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Some general “vocabulary” for translating words to mathematical symbols

Words that translate into “equals” (=)
Words that translate into “multiplication” (×)
Words that translate into “division” (÷)
Words that translate into “addition” (+)
Words that translate into “subtraction” (-)
1. Two-thirds of X decreased by one-third is twenty-five.
2 1
x - = 42
3 3
2. Fifteen is six less than twice the X value.
15 = 2X – 6

3. Jim’s age is 15 less than his mother's is.

J = M – 15

4. Twice the sum of two quantities amounts to 42.

2(M + N) = 42

Steps to follow in solving word problems

Read the entire problem carefully to get an over-all view.

1. From wording ad given facts, identify the type of problem (i.e. mixture, work,
distance, etc.)
2. Set up the guiding structure (i.e. chart, diagram, table) used for this type of problem.
3. Go back to problem; reread it; identify specifically what you are asked to find.
a) If you are being asked to find ONE thing, call this quantity “x.”
b) If you are being asked to find more than one thing, let “X” designate the one
you know the least about, OR let “X” designate either one of the unknown if
you know about them.
c) If you do not mind dealing with the system of equations let the other variable
be equal to “Y”, but remember the objective in this section is to solve word
problems using one equation and one unknown. If you decide to choose only
one variable, express the other unknowns in terms of “X” using information

given in the problem. Note: Letters always represent measurements or
quantities about people and things; they do not represent people or things.
4. Fill in the chart, table or diagram using the given information for the “X”, the other
quantity in terms of “X”. Certain memorized formulas (known math formula such as
D = RT, I = PRT, etc. are very useful.
5. Using the completed chart and the other relationship information in the problem set
up an equation and solve it for X.
6. Go back to the problem and answer the question asked.
Note: There is no absolute law about the best way to solve word problems.
These outlined procedures have been found helpful by many students
because they provide clear-cut ways to get at the information and use it to
solve the problem. If you prefer to use intuition or trial and error (which are
always good in mathematics, but sometimes inefficient), you may certainly
do so. Now, try the above steps in the following problems.


can be represented by N, N+1, N+2 , etc. Consecutive odd or even integers
can be represented by N, N+2, N+4, etc. The square of the number N is N2;
the cube of the number N is N3

1. Find two numbers whose sum is 18 if one number is 8 more than the other.
! Read the problem carefully.
! Recognize that you are dealing with a number problem.
! There is NO guiding chart, table or diagram for this type of problem.
! Go back and reread the problem.
! You are asked to find two numbers and you know less about the first one (since
the second is 8 larger). Therefore, write
“Let the first number be x.”
Express the second number in terms of X (clue: it is 8 larger); write: “Let
the second number be X + 8.”
The addition sign is the translation for more than.
The relationship between the numbers in the problem is that their sum is
X + X+ 8 = 18
Now solve the equation and you will find X = 5. Since the second number is 8
more than first one, the second number is X + 8 or 5+8 which is 13.



1. Gus is ten years older than his brother, and six years from now he will be twice his
brother’s age then. How old is Gus now?
! Read the problem carefully.
! Recognize that you are dealing with age problem.
! The chart for age problems looks like this:

Now Then


! For this particular problem it reads:

Now 6 Years From Now

His Brother

! Go back and reread the problem and determine what you know and what you must
! You are asked to find Gus’ age now. You know less about his brother’s age
now (since Gus is 10 years older than his brother is now). “Let his brother’s
present age be X.”. Express Gus’ age in terms of X: “Let Gus’ present age be
X + 10.” We use addition sign because Gus is 10 years older than his brother
! Fill in the chart with expressions that represent Gus and his brother’s age now
and 6 years from now.

Now 6 Years From Now

Gus X + 10 X+ 10 + 6
His brother’s X X+6

! Putting “X” in a specific place on the chart means you don’t have to write a
sentence that starts: “Let X be...”
! Using the 6-years-from-now- idea fills in the second column of the chart. To
find someone’s age six years from now you would add 6 to their present age.

