Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

It appears that you are browsing the GMAT Club forum unregistered!

Signing up is free, quick, and confidential.
Join other 500,000 members and get the full benefits of GMAT Club

Registration gives you:

Tests

Take 11 tests and quizzes from GMAT Club and leading GMAT prep companies such as Manhattan GMAT,
Knewton, and others. All are free for GMAT Club members.

Applicant Stats

View detailed applicant stats such as GPA, GMAT score, work experience, location, application
status, and more

Books/Downloads

Download thousands of study notes,
question collections, GMAT Club’s
Grammar and Math books.
All are free!

Thank you for using the timer!
We noticed you are actually not timing your practice. Click the START button first next time you use the timer.
There are many benefits to timing your practice, including:

The entire concept is based on positive/negative factors which means <0 or >0 is a must. If the question is not in this format, you need to bring it to this format by taking the constant to the left hand side.

Yes this is probable but it might not be possible always to group them. So in case you are unsure just follow the number plugging approach. But most of the times this trick would be very handy.
_________________

I learnt this trick while I was in school and yesterday while solving one question I recalled. Its good if you guys use it 1-2 times to get used to it.

Suppose you have the inequality

f(x) = (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0

Just arrange them in order as shown in the picture and draw curve starting from + from right.

now if f(x) < 0 consider curve having "-" inside and if f(x) > 0 consider curve having "+" and combined solution will be the final solution. I m sure I have recalled it fully but if you guys find any issue on that do let me know, this is very helpful.

Don't forget to arrange then in ascending order from left to right. a<b<c<d

So for f(x) < 0 consider "-" curves and the ans is : (a < x < b) , (c < x < d) and for f(x) > 0 consider "+" curves and the ans is : (x < a), (b < x < c) , (d < x)

If f(x) has three factors then the graph will have - + - + If f(x) has four factors then the graph will have + - + - +

If you can not figure out how and why, just remember it. Try to analyze that the function will have number of roots = number of factors and every time the graph will touch the x axis.

For the highest factor d if x>d then the whole f(x) > 0 and after every interval of the roots the signs will change alternatively.

Hi Gurpreet, Thanks for the wonderful method. I am trying to understand it so that i can apply it in tests. Can you help me in applying this method to the below expression to find range of x. x^3 – 4x^5 < 0?

I am getting the roots as -1/2, 0, 1/2 and when i plot them using this method, putting + in the rightmost region, I am not getting correct result. Not sure where i am going wrong. Can you pls help.

I learnt this trick while I was in school and yesterday while solving one question I recalled. Its good if you guys use it 1-2 times to get used to it.

Suppose you have the inequality

f(x) = (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0

Just arrange them in order as shown in the picture and draw curve starting from + from right.

now if f(x) < 0 consider curve having "-" inside and if f(x) > 0 consider curve having "+" and combined solution will be the final solution. I m sure I have recalled it fully but if you guys find any issue on that do let me know, this is very helpful.

Don't forget to arrange then in ascending order from left to right. a<b<c<d

So for f(x) < 0 consider "-" curves and the ans is : (a < x < b) , (c < x < d) and for f(x) > 0 consider "+" curves and the ans is : (x < a), (b < x < c) , (d < x)

If f(x) has three factors then the graph will have - + - + If f(x) has four factors then the graph will have + - + - +

If you can not figure out how and why, just remember it. Try to analyze that the function will have number of roots = number of factors and every time the graph will touch the x axis.

For the highest factor d if x>d then the whole f(x) > 0 and after every interval of the roots the signs will change alternatively.

Hi Gurpreet, Thanks for the wonderful method. I am trying to understand it so that i can apply it in tests. Can you help me in applying this method to the below expression to find range of x. x^3 – 4x^5 < 0?

I am getting the roots as -1/2, 0, 1/2 and when i plot them using this method, putting + in the rightmost region, I am not getting correct result. Not sure where i am going wrong. Can you pls help.

Before you apply the method, ensure that the factors are of the form (x - a)(x - b) etc

\(x^3 - 4x^5 < 0\)

\(x^3 ( 1 - 4x^2) < 0\)

\(x^3(1 - 2x) (1 + 2x) < 0\)

\(4x^3(x - 1/2)(x + 1/2) > 0\) (Notice the flipped sign. We multiplied both sides by -1 to convert 1/2 - x to x - 1/2)

Now the transition points are 0, -1/2 and 1/2 so put + in the rightmost region. The solution will be x > 1/2 or -1/2 < x< 0.

I understand the concept but not the starting point of the graph.How you decide about the graph to be a sine or cosine waveform?Meaning graph starts from the +ve Y-axis for four values and starts from -ve Y-axis for three values. What if the equation you mentioned is (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)<0,will the last two ranges be excluded or the graph will also change?

