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Algebra I Extra Credit Problems

#1. If

(a + b) 2
= 1,
(a b) 2

then which of the following

statements must be true?


I.
II.
III.
(A)
(B)
(C)
(D)
(E)

a=0
b=0
a = b

None
I only
II only
III only
I, II, and III

#2. Is

( y 4) 2 = 4 y ?
(1) |y 3| 1
(2) y |y| > 0

#3. The sequence an is defined so that, for all


n 3, an is the greater of (an 2 + 1) and
(an 1). (If the two quantities are the same,
then an is equal to either of them.) Which of
the following values of a1 and a2 will produce
a sequence in which no value is repeated?
(A)
(B)
(C)
(D)
(E)

a1 = 1, a2 = 1.5
a1 = 1, a2 = 1
a1 = 1, a2 = 1
a1 = 1, a2 = 1.5
a1 = 1.5, a2 = 1

#4. If x and y are integers such that x < y < 0,


what is x y?
(1) (x + y)(x y) = 5
(2) xy = 6

#1. Expand out the squared binomials in the numerator and denominator:
a 2 + 2ab + b 2
=1
a 2 2ab + b 2
Multiply by the denominator, thereby getting rid of fractions: a2 + 2ab + b2 = a2 2ab + b2.
Cancel terms: 2ab = 2ab
4ab = 0
ab = 0
Therefore, a = 0 OR b = 0 OR a and b both equal 0, but neither of the two must be 0. In addition, as long
as one of a and b is 0, the other can be any number. Therefore, none of the statements is necessarily true.

The correct answer is A.

#2. The complicated expression in the question stem leads to a disguised Positive/Negative problem. In
general,

x 2 = x . Think about this relationship with a real example:


(3) 2 = 9 = 3

32 = 9 = 3

In both cases (positive or negative 3), the end result is 3. Thus in general,
positive value, or |x|. Therefore,
Is |y 4| = 4 y?

( y 4)

x 2 will always result in a

= y 4 . We can rephrase the original question:


Is |y 4| = (y 4)?

Since the absolute value of y 4 must be positive or zero, we can rephrase the question further:
Is (y 4) 0?

Is (y 4) 0?

Is y 4?

(1): SUFFICIENT: Solve for the range of y. To evaluate the absolute value, set up two equations.
+ (y 3) 1
y31
y4

(y 3) 1
y + 3 1
y 2
y2

Taking these two equations together, we find that 2 y 4. Therefore, y is definitely less than or equal to
4, and the statement is sufficient.

(2): INSUFFICIENT: If y |y| > 0, then y |y| is positive. The term |y| is non-negative. Therefore, y must
be positive. However, knowing that y is positive doesnt tells us whether y 4.
The correct answer is A: Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
2

#3. Work out the sequence for each of the given pairs of initial values until either (a) a repeated value
eliminates that answer choice from contention, or (b) a pattern emerges in which no values are repeated.
Choice (A) gives 1, 1.5, 0, 0, Since zero is repeated, this choice is incorrect.
Choice (B) gives 1, 1, 1, Since 1 is repeated, this choice is incorrect.
Choice (C) gives 1, 1, 2, 2, Since 2 is repeated, this choice is incorrect.
Choice (D) gives 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, The pattern here is clear: each value in the sequence is 0.5
greater than the preceding value. Therefore, none of the values will repeat.
Choice (E) gives 1.5, 1, 2.5, 2.5, Since 2.5 is repeated, this choice is incorrect.

The correct answer is D.

#4.
(1): SUFFICIENT. This statement is tricky. One approach is to distribute the left side to get the
difference of squares:
x2 y2 = 5 (x + y)(x y) = 5
Note that both x + y and x y are themselves integers. Looking at the statement, we have
int int = 5
The only possible integer pairs that give 5 as a product are (5, 1) and (-5, -1), since 5 is prime. Now,
because both x and y are negative, the (5, 1) pair wont work either way (either with x + y = 5 or with x +
y = 1). So lets try (-5, -1):
x + y = 5
x y = 1
Adding these two equations, we get 2x = 6, or x = 3. Substituting back into
x + y = 5, we get y = 2. (If we had assigned x + y = 1 and x y = 5, we would have gotten y = 2,
which doesnt fit the problem constraints.)

(2): INSUFFICIENT. There are two pairs of integers that fit the constraint x < y < 0 and the statement xy
= 6: (3)(2) = 6 AND (6)(1) = 6.
The correct answer is A: Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.