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Data Sufficiency: The Question Stem - What is the Issue?

What is the value of $$a$$? >(1) $$5 < a < 7$$ >(2) $$a^2=36$$

Incorrect.

Since neither statement is sufficient alone, consider both statements combined. From Stat. (2), you know that $$a$$ must equal 6 or -6. From Stat. (1), you know that $$a$$ must be between 5 and 7, so $$a=-6$$ is ruled out, leaving only a single value for $$a$$ that satisfies both statements. Therefore, the two statements combined are sufficient, and Stat. (1) + (2) → S.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]] First, consider Statement (1) alone. Resist the temptation to decide that $$a$$ must equal 6. This relies on the assumption that $$a$$ is an integer, which is not stated anywhere in the question or Stat. (1). Without this assumption, Stat. (1) allows an infinite number of values for $$a$$ between 5 and 7, such as 5.5, 6, or 6.95. No single value can be determined for $$a$$, so Stat. (1) alone is insufficient. Stat. (1) → IS → BCE Next, consider Statement (2) alone. The equation in Stat. (2) allows both $$a=6$$ and $$a=-6$$. No single value can be determined for $$a$$, so Statement (2) alone is insufficient. Stat. (2) → IS → CE
Correct. [[snippet]] First, consider Statement (1) alone. Resist the temptation to decide that $$a$$ must equal 6. This relies on the assumption that $$a$$ is an integer, which is not stated anywhere in the question or Stat. (1). Without this assumption, Stat. (1) allows an infinite number of values for $$a$$ between 5 and 7, such as 5.5, 6, or 6.95. No single value can be determined for $$a$$, so Stat. (1) alone is insufficient. POE: Stat. (1) → IS → BCE Next, consider Statement (2) alone. The equation in Stat. (2) allows both $$a=6$$ and $$a=-6$$. No single value can be determined for $$a$$, so Statement (2) alone is insufficient. Stat. (2) → IS → CE Since neither statement is sufficient alone, consider both statements combined. From Stat. (2), you know that $$a$$ must equal 6 or -6. From Stat. (1), you know that $$a$$ must be between 5 and 7, so $$a=-6$$ is ruled out, leaving only a single value for $$a$$ that satisfies both statements. Therefore, the two statements combined are sufficient, and Stat. (1) + (2) → S → C.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]] Consider Statement (2) alone. The equation in Stat. (2) allows both $$a=6$$ and $$a=-6$$. No single value can be determined for $$a$$, so Statement (2) alone is insufficient. POE: Stat. (2) → IS → ACE

Incorrect.

[[snippet]] Consider Statement (1) alone. Resist the temptation to decide that $$a$$ must equal 6. This relies on the assumption that $$a$$ is an integer, which is not stated anywhere in the question or Stat. (1). Without this assumption, Stat. (1) allows an infinite number of values for $$a$$ between 5 and 7, such as 5.5, 6, or 6.95. No single value can be determined for $$a$$, so Stat. (1) alone is insufficient. Stat. (1) → IS → BCE Beware of falsely assuming that a variable is an integer. GMAC is aware of this kind of internal assumption, and will target it specifically with questions and traps. Ask yourself, "What am I missing? Are my assumptions correct?"
Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but Statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but Statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
BOTH Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.