So you can fill in the rest of the chart by doing that (without referring to the
! The chart is completed.
! We now use the relationship given in the problem for their ages 6 years from
now (i.e. “6 years from now Gus will be twice his brother’s age).
! Gus’ age 6 years from now equals (=) twice his brother’s age 6 years from
now. Now you can solve the equation!
X + 10 + 6 = 2(X + 6)

Solving we get:
X + 16 = 2(X + 6)
X + 16 = 2X + 12
16 - 12 = 2X - X
! Gus’ brother is four years old. Hence Gus’ age is X + 10 or 4+ 10= 4.
! Gus is 14 years old.


1. Jack is now 14 years older than Bill. If in 10 years Jack will be twice as old as Bill, how old will Jack
be in 5 years
a) 9
b) 19
c) 21
d) 23
e) 33 Answer: D

2. If Sam were twice as old as he is, he would be 40 years older than Jim. If Jim is 10 years younger than
Sam is, how old is Sam?
a) 20
b) 30
c) 40
d) 50
e) 60 Answer: B.


1. The value of a bag of coins consisting of nickels, dimes and quarters is

$1.90. If there were half as many quarters as nickels, and three more nickels
than dimes, how many coins of each kind are in the bag?
! Read the problem carefully.
! Recognize that you are dealing with a coin problem. Note: Not every problem
involving dollars and cents is a money (coin) problem. This type always deals
with the number of coins, bills, or tickets. And the value of each type.
! The chart for coin problems looks like this

# Of Coins Value Of One Coin Amount Of Money

Dimes 0.10

Nickels 0.05

Quarters 0.25

! Go back and reread the problem. You are asked to find how many of
each kind of coin are there. Since you know the least about the number
of dimes, you let the number of dimes be X. The number of nickels is
three more than number of dimes, so it is represented by “X+3.” The
number of quarters is half as many as the number of nickels, so in terms
of X is ½(X+3)-- the grouping symbol is essential.
! Fill in the chart.

# Of Coins Value Of One Coin

Amount Of Money
Dimes 0.10 0.10 X

Nickels X+3 0.05 0.05(X+3)

Quarters 1/2(X + 3) 0.25 1/2(0.25)(X+3)

! The “Amount Of Money Column” column is filled in using your common sense.
If you have five dimes, each worth ten cents, you have 5*10 or 50. What we’re
saying is that the “Amount Of Money” equals the “# of coins” times “the value of
one coin”. You multiply left-to-right in the rows of the chart.
! After completion of the chart we return to the problem and look for clues to set
the equation
! Since the sum of money is $1.90. Your equation is:
0.10X + 0.05(X + 3) + 1/2(0.25)(X+3) = 1.90
! Solving the equation:
0.10X + 0.05X +0.15 + 0.125X + 0.375 = 1.90
0.275X + 0.525 = 1.90

! Multiply both sides by 1000 to move each decimal point 3 places to the right.
275X + 525 = 1900
275X = 1375
X= 5
! We are asked to find how many of each coin we had. Since X = 5
Number of dimes (X) is 5
Number of nickels (X+3) is 8
Number of quarters 1/2(X+3) is 4

ADDITIONAL HINT If you know the whole amount, but neither of the individual parts,
call one of the parts “X”. Then the other part may be represented by “the whole amount”
minus “X”. For example, if the whole inheritance of $ 20,000 is divided into two parts,
one part is X and the other part is $ 20,000 - X.


1. A man invests a total of $24,000. Part is invested at 4% simple annual interest rate
while the remainder is invested at 6% simple annual interest rate. His total yearly
interest is $1040. Find the amount invested at 4%.
! Read the problem carefully.
! Recognize that you are dealing with investment problem (clue words: investment,
principal, interest, income).
! The chart for an investment problem looks like this:

Principal Interest Rate Interest Earned

Investment # 1

Investment # 2

! Remember this investment is only for one year so you don’t need an additional column for the
number of years. Go back and reread the problem.
! For this particular problem you are asked to find the amount invested at 4% call that “X”. The
remaining amount invested at 6% is (24000 - X).
! Fill in the chart:

Principal Interest Rate Interest Earned

X 0.04 0.04X
24000 - X 0.06 0.06(24000 - X)

! You to know the formula to calculate interest is

! Interest = Principal * Rate * Time.
! In this case we can ignore time because the rate of interest is an annual rate.
We also ignore it in the computation. Thus, the INTEREST is computed by
multiplying across the rows of the chart.

