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GMAT Club Legend  V
Joined: 11 Sep 2015
Posts: 4329
Within a group of students, x students are taking English  [#permalink]

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4 00:00

Difficulty:   45% (medium)

Question Stats: 55% (01:05) correct 45% (01:04) wrong based on 114 sessions

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Within a group of students, x students are taking English, y students are taking Math, and z students are taking both English and Math. Which of the following represents the number of students who are taking English or Math but not both?

A) x + y - z
B) x + y + z
C) 2x + 2y - z
D) x + y - 2z
E) x + y + 2z

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Manager  S
Joined: 22 Jun 2017
Posts: 71
Location: Brazil
GMAT 1: 600 Q48 V25
GPA: 3.5
WE: Engineering (Energy and Utilities)
Re: Within a group of students, x students are taking English  [#permalink]

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Option D.

x - English
y - Math
z - English and Math

(x-z) = just English
(y-z) = just Math

English or Math but not both = (x-z) + (y-z) = x + y - 2z
GMAT Club Legend  V
Joined: 11 Sep 2015
Posts: 4329
Re: Within a group of students, x students are taking English  [#permalink]

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GMATPrepNow wrote:
Within a group of students, x students are taking English, y students are taking Math, and z students are taking both English and Math. Which of the following represents the number of students who are taking English or Math but not both?

A) x + y - z
B) x + y + z
C) 2x + 2y - z
D) x + y - 2z
E) x + y + 2z

We can solve this by using the Double Matrix Method. This technique can be used for most questions featuring a population in which each member has two characteristics associated with it (aka overlapping sets questions).

Here, we have a population of students, and the two characteristics are:
- taking English or not taking English
- taking Math or not taking Math

We want to find: (number of students taking English but not Math) + (number of students taking Math but not English)
So, we can set up our matrix as follows: We need to find the number of students in the 2 boxes with stars in them.

GIVEN: x students are taking English, and y students are taking Math
So, we can add this information to our diagram as follows: GIVEN: z students are taking both English and Math
So, we can add this information to our diagram as follows: Let's first examine the top ROW.
If a total of x students are taking English, and z of them are also taking Math, then x-z of them are NOT taking Math. Now examine the left-hand COLUMN.
If a total of y students are taking Math, and z of them are also taking English, then y-z of them are NOT taking English. So, the number of students who are taking English or Math but not both = (x - z) + (y - z)
= x + y - 2z

NOTE: This question type is VERY COMMON on the GMAT, so be sure to master the technique.

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Joined: 18 Jun 2019
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Within a group of students, x students are taking English  [#permalink]

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Hey, all!

Could anyone plase explain why the standard formula doesn't work in this question, i.e. Total = Set1+Set2 + Neither - Both

I understand that according to the text neither in this case = 0, but other parts of the formula do not lead to the right asnwer. So, total = Set1(x) + Set2 (y) - Both (z) = x+y-z.

UPD: the mystery is solved. When we substract z only once, we still acoount it but avoid doubling. And when we substract z twice we find pure set of x and set of y. Within a group of students, x students are taking English   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2020, 04:55
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