Shawn Berry’s Criticism of the Official Guide for GMAT Review (2015 Quant Review, Problem Solving #15)

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2015 OG Quant Review PS #15. If 60 percent of a rectangular floor is covered by a rectangular rug that is 9 feet by 12 feet, what is the area, in square feet, of the floor?

SCOG 2015QR PS15

Math Lessons: (1) Translate from English to Algebra by partitioning sentences into phrases.  To translate from English to Algebra, I will rewrite the passive clause “60 percent of a rectangular floor is covered by a rectangular rug that is 9 feet by 12 feet.” with the active voice “A rectangular rug that is 9 feet by 12 feet covers 60 percent of a rectangular floor.”  The Noun-subject = “A rectangular rug that is 9 feet by 12 feet” becomes the left-hand side of our equation.  The Verb = “covers” means “is” and thus becomes our equal-to sign.  The Noun-direct object = “60 percent of a rectangular floor” becomes the right-hand side of the equation; (2) As you progress, you won’t need to rewrite a clause with active voice to translate from English to Algebra.  Let’s now translate the original “60 percent of a rectangular floor  is covered  by a rectangular rug that is 9 feet by 12 feet.” The Noun-subject = “60 percent of a rectangular floor” = left-hand side, the passive verb = “is covered” = equal, and “by a rectangular rug that is 9 feet by 12 feet” = right-hand side; and (3) Convert decimals to fractions because fractions enable cross-multiplication; (4) Cross-multiply by dividing first and multiplying second; (5) Divide 108 by 3 by knowing that 90 is 30*3 and the remaining 18 is 6*3.  Thus 108 = 36*3; and (6) Multiply by 5 is *10 and 2.

OG Calculator: The Official Guide for GMAT Review writes solutions that require a Calculator – which is absolutely not permitted on the GMAT!  If you use a calculator, your test will be cancelled, your $250 test fee will be forfeited, and you will be evaluated for further punishment.  I can’t know why the authors of The Official Guide use a calculator, but I conjecture that the authors are embarrassed by their already long and inefficient solutions and hope that nobody criticizes them for shaving a few lines off by inappropriately using a calculator.

Character count: The OG cheats with a calculator and still uses 4 lines and 297 characters, including “x = area of the floor”.  Why not use a meaningful variable?  Shawn Berry writes 2 lines and 55 characters, including the meaningful variable ‘Floor’.  The OG solution uses 540% as many characters but provides less know-how.

There’s Joy in Repetition: In both PS#1 & PS#15, I used fractions and then cross-multiplied.  The Official Guide twice used decimals and a calculator.  On the bright side, at least we’ve seen the OG use the same solution twice!

Shawn Berry (600 level). Inside an equilateral triangle of area A, a smaller equilateral triangle has vertices placed at the midpoints of the legs of the larger triangle.  What is the area of the smaller equilateral triangle?

A. A/9
B. A/8
C. A/6
D. A/4
E. A/3

 

 

Shawn Berry (650 level). At the center of a circle is a bulls eye with a radius equal to 20% of the circle’s radius.  If the area of the circle excluding the bulls eye is 48 square inches, what is the area, in square inches, of the bulls eye?

A. 2
B. 4
C. 6
D. 8
E. 12

 

 

Shawn Berry (700 level). If a cube of side length s centimeters and uniform thickness t centimeters has its interior surface area equal to 81% of its external surface area, what is the ratio of s to t?

A. 6:1
B. 8:1
C. 9:1
D. 10:1
E. 20:1

 

 

Shawn Berry (750 level). A sphere of uniform thickness has its interior volume equal to 50% of its external volume.  Given that the volume of a sphere is 4πr³/3, the inside radius is approximately what portion of the outside radius?

A. 60%
B. 65%
C. 70%
D. 75%
E. 80%

 

 

 

Legal Note: “The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) firmly believes that the Official Guide for GMAT Review is all that you need to perform your best on the GMAT … and that no additional techniques or strategies are needed to do well.”  I, Shawn Berry, know better.  I have twice earned a perfect 800 on the GMAT-CAT.  I document that the Official Guide writes inconsistent, inefficient, and downright confusing solutions that take longer than the allotted 2 minutes/question.  Herein I make fair use of GMAC copyrighted material – mostly its confusing solutions – for the transformative educational purpose of teaching students the clear, consistent, and efficient Mathematics, Grammar, and Logic needed to answer GMAT questions in less than 2 minutes.

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