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# Data Sufficiency Trick Questions

The tricks used in Data Sufficiency questions come from a narrow pool of tricks. Learn to identify each of the tricks, and you will be in a strong position to answer each question. In approaching each question, apply the three step method we discussed earlier: Step (1) Look at the question stem. Step (2) Look at each statement individually. Step (3) Then look at both statements in combination. It is important that you have the discipline to stick to this approach. The Data Sufficiency questions tend to be trick questions, particularly the difficult ones, and straying from this basic strategy will increase the chances of you being fooled. Remember that standardized tests are based on the premise that you can separate students into groups of ability. In order to do this, the less capable students must get questions wrong. To make sure less capable students get low scores, the tests are deliberately designed with trick questions specifically made to fool you.

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Sol: (I) Alone is obviously insufficient. To use (II) You need to know what the card was worth at some time between 1987 and 1997. So (II) alone is insufficient, but by using (I) and (II) together you can figure out the worth of the baseball card in January 1991. The trick here is not to do the calculations. If you tried to actually calculate the value in January 1991, you have fallen into the trap. All that matters is that sufficient information is available. The test designers make these questions to make you waste time so that you do not finish the test on time. This is called the DELAY trick because it causes you to be delayed and lose valuable time if you do unnecessary calculations. 3. Backsolve Is the two-digit integer, with digits r (first) and m(second), a multiple of 7? (I) r + m = 13 (II) r is divisible by 3 Sol: With statements (I) and (II) we may determine that the two digit number is not a multiple of 7. Using statement (I) Try all the two digit numbers that sum 13: 94, 85, 76, 67, 58, 49. Of those, only 49 is divisible by 7. So, using statement (I), rm may or may not be a multiple of 7; it is insufficient. (II) Is not sufficient because there are many numbers with r that are divisible by 3 and that are multiples of 7 (35, 63, 98). Combined, there are NO possible numbers rm that are divisible by 7 and satisfy statements (I) and (II). The answer is NO, rm is not a multiple of 7. Using statements (I) and (II) we may deduce this. Using statement (II), however, 49 is not a multiple of 3. So, combining the two statements proves that rm is not a multiple of 7. In other words, weve used the two statements to deduce that rm is not a multiple of 7.This looks like a very intimidating question. As a rule, when you encounter a highly intimidating question such as this one, you should plug in possible answers. This question defies an algebraic solution, so it must be solved through back solving. 4. Red Herring Trick Billy sells twice as many \$20 tickets as Tim, and Tim sells three times as many \$10 tickets as Billy. How many tickets did Billy sell? (Tickets are either \$10 or \$20). (I) Tim sold a total of 35 tickets. (II) Together Billy and Tim sold 70 tickets for \$1000. Sol: (I) is not sufficient. Let x = the number of \$20 tickets sold by Tim and y = the number of \$10 tickets sold by Billy. Then Billy sold 2x (\$20 tickets) + y (\$10 tickets) , Tim sold x (\$20 tickets) + 3y (\$10 tickets)(2) implies 70 = x + 2x + y + 3y and 1000 = 20(x + 2x) + 10 (y + 3y)- divide this equation by 20 to simplify. Subtract these two equations 70 = 3x + 4y -50 = -3x - 2y 20 = 2y may be solved for x and y and subsequently y = 10 and x = 10, Billy sold 2(10) + 10 = 30 tickets. The trick here is that (I) is completely unnecessary and a distraction. The information in (I) may help answer the question, but it is unnecessary; (II) can do it alone. A red herring is an American/English phrase for something that is a distraction to the issue. In this case, the first statement is a distraction.

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5.

Super Statement Trick What is the average (arithmetic mean) of 3x and 12z? (I) x + 4z = 20 (II) x + z = 8 Sol: Yes, combining (I) and (II) will solve the question, but (I) can do it alone. The trap is (3). Students will know that the two statements together can solve the question. Super Statement questions involve questions where together both statements can solve a question, but carefully examined, one statement may solve it alone. The given information asks for the average of 3x and 12z, which is (3x + 12z) / 2, or 3(x + 4z)/2. Statement (I) tells us the value of x + 4z, 3(x + 4z). So you can solve the average formula directly without using the second statement. x + 4z = 20, so 3x + 12z = 60, meaning that the average = 30. You may use statement (II) to solve the problem, but statement (I) can do it itself (thus disqualifying choice C, which requires both (I) and (II) to be insufficient). HINT: On difficult Data Sufficiency questions, the statements usually have more value than it appears at first glance. When drawing a geometric figure or checking a given one, be sure to include drawings of extreme cases as well as ordinary ones.

Example 1: In the figure to the right, AC is a chord and B is a point on the circle. What is the measure of angle x?

x C

Although in the drawing AC looks to be a diameter, that cannot be assumed. All we know is that AC is a chord. Hence, numerous cases are possible, three of which are illustrated below:

Case I B

Case II B A A x C

Case III B x C

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In Case I, x is greater than 45 degrees; in Case II, x equals 45 degrees; in Case III, x is less than 45 degrees. Hence, the given information is not sufficient to answer the question. Example 2: Three rays emanate from a common point and form three angles with measures p, q, and r. What is the measure of q + r ? It is natural to make the drawing symmetric as follows:

P r

In this case, p = q = r = 120, so q + r = 240. However, there are other drawings possible. For example:

P q r

In this case, q + r = 180. Hence, the given information is not sufficient to answer the question.