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Published by Abhishek Rai

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recently read a student blog on TG Townquestioning whether it is correct by the instructors to tell students “not to taketheir mock scores seriously.” After all, if a student is not performing well in mocks, something must be wrong. Thequestion really made me ask myself the reasons for my saying so. Is it even correct to say mock scores do not matter. Ithink there are several reasons instructors tell students not to take their mock scores seriously. Most important of themall is motivation. Students are never ready to recognize that scoring well in a test is more a matter of temperament andquestion selection than that of content. In fact an average student having the art of question-picking would performtwice better than a genius student who is out to solve questions in a near about serial order. Therefore, instructorswant to keep their students motivated in order to keep their enthusiasm high. The second reason for not taking mocksseriously is that the level of preparedness of students at a particular point is different. Many of the institutes start theirmocks by the month of May or June and most students are not ready by then. It is inevitable that they will performbadly. If the students take it seriously, they would spend rest of their time taking more and more tests to improvethemselves instead of studying and then the real harm would be done. For me, when I entered the CAT preparation, myverbal didn’t need preparation, my quant took three or four months of tweaking, but my DI took more than a year toreach a decent level. The level of preparedness for every student is different. So the question is, what do you do withyour mock scores? The better thing to do is to solve your mock paper, if you can solve it on your own, you don’t have aproblem with content. If you cannot, get back to studies. So don’t look hard at your scores, look hard at the paper.

The concept of averages is hardly a new concept at all. If asked, all of you would give me thefollowing formula for calculating average:. So far so good. But if I ask all of you to solve a simple problem many of you would reach fortheir pens. The average score of three students A, B, and C is 50. When the score of another student D isadded to the group, the average score become 47. What is the score of student D?Answer: for most of you, the score of student D would be 4

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47

−

3

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50 = 38.For me, the calculation would just be 47

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9 = 38.Some of you might have understood what I did. Let me start explaining through a simpleexample. Then we shall extend our explorations to more complex problems. The two images above show two beam balances, one with equal arms and the other with thearms lengths in the ratio 1: 3. The dotted line in both cases shows the average value.In the first beam balance, if you move any of the pan one unit towards the average value, theother pan would also move one unit in the direction of the average value to

keep the average constant

. For example, let the weights in the two pans be 50 kg and 60 kg. The average is 55kg. If you increase the weight in 50 kg pan by one unit (i.e. 51) bringing it nearer to theaverage, you will have to decrease the weight in the other pan by one unit (i.e. 59), bringing itone unit nearer to the average, to keep the average constant.In the second beam balance, if the arm of length 3 moves 1 unit towards the average, the armof length 1 will have to move 3 units towards the average to keep the average constant. Forexample, let the weight in pan of 3 unit arm length be 40 kg and the weight in the pan of 1 unitarm length be 60 kg. Now if I increase the weight in the first pan by 1 unit, I shall have todecrease the weight in the second pan by 3 units to keep the average constant. The same rule applies if I am moving a pan away from the average.Now, understand this- the second beam balance can also be represented with a beam balanceof equal arms but one arm having thrice the weight on the other arm. Savvy? Now let’s see theproblem once again. The average score of three students A, B, and C is 50. When the score of another student D isadded to the group, the average score become 47. What is the score of student D?

Answer: Now there are three weights on one arm. The average of the four weights is 47. Tomove each of the three weight 3 units away from the average (50

−

47) I shall have to move theweight D 3

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3 nine units away from the average. Therefore, weight D = 47

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9 = 38.Four friends have an average weight of 68. If Rahim is also included in the group, the averageweight becomes 72. what is Rahim’s weight?Answer: Same process: there are four people at a distance of 4 units from the average weightof 72. To balance them, we will have to place a person at 4

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4 = 16 units from 72 on the otherside. Therefore, Rahim’s weight = 72 + 16 = 88.A batsman in his 20

th

innings makes a score of 93 and thereby increases his average by 3. Whatis the average after 20 innings?Answer: If you have understood what I have said so far, the new average is nothing but 93

