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calculate large exponents

This topic has 2 expert replies and 0 member replies
VINIYA Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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calculate large exponents

Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:21 am
How can I calculate (1.035)^ 12 very fast? any help is greatly appreciated.

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Post Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:33 am
VINIYA wrote:
How can I calculate (1.035)^ 12 very fast? any help is greatly appreciated.
You wouldn't be required to perform this calculation on the GMAT.
Please post the entire question (with the 5 answer choices). It's possible that there's another approach that you've overlooked.

Cheers,
Brent

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Post Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:00 pm
To do it exactly we'd have to ask Shakuntala Devi! She'd be able to do it in a matter of seconds, but I don't know how. She wrote quite a few books on mental math, though.

I agree with Brent, we'd be best off estimating, but it'd still be tough. My rule of thumb is that (1 + small change) squared tends to be about 1 + 2*small change, so I'd work with that:

(1 + .035) * (1 + .035) ≈ 1.07

(1 + .07) * (1 + .07) ≈ 1.14

(1 + .14) * (1 + .14) ≈ 1.28

So 1.035 to the eighth gets us about 1.28. From there, we're looking at 1.28 (the eighth power) * 1.14 (the fourth power), so about 1.42. (The real answer is about 1.51, so you be the judge of whether this is close enough! The problem with this approximation is the more times you do it, the grosser the error becomes.)

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