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MATH MONDAYS ON

Summary: Number Systems


Number System is easily the most important topic on the quant section of several
aptitude exams. Not only is the topic vast, but it forms the basis for a lot of other topics
and majority of questions in actual exam.
This topic has a range of subtopics and the questions can vary from being very easy to
tough in difficulty level. It is imperative that you solidify this topic from test prep point of
you as it does have an impact in your preparation for other topics as well as the final
result in a big way.

Questions Discussed During The Session:


Data Sufficiency
Is N an even number?
1. 5N is an even number.
2. 3N is an even number.

Is a +b > s + t?
1. a > s + t.
2. b > s + t.
Is m > n?
(1) n /m < 1
(2) n > 0

Problem Solving
If Z is a positive integer, then the least value of Z for which Z! is divisible
by 1,000 is ?
(A) 1
(B) 4
(C) 9
(D) 15
(E) 30

What is the remainder when we divide 390+ 590by 34?

(A) 0
(B) 1
(C) 17
(D) 33
(E) None of the foregoing

Additional Questions

Q. Could you please help me with the remainder theorem? Cant wrap my head
around it. An example may help.

According to remainder theorem, when we divide a polynomial P(x) by x-a the remainder r
equals P(a).
Why does this happen?
Lets say we have a polynomial function defined as follows:
P(x) = (x-a)*Q(x) + R(x)
If we put x=a in the above equation, we get:
P(a) = (a-a)Q(a) + R(a)
P(a) = R(a), the remainder
Lets see an example to elucidate the same.

What is the remainder when 4x3-3x2+2x-1 divided by x-2?


Just find P(2) = 4*23-3*22+2*2 -1 = 32 12 + 4 1 = 23

The extension of the remainder theorem is the factor theorem, as per which if P(a) = 0, then
(x-a) is a factor of the polynomial P(x). This is the same as saying that a is the root of P(x).
Alternative, if (x-a) is a factor of P(x), then P(a) = 0

So, if P(x) = x2- 4x+4, then P(2) = 0 => 2 is the root of P(x) or P(x) is
divisible by (x-2)

Q. What are the important number properties that can be tested across exams such as
GMAT, GRE, SAT?
You have to be on top of the following as far as integer properties are concerned:

Odds and Evens

Prime and Composite


o Being able to identify whether a number is a prime or not

Negative, Non-Negative, and Positive (a lot of DS questions trap you and the only way
to keep avoiding them is taking all the cases. Never miss testing negative numbers,
Positive numbers, and Zero)

Fractions and Integers (Again important to never miss cases, especially on DS


problems)

Divisibility criteria for basic composite and prime numbers

Factors, multiples, and prime factorization of integers


o Being able to calculate the number of divisors of an integer
o Operations on divisors
Sum of divisors
Product of divisors

GCD and LCM

Remainders
o Cyclicity of powers of integers
o Finding the last digit and last two digits
o Remainder and Factor Theorem

On the exam, it is important to read the question very carefully and not make silly errors.
While plugging in numbers to test cases, proactively include all such cases (as applicable).

What kind out questions can be around divisibility tests? Please help with
the most recurring questions on this concept.
Students should be strong on the basic divisibility rules such as the following:
o Divisibility by 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64...
o Divisibility by 3 and 9
o Divisibility by 5
o Divisibility by 6, 12, 14, 15, 18...
o Divisibility by 7, 11, and 13
Majority of the questions that you may be asked questions would exploit your understanding
of the above basic rules.
Divisibility questions may include questions, in which students may be given cases where a
number is individually divisible by two different numbers and then asked questions around it.
You may also get tested on divisibility concepts involving a factorial of a number or a square
of a number.
You should be good with divisors or factors related maths:
o Number of odd divisors
o Number of even divisors
o Number of divisors that are perfect squares
o Sum of even divisors
o Sum of odd divisors
Q. Is 2 really the least prime number? Or can the prime numbers be negative as
well?
This is a great question.
Actually, the patterns related to prime numbers were developed much before
mathematicians felt the need of negative numbers. If the negative numbers were
considered prime then it could have interfered with other patterns and made them
untrue. For example, there would have been a violation of the fundamental theorem of
arithmetic and we would no longer have been able to uniquely factorize numbers into
prime factors. We factorize 6 as 2*3, but with negative primes, (-2)*(-3) would also
have been a possible factorization and prime factorization is no longer unique.
The correct definition of prime numbers says that they are natural numbers that are
divisible by exactly two distinct positive integers. If we drop the word positive, then
we would have a problem. The only integers with two distinct factors are -1 and 1 and
we will have to start calling them prime. So, indeed 2 is the smallest prime number.

For further expert tips & strategies, you can get in touch with Vineet
on QS LEAP.