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NUMBER THEORY
Consecutive Integers
Consecutive integers are integers that follow one another, without skipping any integers. 7, 8, 9, and -2, -1, 0, 1, are consecutive integers.
• Sum of \(n\) consecutive integers equals the mean multiplied by the number of terms, \(n\). Given consecutive integers \(\{-3, -2, -1, 0, 1,2\}\), \(mean=\frac{-3+2}{2}=-\frac{1}{2}\), (mean equals to the average of the first and last terms), so the sum equals to \(-\frac{1}{2}*6=-3\).
• If n is odd, the sum of consecutive integers is always divisible by n. Given \(\{9,10,11\}\), we have \(n=3\) consecutive integers. The sum of 9+10+11=30, therefore, is divisible by 3.
• If n is even, the sum of consecutive integers is never divisible by n. Given \(\{9,10,11,12\}\), we have \(n=4\) consecutive integers. The sum of 9+10+11+12=42, therefore, is not divisible by 4.
• The product of \(n\) consecutive integers is always divisible by \(n!\).
Given \(n=4\) consecutive integers: \(\{3,4,5,6\}\). The product of 3*4*5*6 is 360, which is divisible by 4!=24.
Evenly Spaced Set
Evenly spaced set or an arithmetic progression is a sequence of numbers such that the difference of any two successive members of the sequence is a constant. The set of integers \(\{9,13,17,21\}\) is an example of evenly spaced set. Set of consecutive integers is also an example of evenly spaced set.
• If the first term is \(a_1\) and the common difference of successive members is \(d\), then the \(n_{th}\) term of the sequence is given by:
\(a_ n=a_1+d(n-1)\)
• In any evenly spaced set the arithmetic mean (average) is equal to the median and can be calculated by the formula \(mean=median=\frac{a_1+a_n}{2}\), where \(a_1\) is the first term and \(a_n\) is the last term. Given the set \(\{7,11,15,19\}\), \(mean=median=\frac{7+19}{2}=13\).
• The sum of the elements in any evenly spaced set is given by:
\(Sum=\frac{a_1+a_n}{2}*n\), the mean multiplied by the number of terms. OR, \(Sum=\frac{2a_1+d(n-1)}{2}*n\)
• Special cases:
Sum of n first integers: \(1+2+...+n=\frac{1+n}{2}*n\)
Sum of n first odd numbers: \(a_1+a_2+...+a_n=1+3+...+a_n=n^2\), where \(a_n\) is the last, \(n_{th}\) term and given by: \(a_n=2n-1\). Given \(n=5\) first odd integers, then their sum equals to \(1+3+5+7+9=5^2=25\).
Sum of n first positive even numbers: \(a_1+a_2+...+a_n=2+4+...+a_n=n(n+1)\), where \(a_n\) is the last, \(n_{th}\) term and given by: \(a_n=2n\). Given \(n=4\) first positive even integers, then their sum equals to \(2+4+6+8=4(4+1)=20\).
• If the evenly spaced set contains odd number of elements, the mean is the middle term, so the sum is middle term multiplied by number of terms. There are five terms in the set {1, 7, 13, 19, 25}, middle term is 13, so the sum is 13*5 =65.
There seems to be a discrepancy in what some study guides consider consecutive integers. In
Kaplan Premier 2011 consecutive integers are defined as numbers that occur at a fixed interval or exhibit a fixed pattern. However, on the
Kaplan Free Practice Test I got a DS question wrong because it didn't consider evenly spaced numbers to necessarily be consecutive. Your definition also separates the two. Could anyone clarify which is correct so I know for the actual GMAT. Thanks!
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