Ok, look at this expression inequality: (x+2)(x-1)(x-7) < 0 Can I say the left hand side expression will always be positive for values greater than 7? (x+2) will be positive, (x - 1) will be positive and (x-7) will also be positive... so in the rightmost regions i.e. x > 7, all three factors will be positive. The expression will be positive when x > 7, it will be negative when 1 < x < 7, positive when -2 , x < 1 and negative when x < -2. We need the region where the expression is less than 0 i.e. negative. So either 1 < x < 7 or x < -2.

Now let me add another factor: (x+8)(x+2)(x-1)(x-7) Can I still say that the entire expression is positive in the rightmost region i.e. x>7 because each one of the four factors is positive? Yes.

So basically, your rightmost region is always positive. You go from there and assign + and - signs to the regions. Your starting point is the rightmost region.

Note: Make sure that the factors are of the form (ax - b), not (b - ax)...

e.g. (x+2)(x-1)(7 - x)<0

Convert this to: (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)>0 (Multiply both sides by '-1') Now solve in the usual way. Assign '+' to the rightmost region and then alternate with '-' Since you are looking for positive value of the expression, every region where you put a '+' will be the region where the expression will be greater than 0.

Responding to a pm:

Quote:

i have a doubt in the highlighted region. U have said that it will be always +ve but in a bunel post he has asked to substitute the extreme values and if the f(x) is -ve then the right most of the inequality will be -ve.

Please clarify me on this.

Different people use different methods of solving problems. Both of us are correct. But you cannot mix up the methods. When you follow one, you have to follow that through and through. When I say that the rightmost region will always be positive, it is after I make appropriate changes. Right below the highlighted portion, notice the note given: Note: Make sure that the factors are of the form (ax - b), not (b - ax)...

I convert all factors to (ax - b) form. Now the rightmost region is positive by default.

Bunuel prefers to keep the factors as it is and check for the rightmost region.

What you would like to follow is your personal choice.
_________________

Points of transition are -1, 0 and 1. Make the wave. The expression is negative when 0 < a < 1 or a < -1. a could be positive or negative. Not sufficient.

(2) 1- a^2 > 0 a^2 - 1 < 0 (multiplied the inequality by -1 which flipped the sign) (a-1)(a+1) < 0

Points of transition are -1 and 1. Make the wave. The expression is negative when -1 < a < 1. a could be positive or negative. Not sufficient.

Using both together, we see that only 0 < a < 1 is possible for both inequalities to hold. In this case a must be positive. Sufficient. Answer (C)
_________________

Yes, this is a neat little way to work with inequalities where factors are multiplied or divided. And, it has a solid reasoning behind it which I will just explain.

If (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0, we can draw the points a, b, c and d on the number line. e.g. Given (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)(x-4) < 0, draw the points -2, 1, 7 and 4 on the number line as shown.

Attachment:

doc.jpg

This divides the number line into 5 regions. Values of x in right most region will always give you positive value of the expression. The reason for this is that if x > 7, all factors above will be positive.

When you jump to the next region between x = 4 and x = 7, value of x here give you negative value for the entire expression because now, (x - 7) will be negative since x < 7 in this region. All other factors are still positive.

When you jump to the next region on the left between x = 1 and x = 4, expression will be positive again because now two factors (x - 7) and (x - 4) are negative, but negative x negative is positive... and so on till you reach the leftmost section.

Since we are looking for values of x where the expression is < 0, here the solution will be -2 < x < 1 or 4< x < 7

It should be obvious that it will also work in cases where factors are divided. e.g. (x - a)(x - b)/(x - c)(x - d) < 0 (x + 2)(x - 1)/(x -4)(x - 7) < 0 will have exactly the same solution as above.

Note: If, rather than < or > sign, you have <= or >=, in division, the solution will differ slightly. I will leave it for you to figure out why and how. Feel free to get back to me if you want to confirm your conclusion.

Hi Karishma,

I have a query. I have following question

x^3 - 4x^5 < 0

I can define this as (1+2x).x^3(1-2x). now I have roots -1/2, 0, 1/2. so in case of >1/2 I will always get inequality value as <0 and in case of -1/2 and 0 I will get value as 0.

So How I will define them in graph and what range I will consider for this inequality.

I can define this as (1+2x).x^3(1-2x). now I have roots -1/2, 0, 1/2. so in case of >1/2 I will always get inequality value as <0 and in case of -1/2 and 0 I will get value as 0.

So How I will define them in graph and what range I will consider for this inequality.

Thanks

The factors must be of the form (x - a)(x - b) .... etc

Yes, this is a neat little way to work with inequalities where factors are multiplied or divided. And, it has a solid reasoning behind it which I will just explain.

