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

The first step of VA(Variable Approach) method is modifying the original condition and the question, and rechecking the number of variables and the number of equations.

Assume A, B and C are exam scores of Alice, Bob and Cindy, respectively.

We have ( A + B + C ) / 3 = 80 or A + B + C = 240.

Since we have 3 variable and 1 equation, C is most likely to be the answer.

Conditions 1) and 2)

Since A = 75, C = 80 and A + B + C = 240, we have B = 85.

Then, the median is C = 80.

Since it is a statistics question, one of the key questions, according to CMT4(A), we should consider A or B if C is chosen too easily.

From the condition 1), A = 75, we can’t figure out the median.

From the condition 2), C = 80, we have A + B = 160.

If one of them is less than 80, the other one must be greater than 80 and C = 80 is the median.

Otherwise, A = B = C = 80 and the median is 80.

The condition 2) is sufficient.

Therefore, B is the answer.

Normally for cases where we need 2 more equations, such as original conditions with 2 variables, or 3 variables and 1 equation, or 4 variables and 2 equations, we have 1 equation each in both 1) and 2). Therefore, C has a high chance of being the answer, which is why we attempt to solve the question using 1) and 2) together. Here, there is 70% chance that C is the answer, while E has 25% chance. These two are the key questions. In case of common mistake type 3,4, the answer may be from A, B or D but there is only 5% chance. Since C is most likely to be the answer according to DS definition, we solve the question assuming C would be our answer, hence using 1) and 2) together. (It saves us time). Obviously there may be cases where the answer is A, B, D or E.

Ans: B

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