! After the chart is completed, we return to the problem for the relationship that
gives us our equation.
! It reads “total yearly interest is $1040.” So, our equation is
! 0.04X + 0.06(24000 - X) = 1040
! Solving: Multiply each term by 100 to remove decimals.
4x + 6(24000 – x) = 104000
4x + 144000 - 6x = 104000
14400 - 2X = 104000
-2X = -40000
X = 20000

! We were asked to find the amount invested at 4%. Since we represented that
amount by “x”, we conclude: the amount invested at 4% is $20,000 and the
amount invested at 6% is $4000.

Many students find these hardest of all, but if you follow the steps you can master them.
! Traveling with the current (down stream) or wind increases the speed of the
vehicle by the speed of the current or wind. (E.g. If you travel 40 mph in still air
and there is 30 mph wind, moving with the wind means you actually travel 70
! Traveling against the current (upstream) or wind decreases the speed of the
vehicle by the speed of the current or the wind. (E.g. In the previous example,
moving against the wind means you actually travel 10 mph.)
! The basis of all distance problems is the formula: D = r * t (Distance = rate X
! Rate is the same as speed.


1. At a given time a man on a bicycle is 10 miles ahead of a car. Both are traveling in
the same direction. The bike is traveling at 15 mph and the car at 35 mph. How many
hours has each traveled when they meet?
! Read the above very carefully.
! You are dealing with a DISTANCE (MOTION) PROBLEM.
! It is best to make a diagram as well as a chart for these problems
! The chart for a distance problem looks like this

Rate Time Distance

First Vehicle
Second Vehicle

! For this particular problem the chart would look like this:

Rate Time Distance

Bike 15
Car 35

! The rates are specifically given, so they are filled in immediately. The rate, time,
or distance put in the chart must for be that particular vehicle only (NO totals or
averages of them).
! Now, a diagram helps you get your bearings. Use arrows to represent
the situation

! The arrows go the same way to represent “the same direction.” The ‘start’ of the
arrows is not the same; the bike is 10 miles out in front (from the given
information). Note how we mark that on the diagram. The ‘stop’ of the arrows is
the same because we’re talking about when they meet.
! Reread the problem. It asks us to find how many hours each has traveled, i.e.
time. The start and stop times in the problem are the same. It is the distances that
aren’t the same. Each vehicle travels the same amount of time. We can represent
that time by X.
! We put that information on the chart:

Rate Time Distance

Bike 15 X 15X + 10
Car 35 X 35X

! The third column (in this case, distance) is filled in using the formula, D = R * T. This formula can
be solve in terms of R or T and these forms are used when your third column to be filled in is time
or rate.
! For this problem, we multiply across the rows of the chart to use the formula:
! Once the chart is completed we direct our attention to the equation.
! From the reading we can see the distance traveled by the car is 10 more
miles than the distance traveled by the bike. So we can write the

35X = 15X +10
Distance the car travels Is equal Distance the bike travels when they meet
! Solve the equation: 35X = 15X + 10
20X = 10
X = 1/2
The problem asked us to find the time each traveled and we called that X. So,
our conclusion is that each traveled one half hour when they meet.

1. If Jack walked 5 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes, what was his rate of walking in
miles per hour
a) 4
b) 4.5
c) 6
d) 6.25
e) 15 Answer A

2. Car X and car Y traveled the same 80-mile route. If car X took 2 hours and car Y
traveled at an average speed that was 50 percent faster than the average speed of car
X, how many hours did it take car Y to travel the route?
a) 2/3
b) 1
c) 4/3
d) 5/3 e) 3 Answer C
3. A car travels from Mayville to Rome at an average speed of 30 miles per hour and
returns immediately along the same route at an average speed of 40 miles per hour.
Of the following, which is closest to the average speed, in miles per hour, for the
round trip?
a) 32.0
b) 33.0
c) 34.3
d) 35.5
e) 36.5 Answer C

