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Average and Alligation


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Average and Alligation
by Total Gadha - Saturday, 26 September 2009, 07:45 AM

I recently read a student blog on TG Town questioning whether it is correct by the instructors to tell
students not to take their mock scores seriously. After all, if a student is not performing well in mocks,
something must be wrong. The question really made me ask myself the reasons for my saying so. Is it even
correct to say mock scores do not matter. I think there are several reasons instructors tell students not to
take their mock scores seriously. Most important of them all is motivation. Students are never ready to
recognize that scoring well in a test is more a matter of temperament and question selection than that of
content. In fact an average student having the art of question-picking would perform twice better than a
genius student who is out to solve questions in a near about serial order. Therefore, instructors want to
keep their students motivated in order to keep their enthusiasm high. The second reason for not taking
mocks seriously is that the level of preparedness of students at a particular point is different. Many of the
institutes start their mocks by the month of May or June and most students are not ready by then. It is
inevitable that they will perform badly. If the students take it seriously, they would spend rest of their time
taking more and more tests to improve themselves instead of studying and then the real harm would be
done. For me, when I entered the CAT preparation, my verbal didnt need preparation, my quant took three
or four months of tweaking, but my DI took more than a year to reach a decent level. The level of
preparedness for every student is different. So the question is, what do you do with your mock scores? The better thing to do is to solve your
mock paper, if you can solve it on your own, you dont have a problem with content. If you cannot, get back to studies. So dont look hard at your
scores, look hard at the paper.

The concept of averages is hardly a new concept at all. If asked, all of you would give me the following formula for

calculating average:
problem many of you would reach for their pens.

. So far so good. But if I ask all of you to solve a simple

The average score of three students A, B, and C is 50. When the score of another student D is added to the group,
the average score become 47. What is the score of student D?
Answer: for most of you, the score of student D would be 4 47 3 50 = 38.
For me, the calculation would just be 47 9 = 38.
Some of you might have understood what I did. Let me start explaining through a simple example. Then we shall
extend our explorations to more complex problems.

The two images above show two beam balances, one with equal arms and the other with the arms lengths in the
ratio 1: 3. The dotted line in both cases shows the average value.
In the first beam balance, if you move any of the pan one unit towards the average value, the other pan would also
move one unit in the direction of the average value to keep the average constant. For example, let the weights in the
two pans be 50 kg and 60 kg. The average is 55 kg. If you increase the weight in 50 kg pan by one unit (i.e. 51)
bringing it nearer to the average, you will have to decrease the weight in the other pan by one unit (i.e. 59), bringing
it one unit nearer to the average, to keep the average constant.
In the second beam balance, if the arm of length 3 moves 1 unit towards the average, the arm of length 1 will have
to move 3 units towards the average to keep the average constant. For example, let the weight in pan of 3 unit arm
length be 40 kg and the weight in the pan of 1 unit arm length be 60 kg. Now if I increase the weight in the first pan
by 1 unit, I shall have to decrease the weight in the second pan by 3 units to keep the average constant.
The same rule applies if I am moving a pan away from the average.
Now, understand this- the second beam balance can also be represented with a beam balance of equal arms but one
arm having thrice the weight on the other arm. Savvy? Now lets see the problem once again.
The average score of three students A, B, and C is 50. When the score of another student D is added to the group,
the average score become 47. What is the score of student D?
Answer: Now there are three weights on one arm. The average of the four weights is 47. To move each of the three
weight 3 units away from the average (50 47) I shall have to move the weight D 3 3 nine units away from the
average. Therefore, weight D = 47 9 = 38.
Four friends have an average weight of 68. If Rahim is also included in the group, the average weight becomes 72.
what is Rahims weight?


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Answer: Same process: there are four people at a distance of 4 units from the average weight of 72. To balance
them, we will have to place a person at 4 4 = 16 units from 72 on the other side. Therefore, Rahims weight = 72 +
16 = 88.
A batsman in his 20
20 innings?


innings makes a score of 93 and thereby increases his average by 3. What is the average after

Answer: If you have understood what I have said so far, the new average is nothing but 93 57 = 36. Let the new
average be A. Therefore, there are 19 scores at a distance of 3 units from A. To balance these scores we need one
score (which is 93) 19 3 = 57 units from A on the other side. Therefore A = 93 57 = 36.
Now lets see this funda of balancing act applied in a small part of a DI set from CAT 2006. For more DI sets based
on averages, you will have to visit our CAT CBT Club

What is Dipans score in paper II in English group?

