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Manager  Joined: 22 Jul 2008
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In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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### HideShow timer Statistics In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?

A. 3
b. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3

Attachment: Triangle.jpg [ 8.62 KiB | Viewed 281686 times ]

For this problem the solution is :

we have 3 similar triangles the main triangle : ABD two other triangles BC and ADC .
Now to find out CD we can use the later two triangles , so by similarity we have ,

BC/CA = CD/AC

which yields CD as 3.

but the answer is wrong. where have i gone wrong?

Originally posted by kirankp on 16 Dec 2009, 04:22.
Last edited by Bunuel on 18 Feb 2019, 04:07, edited 5 times in total.
Edited the question.
Math Expert V
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 62379
Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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8
10
rvinodhini wrote:
Hi

I need a quick clarification on the concept of perpendicular bisector.
With a perpendicular bisector, the bisector always crosses the line segment at right angles
If any line cuts another line at 90 then it should be a perpendicular bisector right - i.e it divided the line segment into equal halves at 90 ?

So here BC should be the perpendicular bisector and the AC=CD=3 right ?

Please let me know what am missing here.

I do understand the explanations in the other thread mentioned,but can someone clarify as to why AC is not the perpendicular bisector ?

A perpendicular bisector is a line which cuts a line segment into two equal parts at 90°. So AC to be a perpendicular bisector of BD it must not only cut it at 90° (which it does) but also cut it into two equal parts. Now, in order AC to cut BD into two equal parts right triangle ABD must be isosceles, which, as it turns out after some math, it is not.

Complete solution:
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?
A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3
Attachment: splittingtriangle.jpg [ 4.22 KiB | Viewed 479316 times ]

Important property: perpendicular to the hypotenuse will always divide the triangle into two triangles with the same properties as the original triangle.

Thus, the perpendicular AC divides right triangle ABD into two similar triangles ACB and DCA (which are also similar to big triangle ABD). Now, in these three triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles marked with red and blue on the diagram).

So, $$\frac{CD}{AC}=\frac{AC}{BC}$$ --> $$\frac{CD}{4}=\frac{4}{3}$$ --> $$CD=\frac{16}{3}$$.

For more on this subject please check Triangles chapter of Math Book: math-triangles-87197.html

Hope it helps.
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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8
Well i have a problem with similar triangles coz i sometimes make mistakes on the common sides. hence alternative approach for this problem..

Considering Triangle ACD - AC^2 + CD^2 = AD^2

Considering Triangle ABD - AB = sqrt(4^2 + 3^2) = 5 (Pythagorean triplet so you dont really have to do the math on the test)

25 + ac^2 + cd^2 = (3 + cd)^2

=> 25+16+cd^2= 9 + 6cd +cd^2

=>32 = 6cd

cd = 16/3
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Manager  Joined: 30 Aug 2009
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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1
kirankp wrote:
In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD? a.3
b.15/4
c.5
d.16/3
e.20/3

For this problem the solution is :

we have 3 similar triangles the main triangle : ABD two other triangles BC and ADC .
Now to find out CD we can use the later two triangles , so by similarity we have ,

BC/CA = CD/AC

which yields CD as 3.

but the answer is wrong. where have i gone wrong?

D- 16/3

we can use pythagoras theorem to solve this. AB we will be 5.
Let CD = x then AD = sqrt ( 16 + x^2)
in Triangle BAD we have AB^2 + AD^2 = BD^2 => 25 + 16 + x^2 = (3+x)^2
solving the above we get x= 16/3
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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5
This is a MGMAT Question,
OA is D and OE is as below. Hope it helps.

Because angles BAD and ACD are right angles, the figure above is composed of three similar right triangles: BAD, ACD and BCA. [Any time a height is dropped from the right angle vertex of a right triangle to the opposite side of that right triangle, the three triangles that result have the same 3 angle measures. This means that they are similar triangles. See below for further explanation.]

To solve for the length of side CD, we can set up a proportion, based on the relationship between the similar triangles ACD and BCA:

BC/CA = CA/CD

3/4 = 4/CD

CD = 16/3

Addendum: Let's look at how we know that triangles ACD and BCA are similar.

