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Intern
Joined: 17 Jun 2018
Posts: 6

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16 Jul 2018, 09:39
I often get confused when a word problem includes the words "x percent" as a variable and often the question asks to express the answer in terms of x.

Am I suppose to assume that x is an integer such as 50 as opposed to 50% or 0.50? E.g. If it's 50 percent, then x is 50. When I work the problem, should I use x/100 in place of "x percent" or use 0.x?

Also when do we need to multiple the answer by 100 at the end to express it as a percent?
Director
Status: Tutor - BrushMyQuant
Joined: 05 Apr 2011
Posts: 610
Location: India
Concentration: Finance, Marketing
Schools: XLRI (A)
GMAT 1: 700 Q51 V31
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WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)

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16 Jul 2018, 19:10
1
Top Contributor
As a rule of thumb, start using x percentage (or any percentage) as x/100 and then you will not see any problem.
When the question is asking you about percentage increase then you need to do ((increase)/Initial value) * 100
When the question is asking you about percentage decrease then you need to do ((decrease)/Initial value) * 100

Example:

1. 50% of a is b

lets break down each and every word
50% -> 50/100
of -> *
a -> a
is -> =
b -> b
so, in total we have
(50/100) * a = b

2. x% of y is z

lets break down each and every word
x% -> x/100
of -> *
y -> y
is -> =
z -> z
so, in total we have
(x/100) * y = z

3. x is what percent greater than y
Let's take x is t% greater than y
lets break down each and every word
x% -> x/100
is -> =
t% greater than-> (1 + (t/100))
y -> y
so, in total we have
x = (1 + (t/100)) * y
Simplifying
x/y = 1 + (t/100)
(t/100) = 1 - x/y
t = (y-x)*100/y

Hope it helps!
lilypond789 wrote:
I often get confused when a word problem includes the words "x percent" as a variable and often the question asks to express the answer in terms of x.

Am I suppose to assume that x is an integer such as 50 as opposed to 50% or 0.50? E.g. If it's 50 percent, then x is 50. When I work the problem, should I use x/100 in place of "x percent" or use 0.x?

Also when do we need to multiple the answer by 100 at the end to express it as a percent?

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Intern
Joined: 17 Jun 2018
Posts: 6

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16 Jul 2018, 21:06
Very helpful! Thanks for breaking it down.
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