2S + 8 + S = 278

3S = 270

S = 90

We now know that the sister weighs S = 90 pounds, and we can plug that value into either equation to determine J. Let’s plug 90 for S into equation 2:

J + 90 = 278

J = 188

Answer: E

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Head of GMAT Instruction

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