1) Let's say that <CDA is x degrees, and <DAC is y degrees. Since <ACD is 90 degrees, and the sum of all the interior angles in a triangle is 180, we know that x + y = 90.

2) Now let's look at <BAC. We know that <BAC + <DAC = 90, since <BAD is labeled as a right angle. We also know that <DAC is y degrees (from step 1), and that x + y = 90. Putting these facts together, we know that <BAC is x degrees.

3) We know <ACB is a right angle, since <ACD is a right angle. Since <ACB is a right angle, <BAC + <CBA = 90. Given that <BAC is x degrees, <CBA must be y degrees.

4) To summarize, <CAB has the same measure as <CDA (x degrees) , and <CBA has the same measure as <DAC (y degrees). This means that in similar triangles CAB and CAD, side BC of CAB corresponds to side CA of CAD, and side CA of CAB corresponds to side CD of CAD.

Thus, BC/CA = CA/CD.

Again, the correct answer is D.
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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all three triangles abc, acd & abd are similar.
so, $$\frac{4}{3} = \frac{cd}{4}$$ ... cd = $$\frac{16}{3}$$

it can't be $$\frac{4}{3} = \frac{4}{cd}$$ ... cd = 3, because in that case $$5^2+5^2 = 6^2$$ is not true

Originally posted by MBAhereIcome on 03 Nov 2011, 01:06.
Last edited by MBAhereIcome on 03 Nov 2011, 13:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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5
You can immediately tell that AB=5 because ABC is a 3-4-5 triangle. Label CD x, and AD y.

You get:

1) $$5^2+y^2=(3+x)^2$$
2) $$4^2+x^2=y^2$$

Plug in the definition of $$y^2$$ from (2) into 1 and solve. You get 16/3.
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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Hi

I need a quick clarification on the concept of perpendicular bisector.
With a perpendicular bisector, the bisector always crosses the line segment at right angles
If any line cuts another line at 90 then it should be a perpendicular bisector right - i.e it divided the line segment into equal halves at 90 ?

So here BC should be the perpendicular bisector and the AC=CD=3 right ?

Please let me know what am missing here.

I do understand the explanations in the other thread mentioned,but can someone clarify as to why AC is not the perpendicular bisector ?
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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MBAhereIcome wrote:
all three triangles abc, acd & abd are similar.
so, $$\frac{4}{3} = \frac{cd}{4}$$ ... cd = $$\frac{16}{3}$$

it can't be $$\frac{4}{3} = \frac{4}{cd}$$ ... cd = 3, because in that case $$5^2+5^2 = 6^2$$ is not true

If the 3 triangles are proportional, why can't I solve using the ratio:

$$\frac{AD}{AB} = \frac{AB}{(X+3)}$$
$$\frac{4}{5} = \frac{5}{(X+3)}$$
4(X+3) = 25
4X + 12 = 25
X = $$\frac{13}{4}$$ Math Expert V
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 62379
Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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pubchum wrote:
MBAhereIcome wrote:
all three triangles abc, acd & abd are similar.
so, $$\frac{4}{3} = \frac{cd}{4}$$ ... cd = $$\frac{16}{3}$$

it can't be $$\frac{4}{3} = \frac{4}{cd}$$ ... cd = 3, because in that case $$5^2+5^2 = 6^2$$ is not true

If the 3 triangles are proportional, why can't I solve using the ratio:

$$\frac{AD}{AB} = \frac{AB}{(X+3)}$$
$$\frac{4}{5} = \frac{5}{(X+3)}$$
4(X+3) = 25
4X + 12 = 25
X = $$\frac{13}{4}$$ Attachment: splittingtriangle.jpg [ 4.22 KiB | Viewed 431080 times ]

In similar triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides are equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles marked with red and blue on the diagram).

The ratios you are equating are not of corresponding sides. If you want to equate AD/AB then it should be AD/AB=AC/BC --> AD/5=4/3 --> AD=20/3. Also AD/AB=CD/AC --> (20/3)/5=CD/4 --> CD=16/3.