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57= 36. Let the new average be A. Therefore, there are 19 scores at a distance of 3 units from A. To balance these scores we needone score(which is 93) 19

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3 = 57 units from A on the otherside. Therefore A = 93

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57 = 36.Now let’s see this funda of ‘balancing act’ applied in a small part of a DI set from CAT 2006. Formore DI sets based on averages, you will have to visit ourCAT CBT ClubWhat is Dipan’s score in paper II in English group?Answer: Rather than any long and cumbersome method, we can do this question in a veryshort and sweet way- we just see the deviation of each group average from the overallaverage. Now the average of PCB group is 98 which is +2 from overall average. Mathematicsgroup is

−

1, Social science group is

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0.5, Vernacular group is

−

1. Therefore, total so far = 2

−

1

−

0.5

−

1 =

−

0.5. Therefore to have deviation from overall average as 0, the English group averageshould have a deviation of +0.5, i.e. the average should be 96.5. Therefore, Dipan’s mark inpaper II in English group are 97.Let’s have a look at the unbalanced scale in the figure 2 again. The beam balance is shownbelow:If you want to keep the average same while changing weights in both the pans, the weights inthe pan would be inversely proportional to arm lengths, i.e. to increase the weight in the leftpan by one unit, we shall have to increase the weight in the right pan by three units to keep theaverage constant. Here, the arm lengths signify the distance of the weights from the average.Let’s take a simple example:For example, let’s mix two solutions one with 30% milk and the other with 75% milk. Let it begiven that the mixture is of 50% milk. Now the distances (arm lengths) of both percentagesfrom the average percentage are 50 – 30 = 20% and 75 – 50 = 25%. Since the arms lengths

are in the ratio 20: 25 = 4: 5, the weights in the pan should be in the ratio 5: 4. Therefore, weare mixing the solutions in the ratio 5: 4.Let’s see some examples now:In what ratio must the rice at Rs 3.8 per kg be mixed with rice at Rs 4.5 per kg so that the priceof the mixture is Rs 4.2 per kg?Answer: By now, I believe you know what to do. The distances from the averages are 4.2 – 3.8= 0.4 and 4.5 – 4.2 = 0.3. the distances are in the ratio 4: 3, therefore, the rice should bemixed in the ratio 3: 4.A butler stole one-fourth of a wine bottle containing 60% alcohol and replaced it with water.Find the resultant concentration of the wine in the bottle.Answer: Again an easy one with a little twist- now we are mixing three-fourth solutioncontaining 60% alcohol with one-fourth solution containing 0%. The ratio of the quantitiestaken is 3/4 : 1/4 = 3: 1. Therefore, the ratio of the distances from the average would be 1: 3. Therefore, we Therefore, average value = 60%-In a wildlife sanctuary, the counting of Zebras and Ostriches is being done. It was found thatthere were 150 heads and 480 legs. How many Zebras were there in the sanctuary?Answer: No mixture here? Yes but there is! Zebra being the milk and Ostriches being the water.How can you use Alligation here. Simple, you first need to determine of what value we can takethe average. Also, if you see what is the basic difference between a Zebra and an Ostrich thathas been considered in the problem here, you will realize it is the number of legs- Zebra hasfour and Ostrich ahs two. And what is the average number of legs per animal given? It is480/150 = 3.2. The distances from the average are 3.2 – 2 = 1.2 and 4 – 3.2 = 0.8. Thesedistances are in the ratio 3: 2 or the quantities are in the ratio 2: 3. Therefore, the number of Zebras = 150

⋅

3/5 = 90.What percentage of the females polled said Yes?Answer: Alligation over here? Yes sir, because we know the average percentage of males andfemales, i.e. 50% (number of males and females are equal). Now let’s just consider thepercentage of males in those who said yes and those who said no. The correspondingpercentages are 60% and 20% respectively. Let the ratio of the number of people who said yesand the number of people who said no be x : y. The ratio of distances of the percentages fromthe average percentage is (60 – 50): (50 – 20) = 1: 3

⇒

x: y = 3 : 1. So let there be 200 people inall (100 males and 100 females). The ratio of people saying yes to people saying no is 3: 1.

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