Bunuel wrote:
2. What is the units digit of \((17^3)^4-1973^{3^2}\)?
A. 0
B. 2
C. 4
D. 6
E. 8
Must know for the GMAT:
I. The units digit of \((abc)^n\) is the same as that of \(c^n\), which means that the units digit of \((17^3)^4\) is that same as that of \((7^3)^4\) and the units digit of \(1973^{3^2}\) is that same as that of \(3^{3^2}\).
II. If exponentiation is indicated by stacked symbols, the rule is to work from the top down, thus:
\(a^m^n=a^{(m^n)}\) and not \((a^m)^n\), which on the other hand equals to \(a^{mn}\).
So:
\((a^m)^n=a^{mn}\);
\(a^m^n=a^{(m^n)}\).
Thus, \((7^3)^4=7^{(3*4)}=7^{12}\) and \(3^{3^2}=3^{(3^2)}=3^9\).
III. The units digit of integers in positive integer power repeats in specific pattern (cyclicity): The units digit of 7 and 3 in positive integer power repeats in patterns of 4:
1. 7^1=7 (last digit is 7)
2. 7^2=9 (last digit is 9)
3. 7^3=3 (last digit is 3)
4. 7^4=1 (last digit is 1)
5. 7^5=7 (last digit is 7 again!)
...
1. 3^1=3 (last digit is 3)
2. 3^2=9 (last digit is 9)
3. 3^3=27 (last digit is 7)
4. 3^4=81 (last digit is 1)
5. 3^5=243 (last digit is 3 again!)
...
Thus th units digit of \(7^{12}\) will be 1 (4th in pattern, as 12 is a multiple of cyclicty number 4) and the units digit of \(3^9\) will be 3 (first in pattern, as 9=4*2+1).
So, we have that the units digit of \((17^3)^4=17^{12}\) is 1 and the units digit of \(1973^3^2=1973^9\) is 3. Also notice that the second number is much larger then the first one, thus their difference will be negative, something like 11-13=-2, which gives the final answer that the units digit of \((17^3)^4-1973^{3^2}\) is 2.
Answer B.
Hi
Bunuel,
Could you please tell me where I am going wrong here:
Last digit of 7^12 = 1 (cyclicity of 7,9,3,1)
Last digit of (1973)^9 = 3 (cyclicity of 3,9,7,1)
Last digit of (....1) - ( ....3): shouldn't this be 8? The unit's digit of 1st number is larger than the second one. There will be a borrow from the ten's digit that will result in: 11-3 = 8. Please advise?