I merged this thread with an earlier discussion of the same question, so check this post: in-triangle-abc-if-bc-3-and-ac-4-then-what-is-the-126937.html#p1050155 it might help to clear your doubts.

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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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Hi Bunuel,

How did you infer that angle BAC = angle ADC. Could you please explain that part.. I know this can be proved thro similarity, however I wanted to understand from your concept, which you have mentioned below.
Pls explain.

Thanks
H
Bunuel wrote:
rvinodhini wrote:
Hi

I need a quick clarification on the concept of perpendicular bisector.
With a perpendicular bisector, the bisector always crosses the line segment at right angles
If any line cuts another line at 90 then it should be a perpendicular bisector right - i.e it divided the line segment into equal halves at 90 ?

So here BC should be the perpendicular bisector and the AC=CD=3 right ?

Please let me know what am missing here.

I do understand the explanations in the other thread mentioned,but can someone clarify as to why AC is not the perpendicular bisector ?

A perpendicular bisector is a line which cuts a line segment into two equal parts at 90°. So AC to be a perpendicular bisector of BD it must not only cut it at 90° (which it does) but also cut it into two equal parts. Now, in order AC to cut BD into two equal parts right triangle ABD must be isosceles, which, as it turns out after some math, it is not.

Complete solution:
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?
A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3
Attachment:
splittingtriangle.jpg

Important property: perpendicular to the hypotenuse will always divide the triangle into two triangles with the same properties as the original triangle.

Thus, the perpendicular AC divides right triangle ABD into two similar triangles ACB and DCA (which are also similar to big triangle ABD). Now, in these three triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles marked with red and blue on the diagram).

So, $$\frac{CD}{AC}=\frac{AC}{BC}$$ --> $$\frac{CD}{4}=\frac{4}{3}$$ --> $$CD=\frac{16}{3}$$.

For more on this subject please check Triangles chapter of Math Book: math-triangles-87197.html

Hope it helps.
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Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 62379
Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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4
imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Bunuel,

How did you infer that angle BAC = angle ADC. Could you please explain that part.. I know this can be proved thro similarity, however I wanted to understand from your concept, which you have mentioned below.
Pls explain.

Thanks
H

Attachment: splittingtriangle.jpg [ 4.22 KiB | Viewed 430610 times ]

<B+<D+<A=180, since <A=90 then <B+<D=90;
Similarly in triangle ABC: <B+<BAC=90 since <B=90-<D then (90-<D)+<BAC=90 --> <BAC=<D.

Hope it's clear.
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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3
1
enigma123 wrote:
Attachment:
Triangle.jpg
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?

A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3

Learn this property:

AC^2=BC*DC

=>DC=16/3
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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2
the given solution is neat and simple but it didnt strike me when solving
anyways here is another alternate way though i admit its lengthy calculation
let us assume CD=x
(x+3)^2=25+(x^2+16)
x=32/6=16/3

(D)
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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Bunuel wrote:
rvinodhini wrote:
Hi

I need a quick clarification on the concept of perpendicular bisector.
With a perpendicular bisector, the bisector always crosses the line segment at right angles
If any line cuts another line at 90 then it should be a perpendicular bisector right - i.e it divided the line segment into equal halves at 90 ?

So here BC should be the perpendicular bisector and the AC=CD=3 right ?

Please let me know what am missing here.

I do understand the explanations in the other thread mentioned,but can someone clarify as to why AC is not the perpendicular bisector ?

A perpendicular bisector is a line which cuts a line segment into two equal parts at 90°. So AC to be a perpendicular bisector of BD it must not only cut it at 90° (which it does) but also cut it into two equal parts. Now, in order AC to cut BD into two equal parts right triangle ABD must be isosceles, which, as it turns out after some math, it is not.

Complete solution:
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?
A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3
Attachment:
splittingtriangle.jpg

Important property: perpendicular to the hypotenuse will always divide the triangle into two triangles with the same properties as the original triangle.

Thus, the perpendicular AC divides right triangle ABD into two similar triangles ACB and DCA (which are also similar to big triangle ABD). Now, in these three triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles marked with red and blue on the diagram).

