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# What is the median value of 5 data? 1) The first 3 smallest data are 1

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Math Revolution GMAT Instructor
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What is the median value of 5 data? 1) The first 3 smallest data are 1  [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2017, 01:42
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15% (low)

Question Stats:

92% (00:30) correct 8% (00:32) wrong based on 50 sessions

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[GMAT math practice question]

What is the median value of 5 data?

1) The first 3 smallest data are 10, 12, 15.
2) The biggest data is 20

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Re: What is the median value of 5 data? 1) The first 3 smallest data are 1  [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2017, 03:58
median of 5 values would be 3rd number arranged in ascending order

stat1 : 3 smallest number are given, so median = 15 ; sufficient
stat2: biggest data 20 , we aren't provided with other numbers hence not sufficient

ans A
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Math Revolution GMAT Instructor
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Re: What is the median value of 5 data? 1) The first 3 smallest data are 1  [#permalink]

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06 Oct 2017, 02:40
=>
Forget conventional ways of solving math questions. In DS, VA (Variable Approach) method is the easiest and quickest way to find the answer without actually solving the problem. Remember that equal number of variables and independent equations ensures a solution.
We can assume that a1 ≤ a2 ≤ a3 ≤ a4 ≤a5. The question asks what the value of a3 is.
In the original condition, there is 5 variables and 0 equation. Therefore, E is most likely to be the answer.

Condition 1)
a1 = 10, a2 = 12, a3 = 15.
Thus, the median is 15 and this is sufficient.

Condition 2)
a5 = 20.
This is not sufficient.

Therefore, unlike our expectation, E is the answer.
Normally 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 con 1) and con 2). Therefore, C has a high chance of being the answer, which is why we attempt to solve the question using con 1) and con 2) together. Here, there is 70% chance that C is the answer, while E has 25% chance. These two are the key questions. 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 according to DS definition, we solve the question assuming C would be our answer hence using con 1) and con 2) together. (It saves us time). Obviously, there may be cases where the answer is A, B, D or E.

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Re: What is the median value of 5 data? 1) The first 3 smallest data are 1 &nbs [#permalink] 06 Oct 2017, 02:40
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