russ9 wrote:
If n is a positive integer greater than 6, what is the remainder when n is divided by 6?
(1) n^2 – 1 is not divisible by 3.
(2) n^2 – 1 is even.
The problem can be solved algebraically or using smart numbers (testing cases). Both methods are shown below.
(1) NOT SUFFICIENT:
Algebra
The expression n2 – 1 = (n – 1)(n + 1). Together with n, the three expressions represent three consecutive integers: n – 1, n, n + 1. Statement 2 indicates that the product (n – 1)(n + 1) is not divisible by the prime number 3; therefore, neither n – 1 nor n + 1 is a multiple of 3.
Since every third integer is a multiple of 3, it follows that n must be a multiple of 3. This fact alone is not sufficient, though, since different multiples of 3 can give different remainders upon division by 6. For example, 9/6 gives a remainder of 3, and 12/6 gives a remainder of 0.
Testing Cases
Find values of n > 6 that satisfy statement 1.
The value n = 7 does not satisfy the statement, since 72 – 1 = 48 is divisible by 3.
The value n = 8 does not satisfy the statement, since 82 – 1 = 63 is divisible by 3.
The value n = 9 satisfies the statement, since 92 – 1 = 80 is not divisible by 3. The remainder of 9/6 is 3.
The value n = 10 does not satisfy the statement, since 102 – 1 = 99 is divisible by 3.
The value n = 11 does not satisfy the statement, since 112 – 1 = 120 is divisible by 3.
The value n = 12 satisfies the statement, since 122 – 1 = 143 is not divisible by 3. The remainder of 12/6 is 0.
At least two different remainders are possible, so the statement is insufficient.
(2) NOT SUFFICIENT:
Algebra
If n2 – 1 is even, then n2 must be odd, so n itself is odd. This fact alone is not sufficient, though, since different odd numbers can give different remainders upon division by 6. For example, 7/6 gives a remainder of 1, and 9/6 gives a remainder of 3.
Testing Cases
Find values of n > 6 that satisfy the statement.
The value n = 7 satisfies the statement, since 72 – 1 = 48 is even. The remainder of 7/6 is 1.
The value n = 8 does not satisfy the statement, since 82 – 1 = 63 is not even.
The value n = 9 satisfies the statement, since 92 – 1 = 80 is even. The remainder of 9/6 is 3.
At least two different remainders are possible, so the statement is insufficient.
(1) AND (2) SUFFICIENT: Statement (1) indicates that n is a multiple of 3 and statement (2) indicates that n is odd. From this point, you can either use algebra or test numbers.
Algebra
According to the two statements, n must be 3 times some odd integer, so it can be written as n = 3(2k + 1), where k is an integer. Distributing gives n = 6k + 3, which is 3 more than a multiple of 6. Therefore, the remainder upon dividing n by six must be 3.
Testing Cases
Test numbers that are multiples of 3, odd, and greater than 6:
If n = 9, then 9 / 6 = 1 remainder 3.
If n = 15, then 15 / 6 = 2 remainder 3.
If n = 21, then 21 / 6 = 3 remainder 3.
Will this always return a remainder of 3? Yes! An odd multiple of 3 will always have a remainder when divided by 6 (because 6 is even). Further, an even multiple of 3 will always have a remainder of zero (because an even multiple of 3 is divisible by both 2 and 3). Therefore, the odd multiple of 3, which is always 3 more than an even multiple of 3, will always have a remainder of 3.
The correct answer is (C).