GMAT Algebra Problem – Parts – Hotdogs & Donuts

GMAT Algebra Problem Introduction

Hi guys. Today I’m here with a classic GMAT Algebra problem, what we call a parts problem. And if you take a look at this problem you’re going to realize that it just looks like a bunch of algebra. But the key here is in how you frame it. We’ve got this diner or whatnot selling hot dogs and then after that point, so imagine like a timeline, they start selling donuts. Then they give us a piece of information about hot dogs to donuts over that course of secondary time but then give us this overarching total number of food products sold.

Distill The Ration

So what we need to do are two steps: the first one is fairly straightforward. We see that we have to get rid of the hot dogs that were sold in advance in order to distill the ratio but then the ratio can seem very, very complex, especially because it just tells us seven times and a lot of times the GMAT will do this as a way to throw us off the scent. So when we have seven times, what that means is we have eight parts. That is it’s saying for every one of these we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven of these. Meaning in total there are eight. So while seven is kind of a scary number, eight is a number we can divide by easily. You always want to look for that when you’re given a ratio of one thing to another especially when they say something times as many.

Solving the GMAT Problem

We take that thirty thousand two hundred knock off the fifty four hundred and get to twenty four thousand eight hundred and lo and behold that’s divisible by eight meaning each part is going to be 3100. Notice there’s no complex division there, 24 divided by 8, 800 divided by 8 and that’s the sort of mental math we can expect from the GMAT always. Which as you’ve seen before: if you’re doing that you’re doing something wrong.

Each part is 3100 and we’re concerned with the seven parts so we can either scale that 3100 up by seven into 21700, again the math works out super smoothly or we can take the 24800 knock off 3100 and get to that 21700. Notice in the answer choices there’s a few things to address sort of common errors that might be made.

Reviewing the Answer Signals

On one of the answer choices what you’re looking at is dividing the total, the 30 200 by eight and multiplying by seven that is seven eighths of it without getting rid of those first 5400. Another answer is close to our 21700 correct answer and this is also a fairly reliable signal from the GMAT.

When they give you a range of answers but two of them are kind of tightly clustered together a lot of times it’s going to be one of the two and that second one there is to prevent you from too roughly estimating. But at the same time if you’re short on time or just in general you want to hone down and understand what you’re supposed to do that serves as a really strong signal. And then one of the answer choices is the 1/8 of it rather than the 7/8.

Clustered Answer Choices

I want to speak a little more deeply about that signal about those two tightly clustered answer choices because as I said it can help you narrow to a very quick 50/50 when you’re constrained for time or this problem is just one that’s really not up your alley but it also can be leveraged in a really, really neat way.

If we assume that one or the other is the answer choice we can differentiate these two different answer choices by what they’re divisible by and so notice the 21700 is very clearly, with strong mental math is divisible by seven. Where the other one is not. Also neither of them are divisible by eight. We can look at these two say okay one of them is probably right, one of them is divisible by seven, the other one is not, so there’s our right answer and we can move on to the next problem. So I hope this helps. Write your comments and questions below. Subscribe to our channel at Apex GMAT here and give us a call if we can ever help you.

To work on similar GMAT algebra problem/s see this link: Work Rate Problem.

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