If (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0, we can draw the points a, b, c and d on the number line. e.g. Given (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)(x-4) < 0, draw the points -2, 1, 7 and 4 on the number line as shown.

Attachment:

doc.jpg

This divides the number line into 5 regions. Values of x in right most region will always give you positive value of the expression. The reason for this is that if x > 7, all factors above will be positive.

When you jump to the next region between x = 4 and x = 7, value of x here give you negative value for the entire expression because now, (x - 7) will be negative since x < 7 in this region. All other factors are still positive.

When you jump to the next region on the left between x = 1 and x = 4, expression will be positive again because now two factors (x - 7) and (x - 4) are negative, but negative x negative is positive... and so on till you reach the leftmost section.

Since we are looking for values of x where the expression is < 0, here the solution will be -2 < x < 1 or 4< x < 7

It should be obvious that it will also work in cases where factors are divided. e.g. (x - a)(x - b)/(x - c)(x - d) < 0 (x + 2)(x - 1)/(x -4)(x - 7) < 0 will have exactly the same solution as above.

Note: If, rather than < or > sign, you have <= or >=, in division, the solution will differ slightly. I will leave it for you to figure out why and how. Feel free to get back to me if you want to confirm your conclusion.

Thanks a lot for the wonderful explanation... kudos +1

Yes, this is a neat little way to work with inequalities where factors are multiplied or divided. And, it has a solid reasoning behind it which I will just explain.

If (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0, we can draw the points a, b, c and d on the number line. e.g. Given (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)(x-4) < 0, draw the points -2, 1, 7 and 4 on the number line as shown.

Attachment:

doc.jpg

This divides the number line into 5 regions. Values of x in right most region will always give you positive value of the expression. The reason for this is that if x > 7, all factors above will be positive.

When you jump to the next region between x = 4 and x = 7, value of x here give you negative value for the entire expression because now, (x - 7) will be negative since x < 7 in this region. All other factors are still positive.

When you jump to the next region on the left between x = 1 and x = 4, expression will be positive again because now two factors (x - 7) and (x - 4) are negative, but negative x negative is positive... and so on till you reach the leftmost section.

Since we are looking for values of x where the expression is < 0, here the solution will be -2 < x < 1 or 4< x < 7

It should be obvious that it will also work in cases where factors are divided. e.g. (x - a)(x - b)/(x - c)(x - d) < 0 (x + 2)(x - 1)/(x -4)(x - 7) < 0 will have exactly the same solution as above.

Note: If, rather than < or > sign, you have <= or >=, in division, the solution will differ slightly. I will leave it for you to figure out why and how. Feel free to get back to me if you want to confirm your conclusion.

can we do modulus questions with the help of this method?

Also please suggest when we decide to take the + ve curve values or -ve values.

Yes, this is a neat little way to work with inequalities where factors are multiplied or divided. And, it has a solid reasoning behind it which I will just explain.

If (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0, we can draw the points a, b, c and d on the number line. e.g. Given (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)(x-4) < 0, draw the points -2, 1, 7 and 4 on the number line as shown.

Attachment:

doc.jpg

This divides the number line into 5 regions. Values of x in right most region will always give you positive value of the expression. The reason for this is that if x > 7, all factors above will be positive.

When you jump to the next region between x = 4 and x = 7, value of x here give you negative value for the entire expression because now, (x - 7) will be negative since x < 7 in this region. All other factors are still positive.

When you jump to the next region on the left between x = 1 and x = 4, expression will be positive again because now two factors (x - 7) and (x - 4) are negative, but negative x negative is positive... and so on till you reach the leftmost section.

Since we are looking for values of x where the expression is < 0, here the solution will be -2 < x < 1 or 4< x < 7

It should be obvious that it will also work in cases where factors are divided. e.g. (x - a)(x - b)/(x - c)(x - d) < 0 (x + 2)(x - 1)/(x -4)(x - 7) < 0 will have exactly the same solution as above.

Note: If, rather than < or > sign, you have <= or >=, in division, the solution will differ slightly. I will leave it for you to figure out why and how. Feel free to get back to me if you want to confirm your conclusion.

can we do modulus questions with the help of this method?

Also please suggest when we decide to take the + ve curve values or -ve values.

This method is only for inequalities with factors such that they are of the form (x-a). You should check out the links of the 3 posts I have given in my post above. They discuss the theory in detail and tell you why the regions are positive or negative. Also, they tell you how to handle complications such as factors of the form (a - x) or (ax + b) etc. When you have all factors of the form (x-a) (or when you convert them to this form), the rightmost region is always positive.

Yes, this is a neat little way to work with inequalities where factors are multiplied or divided. And, it has a solid reasoning behind it which I will just explain.