1. A hospital needs 82.5 liters of a 20% disinfectant Solution. How many liters
of a 60% and a 15% solution could be mixed to obtain this 20% solution?
! Read the above carefully.
! Recognize that this represents a mixture problem.
! The best diagram for solving these is

+ or - = =
% % %
! Go back and reread the problem. We are asked to find how many liters of each
solution (60% and 15%) we need to mix. We don’t know any more about one of
them than the other. So we call the number of liters of the 60% solution “X”. To
represent the numbers of liters of the 15% solution we use the WHOLE-PART
hint at the end of the investment problems. We want to end up with 82.5 liters.
This represents the whole. We denote one part by “X”. The other part is 82.5 - X.
! Now we can complete more of the diagram.
82.5 - X X 82.5

15 + 60% = 20%
Note that the sum of 60% and 15% DOES NOT EQUAL 20%. But the sum of “X”
and “82.5 - X” DOES EQUAL 82.5. This should always be true on your diagram.
(Remember that a 50% acid solution means that 50% of the liquid is acid.)
Remember, too, that “of” means multiply. In the case at hand, then, we are speaking
of 60% of X liters, 15% of 82.5 - X liters and 20% of 82.5 liters. So, we translate this
into an equation:
.60X + .15(82.5 - X) = .20(82.5)
! Solve the equation. First multiply each term by 100 to get rid of the decimals.
60X + 15(82.5-X) = 20(82.5)
60X + 1237.5 – 15X = 1650
45X + 1237.5 = 1650
45X = 412.5
X = 9.17 or 9 1/6
! The problem asked for the number of liters of each solution. We let X = the
number of liters of the 60% solution, so we need 9.17 liters of that solution. We
let 82.5 - X = the number of liters of the 15% solution. Substituting X in the
equation we get 82.5 – 9.17 = 72.33 liters of that the 15% solution.

1. A tank contains 10,000 gallons solution that is 5 percent sodium chloride by
volume. If 2,500 gallons of water evaporate from the tank, the remaining
solution will be approximately what percent sodium chloride?
a) 1.25%
b) 3.75%
c) 6.25%
d) 6.67%
e) 11.7% Answer D

2. A glucose solution contains 15 grams of glucose per 100 cubic centimeters of
solution. If 45 cubic centimeters of the solution were poured into an empty container,
how many grams of glucose would be in the container?
a) 3.00
b) 5.00
c) 5.50
d) 6.50
e) 6.75 Answer E

3. If 3 pounds of dried apricots that cost X dollars per pound are mixed with 2 pounds of
prunes that cost Y dollars per pound, what is the cost, in dollars, per pound of the
a) (3X+2Y)/(X+Y)
b) (3X+2Y)/5
c) (X+Y )/5
d) 5(3X + 2Y)
e) 3X + 2Y Answer B


Note: These problems depend on a formula:

Rate Of Work * Time Worked = Amount Done.
The amount of work is expressed as a part (fraction or decimal) of the whole job, where
the whole job is represented by the number 1 (the whole thing 100% = 1). The rate of
work is usually given in a hidden way. Rate will always be expressed as “so much of the
job per a certain amount of time.”
Examples of the language used are:
! “ A person can do a job in 3 hours”; this means the rate of work is “1/3 of the
job per hour”.
! If you can paint a room in 2 hours, your rate of work is ½ of the job per hour.
! If a machine can sort 6000 cards in an hour, that IS the rate: “6000 cards per
You realize, of course, that both people and machines can do work.

1. If you and a man can build, in 20 days, a house that would take the man 30 days to
build alone, how long would it take you to build the house alone? (Assume you know
! Read the above carefully.
! Identify that this is a work problem.
! The chart for organizing work problems looks like this

Rate of Work Time Amount of Work
First Person
Second Person

! Go back and reread the problem.

! You are asked to find how long it would take you to build the house alone
! Call that time “X”. If you can build a house in “X” hours, your rate would be
! The man’s rate is 1/30. Since he can build the house in 30 days, his rate is 1/30
per day.
! The “combined” rate is 1/20.
! To build it together in 20 days means your combined rate is 1/20 of the job per
! For this particular problem the completed chart would look like.