So, $$\frac{CD}{AC}=\frac{AC}{BC}$$ --> $$\frac{CD}{4}=\frac{4}{3}$$ --> $$CD=\frac{16}{3}$$.

For more on this subject please check Triangles chapter of Math Book: math-triangles-87197.html

Hope it helps.

This part is clear: triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles)

However, how does one determine which angles are equal? Except 90 degree angles of both triangles, i could not seem to follow how exactly other angles became equal?
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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1
earnit wrote:
Bunuel wrote:
rvinodhini wrote:
Hi

I need a quick clarification on the concept of perpendicular bisector.
With a perpendicular bisector, the bisector always crosses the line segment at right angles
If any line cuts another line at 90 then it should be a perpendicular bisector right - i.e it divided the line segment into equal halves at 90 ?

So here BC should be the perpendicular bisector and the AC=CD=3 right ?

Please let me know what am missing here.

I do understand the explanations in the other thread mentioned,but can someone clarify as to why AC is not the perpendicular bisector ?

A perpendicular bisector is a line which cuts a line segment into two equal parts at 90°. So AC to be a perpendicular bisector of BD it must not only cut it at 90° (which it does) but also cut it into two equal parts. Now, in order AC to cut BD into two equal parts right triangle ABD must be isosceles, which, as it turns out after some math, it is not.

Complete solution:
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?
A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3
Attachment:
splittingtriangle.jpg

Important property: perpendicular to the hypotenuse will always divide the triangle into two triangles with the same properties as the original triangle.

Thus, the perpendicular AC divides right triangle ABD into two similar triangles ACB and DCA (which are also similar to big triangle ABD). Now, in these three triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles marked with red and blue on the diagram).

So, $$\frac{CD}{AC}=\frac{AC}{BC}$$ --> $$\frac{CD}{4}=\frac{4}{3}$$ --> $$CD=\frac{16}{3}$$.

For more on this subject please check Triangles chapter of Math Book: math-triangles-87197.html

Hope it helps.

This part is clear: triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles)

However, how does one determine which angles are equal? Except 90 degree angles of both triangles, i could not seem to follow how exactly other angles became equal?

Both smaller triangles are similar to the large triangle. So they are similar to each other too.

Angle BAD = BCA (90 degrees)
and angle B is common in both
So by AA, triangles BAD and BCA are similar

angle BAD = ACD (90 degrees)
and angle D is common in both
So by AA, triangles BAD and ACD are similar

So triangle BAD is similar to triangle BCA and ACD so triangle BCA is similar to triangle ACD too.
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
Bunuel wrote:
rvinodhini wrote:
Hi

I need a quick clarification on the concept of perpendicular bisector.
With a perpendicular bisector, the bisector always crosses the line segment at right angles
If any line cuts another line at 90 then it should be a perpendicular bisector right - i.e it divided the line segment into equal halves at 90 ?

So here BC should be the perpendicular bisector and the AC=CD=3 right ?

Please let me know what am missing here.

I do understand the explanations in the other thread mentioned,but can someone clarify as to why AC is not the perpendicular bisector ?

A perpendicular bisector is a line which cuts a line segment into two equal parts at 90°. So AC to be a perpendicular bisector of BD it must not only cut it at 90° (which it does) but also cut it into two equal parts. Now, in order AC to cut BD into two equal parts right triangle ABD must be isosceles, which, as it turns out after some math, it is not.

Complete solution:
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?
A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3
Attachment:
splittingtriangle.jpg

Important property: perpendicular to the hypotenuse will always divide the triangle into two triangles with the same properties as the original triangle.

Thus, the perpendicular AC divides right triangle ABD into two similar triangles ACB and DCA (which are also similar to big triangle ABD). Now, in these three triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles marked with red and blue on the diagram).

So, $$\frac{CD}{AC}=\frac{AC}{BC}$$ --> $$\frac{CD}{4}=\frac{4}{3}$$ --> $$CD=\frac{16}{3}$$.