If (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0, we can draw the points a, b, c and d on the number line. e.g. Given (x+2)(x-1)(x-7)(x-4) < 0, draw the points -2, 1, 7 and 4 on the number line as shown.

Attachment:

doc.jpg

This divides the number line into 5 regions. Values of x in right most region will always give you positive value of the expression. The reason for this is that if x > 7, all factors above will be positive.

When you jump to the next region between x = 4 and x = 7, value of x here give you negative value for the entire expression because now, (x - 7) will be negative since x < 7 in this region. All other factors are still positive.

When you jump to the next region on the left between x = 1 and x = 4, expression will be positive again because now two factors (x - 7) and (x - 4) are negative, but negative x negative is positive... and so on till you reach the leftmost section.

Since we are looking for values of x where the expression is < 0, here the solution will be -2 < x < 1 or 4< x < 7

It should be obvious that it will also work in cases where factors are divided. e.g. (x - a)(x - b)/(x - c)(x - d) < 0 (x + 2)(x - 1)/(x -4)(x - 7) < 0 will have exactly the same solution as above.

Note: If, rather than < or > sign, you have <= or >=, in division, the solution will differ slightly. I will leave it for you to figure out why and how. Feel free to get back to me if you want to confirm your conclusion.

Hi Karishma

Thanks for your valuable tips. Can you explain the logic when the expression has a denominator or when factors are divided. I did read the solution given below, but can you please explain the logic? Or if you can share a link in which you have explained expressions with denominators, I would be grateful Thanks

Thanks for your valuable tips. Can you explain the logic when the expression has a denominator or when factors are divided. I did read the solution given below, but can you please explain the logic? Or if you can share a link in which you have explained expressions with denominators, I would be grateful Thanks

I learnt this trick while I was in school and yesterday while solving one question I recalled. Its good if you guys use it 1-2 times to get used to it.

Suppose you have the inequality

f(x) = (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0

Just arrange them in order as shown in the picture and draw curve starting from + from right.

now if f(x) < 0 consider curve having "-" inside and if f(x) > 0 consider curve having "+" and combined solution will be the final solution. I m sure I have recalled it fully but if you guys find any issue on that do let me know, this is very helpful.

Don't forget to arrange then in ascending order from left to right. a<b<c<d

So for f(x) < 0 consider "-" curves and the ans is : (a < x < b) , (c < x < d) and for f(x) > 0 consider "+" curves and the ans is : (x < a), (b < x < c) , (d < x)

If f(x) has three factors then the graph will have - + - + If f(x) has four factors then the graph will have + - + - +

If you can not figure out how and why, just remember it. Try to analyze that the function will have number of roots = number of factors and every time the graph will touch the x axis.

For the highest factor d if x>d then the whole f(x) > 0 and after every interval of the roots the signs will change alternatively.

Hi Could you please explain this question to me with this logic?

I learnt this trick while I was in school and yesterday while solving one question I recalled. Its good if you guys use it 1-2 times to get used to it.

Suppose you have the inequality

f(x) = (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d) < 0

Just arrange them in order as shown in the picture and draw curve starting from + from right.

now if f(x) < 0 consider curve having "-" inside and if f(x) > 0 consider curve having "+" and combined solution will be the final solution. I m sure I have recalled it fully but if you guys find any issue on that do let me know, this is very helpful.

Don't forget to arrange then in ascending order from left to right. a<b<c<d

So for f(x) < 0 consider "-" curves and the ans is : (a < x < b) , (c < x < d) and for f(x) > 0 consider "+" curves and the ans is : (x < a), (b < x < c) , (d < x)

If f(x) has three factors then the graph will have - + - + If f(x) has four factors then the graph will have + - + - +

If you can not figure out how and why, just remember it. Try to analyze that the function will have number of roots = number of factors and every time the graph will touch the x axis.

For the highest factor d if x>d then the whole f(x) > 0 and after every interval of the roots the signs will change alternatively.

Hi Could you please explain this question to me with this logic?

There are two methods to go about it. Either decide whether the rightmost region is positive or negative depending on your factors or ALWAYS take rightmost region to be positive and adjust your factors accordingly i.e. bring all factors to the form (x-a). The second method is discussed in detail in the links given here: inequalities-trick-91482-60.html#p1358533 _________________

Its been long time coming. I have always been passionate about poetry. It’s my way of expressing my feelings and emotions. And i feel a person can convey...

Written by Scottish historian Niall Ferguson , the book is subtitled “A Financial History of the World”. There is also a long documentary of the same name that the...

Post-MBA I became very intrigued by how senior leaders navigated their career progression. It was also at this time that I realized I learned nothing about this during my...