In the table, select a value for \(M\) and a value for \(N\) that are jointly consistent with the given information. Make only two selections, one in each column.

The OA is [spoiler]M=3 N=6[/spoiler]

**Source: Official Guide**

In the table, select a value for \(M\) and a value for \(N\) that are jointly consistent with the given information. Make only two selections, one in each column.

The OA is [spoiler]M=3 N=6[/spoiler]

- ceilidh.erickson
- GMAT Instructor
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If one coin flip has a 1/2 chance of landing face up, then the probability that two coin flips will both be face up is \(\frac{1}{2}\cdot\frac{1}{2}=\frac{1}{4}\)

Thus, for any M coin flips, the probability of all flips landing face up is \(p=\frac{1}{2^M}\) , and for any N coin flips, the probability of all flips landing face up is \(q=\frac{1}{2^N}\) .

We're told that \(\frac{1}{p} + \frac{1}{q} = 72\) , so we can infer that \({2^M}+{2^N}=72\) . Think of powers of 2 that would add to 72, starting with the largest power of 2 less than 72:

\({2^6}\) --> 64 + 8 = 72 --> yes! These are both powers of 2.

\({2^5}\) --> 32 + 40 = 72 --> no, 40 is not a power of 2.

\({2^4}\) --> 16 + 56 = 72 --> no, 56 is not a power of 2.

\({2^3}\) --> 8 + 64 = 72 --> yes, we already know this works.

\({2^2}\) --> 4 + 68 = 72 --> no, 68 is not a power of 2.

\({2^1}\) --> 2 + 70 = 72 --> no, 70 is not a power of 2.

The only two numbers that work are \({2^6}\) and \({2^3}\) , 64 and 8. Since we're given the constraint that M must be less than N, \({2^M}\) must equal \({2^3}\) and \({2^N}\) = \({2^6}\) . Thus, [spoiler]M=3 and N=6[/spoiler] .

Thus, for any M coin flips, the probability of all flips landing face up is \(p=\frac{1}{2^M}\) , and for any N coin flips, the probability of all flips landing face up is \(q=\frac{1}{2^N}\) .

We're told that \(\frac{1}{p} + \frac{1}{q} = 72\) , so we can infer that \({2^M}+{2^N}=72\) . Think of powers of 2 that would add to 72, starting with the largest power of 2 less than 72:

\({2^6}\) --> 64 + 8 = 72 --> yes! These are both powers of 2.

\({2^5}\) --> 32 + 40 = 72 --> no, 40 is not a power of 2.

\({2^4}\) --> 16 + 56 = 72 --> no, 56 is not a power of 2.

\({2^3}\) --> 8 + 64 = 72 --> yes, we already know this works.

\({2^2}\) --> 4 + 68 = 72 --> no, 68 is not a power of 2.

\({2^1}\) --> 2 + 70 = 72 --> no, 70 is not a power of 2.

The only two numbers that work are \({2^6}\) and \({2^3}\) , 64 and 8. Since we're given the constraint that M must be less than N, \({2^M}\) must equal \({2^3}\) and \({2^N}\) = \({2^6}\) . Thus, [spoiler]M=3 and N=6[/spoiler] .

Ceilidh Erickson

EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education

Harvard Graduate School of Education

EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education

Harvard Graduate School of Education