For more on this subject please check Triangles chapter of Math Book: math-triangles-87197.html

Hope it helps.

This part is clear: triangles the ratio of the corresponding sides will be equal (corresponding sides are the sides opposite the same angles)

However, how does one determine which angles are equal? Except 90 degree angles of both triangles, i could not seem to follow how exactly other angles became equal?

Both smaller triangles are similar to the large triangle. So they are similar to each other too.

Angle BAD = BCA (90 degrees)
and angle B is common in both
So by AA, triangles BAD and BCA are similar

angle BAD = ACD (90 degrees)
and angle D is common in both
So by AA, triangles BAD and ACD are similar

So triangle BAD is similar to triangle BCA and ACD so triangle BCA is similar to triangle ACD too.

Hi Karishma,

Thanks for explaining this. I understand how 3 triangles are similar to each other. However how do we determine which side is similar to which in order to set up the ratio.

for example, if we take two smaller triangles - Triangle ABC and ADC....I think side AB is corresponding to AD, BC is corresponding to CD and AC is common. Is that correct? if yes, how do I find which side is corresponding in the smaller triangle with respect to the bigger triangle?

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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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2
gmatkiller88 wrote:
Thanks for explaining this. I understand how 3 triangles are similar to each other. However how do we determine which side is similar to which in order to set up the ratio.

for example, if we take two smaller triangles - Triangle ABC and ADC....I think side AB is corresponding to AD, BC is corresponding to CD and AC is common. Is that correct? if yes, how do I find which side is corresponding in the smaller triangle with respect to the bigger triangle?

There is a very simple method of finding out the corresponding sides in similar triangles.

Say, you have two triangles ABC and DEF. You find by AA that the triangles are similar. All you have to do is name the triangles the way the angles are equal.
Say angle A = angle E, angle B = angle D and and hence angle C = angle F.

Then we write:
triangle ABC is similar to triangle EDF.
Now you have the corresponding sides. That is, AB/ED = BC/DF = AC/EF

In the question above,
triangles BAD and BCA are similar
So BA/BC = AD/CA = BD/BA

triangles BAD and ACD are similar

triangles BCA is similar to triangle ACD
So BC/AC = CA/CD = BA/AD
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Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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enigma123 wrote:
Attachment:
The attachment Triangle.jpg is no longer available
In triangle ABC, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the length of segment CD?

A. 3
B. 15/4
C. 5
D. 16/3
E. 20/3

such questions where there is a 90 degree angle in a triangle can always be solved easily by drawing a circle .
as we draw circle and extend AC to point E we will get a triangle BED , exact copy of triangle BAD --Eq1.

as shown in the attached image , Triangle ABC and Triangle ECD are similar as all angles are equal.
so $$\frac{EC}{BC} = \frac{CD}{AC} = \frac{ED}{AB}$$

3x=4y --> $$x=\frac{4}{3}*y$$
y=4 as shown in eq1
so x= $$\frac{16}{3}$$
Attachments gmatclub.jpg [ 55.25 KiB | Viewed 336105 times ]

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Posts: 68
Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the  [#permalink]

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1
Hi Bunuel,

please explain me the correlation between 30-60-90(1:sq(3):2), 45-45-90(1:1:sq(2)) with pythagorean triplets(3-4-5, 7-24-25). I am confused because if we have a 90deg triangle, and 2 sides 3,4 we can put other side as 5? If so then it becomes 30-60-90 triangle right? then why we are not able to correlate 1:sq(3):2 with 3:4:5?
because we need to commonly multiply the ratio, so if 1*3 then sq(3) must also multiply by 3 which is not equal to 4..

Because I had tried an another approach which gives a wrong ans... Need clarification.. If ABC is a right triangle with 3,4 then other side must be 5. So Angle BAC will be 30 deg. which makes Ang CAD as 60 and CDA as 30.. So we have 30-60-90 triangle on ACD. If thats the case, then CD must be 4*sqrt(3) right? what's wrong in my approach? Re: In triangle ABC to the right, if BC = 3 and AC = 4, then what is the   [#permalink] 02 Jun 2015, 05:25

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