In the right triangle shown above, what is the the value of a?

(1) c = 5

(2) a < b[/quote]

ANSWER:

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First statement:

(1) c = 5

We know nothing except the fact that one angle is 90 and one side C = 5.

This doesn't tell us anything using which we can find a.

Hence,

Insufficient.Second statement: a < b

Considering statement two alone doesn't provide us with any useful information. We just know that one angle is 90 and a<b and we have no value to further calculate anything.

Hence,

Insufficient.CONSIDERING BOTH STATEMENTS TOGETHER.

Many people will make mistake here by considering them together and guessing it to be a 30:60:90 triangle.

BEWARECareful with your assumptions. It can be anything. Maybe it's not even a special triangle at all.

Hence, the answer is E Insufficient

PS -- Be careful whenever you are dealing with anything that looks like a Special Right Triangle. GMAT knows that we have our rules and shortcuts sorted for Right triangles.

This question is the proof of that. It wants you to make a mistake by assuming that the triangle is either 45:45:90 or a 30:60:90 (considering both statements together) because we usually find these triangles in GMAT.

NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING when dealing with Data Sufficiency questions.

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