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# 05/07/2015 Barrons GRE ­ Lesson ­ Absolute Value

Prep Lesson
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## Top 6 Recommended Lessons

Absolute Value
General Review of GR..
Proficiency

The Absolute Value function is present throughout the Quantitative section of the
GRE. This chapter will cover its basics and some methods of solution for solving
Rate Problems
Absolute Value problems.
Proficiency
Definition

The absolute value of any number is its positive value. The absolute value of x is
written as |x|. Work Problems
Proficiency
|–4| = 4
|17| = 17
Text Completion and ..
|0| = 0 Proficiency

The Absolute Value function has several properties as a result of its definition:

## if a < 0 Arguments Review

if a = 0 Proficiency
if a > 0

for all values of x

## Two Solutions for Every Equation GRE Essay Review

Proficiency
Unless an Absolute Value expression is set equal to zero, every Absolute Value
equation will have two solutions: one positive, and one negative:

## If |x| = 13, then x = 13 or x = –13.

Method of Solving

The method of solving Absolute Value equations is similar to solving linear equations.
The preceding rule is the only difference, but it does indeed have an effect on the
proper method of solution:

## 1. Isolate the absolute value on one side of the equation.

2. Split the absolute value equation into two equations: one accounting for the
positive possibility, and one for the negative possibility.

3. Solve each equation, and take the union of their solutions as the solution to the
original equation.

Example

## Q. If |5x – 3| – 2 = 10, what is x?

Solution:

|5x – 3| – 2 = 10

|5x – 3| = 12

At this point we must take the crucial step of splitting into two equations. In the
first, we will set the expression inside the absolute value equal to the opposite
side of the equation. In the second, we must set the expression inside the
absolute value equal to the opposite of the opposite side of the equation.

5x – 3 = 12 5x – 3 = ‐12
x=3 x = ‐9/5

Example

## Q. Solve for x if |7 – 2x| – 25 = 0.

Solution:

|7 – 2x| – 25 = 0

|7 – 2x| = 25

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05/07/2015 Barrons GRE ­ Lesson ­ Absolute Value
7 – 2x = 25       7 – 2x = ‐25

x = ‐15/2      x = 16

difference:

## 1st Inequality: Remove the absolute value.

2nd Inequality: Remove the absolute value, switch the sign of the inequality,
and negate the opposite side.

3. Solve for each inequality, and take the union of their solutions.

Example

Solution:

## |3(x – 2)| < 9

Now we must again take the critical step of splitting the inequalities. Notice that
the inequality on the right has switched its sign and negated the right side:

## So the whole solution to this inequality is:

‐1 < x < 5

Absolute value inequalities can also be represented on the number line. The solution
to the preceding problem can be represented as:

Example

## Q. If |–2x+2| ≤ 3, then which of the following inequalities represent all possible

values of x?

A. 0.5 ≤ x ≤ 2.5
B. 0.5 ≤ x ≤ 3.5
C. –0.5 ≤ x ≤ 2.5
D. –2.5 ≤ x ≤ 0.5
E. 0.5 ≤ x ≤ 1.5

Solution:

## Let’s follow the procedure as described above.

|–2x + 2| ≤ 3

–2x + 2 ≤ 3      –2x + 2 ≥ ‐3

When solving these individual inequalities, don’t forget to switch the sign
when you divide by ‐2!

x ≥ ‐0.5     x ≤ 2.5

Testing the Answer Choices can be an easy way to solve many absolute value
questions and inequalities as well:

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05/07/2015 Barrons GRE ­ Lesson ­ Absolute Value

Example

A. –1
B. 1
C. 2
D. 2.5
E. 3
F. 5
G. 7

Solution:

## Testing each choice gives us:

A. 4|(‐1 – 3)| = 16, which IS greater than or equal to 8, so this answer choice is
CORRECT.
B. 4|(1 – 3)| = 8, which IS greater than or equal to 8, so this answer choice is
CORRECT.
C. 4|(2 – 3)| = 4, which is NOT greater than or equal to 8, so this answer choice
is INCORRECT.
D. 4|(2.5 – 3)| = 2, which is NOT greater than or equal to 8, so this answer
choice is INCORRECT.
E. 4|(3 – 3)| = 0, which is NOT greater than or equal to 8, so this answer choice
is INCORRECT.
F. 4|(5 – 3)| = 8, which IS greater than or equal to 8, so this answer choice is
CORRECT.
G. 4|(7 – 3)| = 16, which IS greater than or equal to 8, so this answer choice is
CORRECT.

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