Answer: Rather than any long and cumbersome method, we can do this question in a very short and sweet way- we
just see the deviation of each group average from the overall average. Now the average of PCB group is 98 which is
+2 from overall average. Mathematics group is 1, Social science group is 0.5, Vernacular group is 1. Therefore,
total so far = 2 1 0.5 1 = 0.5. Therefore to have deviation from overall average as 0, the English group average
should have a deviation of +0.5, i.e. the average should be 96.5. Therefore, Dipans mark in paper II in English
group are 97.
Lets have a look at the unbalanced scale in the figure 2 again. The beam balance is shown below:

If you want to keep the average same while changing weights in both the pans, the weights in the pan would be
inversely proportional to arm lengths, i.e. to increase the weight in the left pan by one unit, we shall have to increase
the weight in the right pan by three units to keep the average constant. Here, the arm lengths signify the distance of
the weights from the average. Lets take a simple example:
For example, lets mix two solutions one with 30% milk and the other with 75% milk. Let it be given that the mixture
is of 50% milk. Now the distances (arm lengths) of both percentages from the average percentage are 50 30 =
20% and 75 50 = 25%. Since the arms lengths are in the ratio 20: 25 = 4: 5, the weights in the pan should be in
the ratio 5: 4. Therefore, we are mixing the solutions in the ratio 5: 4.

Lets see some examples now:

In what ratio must the rice at Rs 3.8 per kg be mixed with rice at Rs 4.5 per kg so that the price of the mixture is Rs
4.2 per kg?
Answer: By now, I believe you know what to do. The distances from the averages are 4.2 3.8 = 0.4 and 4.5 4.2
= 0.3. the distances are in the ratio 4: 3, therefore, the rice should be mixed in the ratio 3: 4.
A butler stole one-fourth of a wine bottle containing 60% alcohol and replaced it with water. Find the resultant
concentration of the wine in the bottle.
Answer: Again an easy one with a little twist- now we are mixing three-fourth solution containing 60% alcohol with
one-fourth solution containing 0%. The ratio of the quantities taken is 3/4 : 1/4 = 3: 1. Therefore, the ratio of the
distances from the average would be 1: 3. Therefore, we Therefore, average value = 60%


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In a wildlife sanctuary, the counting of Zebras and Ostriches is being done. It was found that there were 150 heads
and 480 legs. How many Zebras were there in the sanctuary?
Answer: No mixture here? Yes but there is! Zebra being the milk and Ostriches being the water. How can you use
Alligation here. Simple, you first need to determine of what value we can take the average. Also, if you see what is
the basic difference between a Zebra and an Ostrich that has been considered in the problem here, you will realize it
is the number of legs- Zebra has four and Ostrich ahs two. And what is the average number of legs per animal given?
It is 480/150 = 3.2. The distances from the average are 3.2 2 = 1.2 and 4 3.2 = 0.8. These distances are in the
ratio 3: 2 or the quantities are in the ratio 2: 3. Therefore, the number of Zebras = 150 3/5 = 90.

What percentage of the females polled said Yes?

Answer: Alligation over here? Yes sir, because we know the average percentage of males and females, i.e. 50%
(number of males and females are equal). Now lets just consider the percentage of males in those who said yes and
those who said no. The corresponding percentages are 60% and 20% respectively. Let the ratio of the number of
people who said yes and the number of people who said no be x : y. The ratio of distances of the percentages from
the average percentage is (60 50): (50 20) = 1: 3 x: y = 3 : 1. So let there be 200 people in all (100 males
and 100 females). The ratio of people saying yes to people saying no is 3: 1. Therefore, number of people saying yes
= 200 3/4 = 150, out of which females are 40% = 150 40/100 = 60 females said yes which is 60% of 100

I am afraid I shall have to end here and leave the rest of it for my CBT Club students. I shall cover some DI sets
based on averages and Alligation in the CBT Club this week.


Re: Average and Alligation

by A S - Saturday, 26 September 2009, 07:46 AM
As usual, another piece of gem from are awesome!!!
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Re: Average and Alligation

by azfar niyazi - Saturday, 26 September 2009, 07:47 AM
thanks tg for ur support ,read it felt awesome
i have one problem ,i am very bad in quant how should i improve it in just1 months ,should i only look at the basics
looking for ur reply
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Re: Average and Alligation

by Kirubakaran kaliaperumal - Saturday, 26 September 2009, 10:47 AM

Hi TG,
I agree with your point. But I am not sure if right question picking strategy is going to be of much help in a CBT. According to CAT demo found in the official
CAT website, I think it is very difficult to pick the right questions. Please give some pointers about this...
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Re: Average and Alligation

by Rajarshi Guha - Saturday, 26 September 2009, 10:58 AM
TG Sir,
Amazing.!!!I cannot help but marvel at the lucidity of your brain and the pristine beauty of mathematics.
More such lessons are awaited with CAT being just around the corner Sir.

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Re: Average and Alligation

by wannabe blacki - Saturday, 26 September 2009, 11:17 AM

wonderful sir!! thanx forbringin abt our emancipation from the equations and variables for solving problems like these,that are basically founded on one's
commonsense. reading ur articles makes me realise,yet again,why THE indian mind is a respected entity all over the world...