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Greatest Common Divisor

This topic has 1 expert reply and 0 member replies
josh80 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Greatest Common Divisor

Post Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:26 pm
What is the greatest common divisor of positive integers m and n?

1) m is a prime number

2) 2n = 7m

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:35 pm
josh80 wrote:
What is the greatest common divisor of positive integers m and n?

1) m is a prime number
2) 2n = 7m
Target question: What is the GCD of m and n?

Statement 1: m is a prime number
If m is a prime number, it has exactly 2 divisors (1 and m), so this tells us that the GCD of m and n must be either 1 or m.
Since we cannot answer the target question with certainty, statement 1 is NOT SUFFICIENT.

Statement 2: 2n = 7m
If 2n = 7m then we can rearrange the equation to get n = (7/2)m

IMPORTANT: Notice that if m were to equal an ODD number, then n would not be an integer. For example, if m = 3, then n = 21/2 (n is not an integer). Similarly, if m = 11, then n = 77/2 (n is not an integer). So, in order for n to be an INTEGER, m must be EVEN.

If m must be EVEN, there are several possible values for m and n. Consider these two cases:
case a: m = 2 and n = 7, in which case the GCD = 1
case b: m = 4 and n = 14, in which case the GCD=2
Since we cannot answer the target question with certainty, statement 2 is NOT SUFFICIENT.

Statements 1 & 2 combined
From statement 1, we know that m is prime, and from statement 2, we know that m is even.
Since 2 is the only even prime number, we can conclude that m must equal 2.
If m = 2, then n must equal 7, which means that the GCD must be 1.
Since we are able to answer the target question with certainty, statements 1 & 2 combined are sufficient, and the answer is C

Cheers,
Brent

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