Forget conventional ways of solving math questions. In DS, Variable approach is the easiest and quickest way to find the answer without actually solving the problem. Remember equal number of variables and independent equations ensures a solution.

Three brothers shared all the proceeds from the sale of their inherited property. If the eldest brother received exactly 5/8 of the total proceeds, how much money did the youngest brother (who received the smallest share) receive from the sale?

(1) The youngest brother received exactly 1/5 the amount received by the middle brother.

(2) The middle brother received exactly half of the two million dollars received by the eldest brother.

In the original condition and the question, there are 3 variables(y,m,e) and 1 equation(e=(5/8)(y+m+e)), which should match with the number of equations. So you need 2 equations. For 1) 1 equation, for 2) 1 equation, which is likely to make C the answer.

For 2), there are 2 equations from e=2 millom=(5/8)(y+m+e) and m= 1 million, which is sufficient.

Therefore, B is the answer.

For cases where we need 2 more equations, such as original conditions with “2 variables”, or “3 variables and 1 equation”, or “4 variables and 2 equations”, we have 1 equation each in both 1) and 2). Therefore, there is 70% chance that C is the answer, while E has 25% chance. These two are the majority. In case of common mistake type 3,4, the answer may be from A, B or D but there is only 5% chance. Since C is most likely to be the answer using 1) and 2) separately according to DS definition (It saves us time). Obviously there may be cases where the answer is A, B, D or E.

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