Rate of Work Time Amount of Work

First Person 1/X Y (1/X)Y
Second Person 1/30 Y (1/30)Y
Combined 1/20 Y (1/20) Y

! What this amounts to is ignoring time when the time of each person or machine is
the same AND when there already is another unknown.
! Solve fractional equations by multiplying each term by the least common
denominator of all the fractions. (Here that is 60x). This gets rid of fractions.
60 + 2X = 3X
60 = X
! The problem asked “how long would it take you to build the house;” this you
represented by X. Therefore it would take you 60 days to build it alone.
! A “write-up” of the problem is shown below. We need a statement about X at the
beginning of this problem write-up since x, by itself, is not in the chart.

! Let X = the number of days it takes you to build the house alone.
Rate Time Amount

You 1/X Y (1/X) * Y

Man 1/30 Y (1/30X) * Y
Combined 1/20 Y (1/20X) * Y

1 1 1
y+ y = y
x 30 20
1 1 1
+ =
x 30 20

60 + 2X = 3X
60 = X
It takes you 60 days to build the house alone.


1. One pipe can fill a tank in 18 minutes and another pipe can fill it in 24 minutes. The
drainpipe can empty the tank in 15 minutes. An inefficient worker leaves the
drainpipe open. With all pipes open, how long will it take to fill the tank?
! Let X = time it takes to fill the tank. Each pipe will “work” that length of
! time.
! The first pipe has rate 1/18 of the tank per minute
! The second pipe has rate 1/24 of the tank per minute
! The drainpipe has rate -1/15 of the tank per minute. Since the drainpipe is
undoing the job, it is given a negative rate.

Rate Time Amount of Work

Pipe 1 1/8 X (1/18) X
Pipe 2 1/24 X (1/24) X
Drain -1/15 X (-1/15) X

! Since the problem does not address the idea of combined rate, we do not have a
combined” row in the chart.
! These three pipes are going to do the whole job of filling the tank.
! Work of pipe 1 + work of pipe 2 - work of drain = whole or 100%
1 1 1
x+ x − x = 1
18 24 15
! You can do the rest of this problem.
! Answer: 32 8/11 hr.

1. Four times a number decreased by 12 is three times the number. Find the number.

Let x=number

2. A certain number decreased by 5 is twice the number. Find it.

Let x=number


3. Are there two consecutive odd integers whose sum equals 174? (HINT: Assume that
there are and try to find them.)

Let x=integer#1, hence x+2=integer#2

No, because the first number must be equal to 86 which is even.


1. Doreen is 5 years younger than her brother is and three years ago the sum of their
ages was 23 years. How old is each now?

Let x=Doreen’s age

Now Then
Doreen’s X x-3
her brother x+5 x+5-3
Sum then
solve for 2x=24
her brother=12+5=17

2. Linda’s mother is three times as old as Linda and 14 years from now she will be twice
as old as Linda was then. How old is each now?

Linda’s age now=x

Now Then
Linda X x+14
Her mother 3x 3x+14
solve for x
her mother =3(14)=42

3. The sum of the ages of Joe and Jamie is 35. Joe is 5 years older than twice Jamie’s
age. How old are they? (NOTE: There is no “then” column in this problem, but the
idea is the same)

Joe’s age=x

1. A man withdrew $75 in $1 bills and $5 bills from the bank. There were 3 more $1
bills than $5 bills. How many were there of each kind?

x=number of $1 bills
Number value
$1 bills X 1*x
$5 bills x-3 5(x-3)
total 75
x=15 number of $1 bills
15-3=12 number of $5 bills

2. In a collection there are twice as many nickels as dimes and the value is $8.40. How
many of each kind are there?

x=number of dimes
Number value (cents)
dimes X 10x
nickels 2x 2(5x)
x=42 and 84 nickels

3. Tickets for the school play sold for $1.00 and $2.50. How many tickets of each kind
were sold if they took in $575.00 for 350 tickets? (HINT: the tickets are like “bills” or
“coins” of different value)

x=number of $1 tickets
350-x=number of $2.50 tickets
Number value
$1 X 1*x
$2.50 ticket 350-x 2.5 (350-x)
Solve for x. x=200
And number of $2.50 tickets=150

1. A man borrows a certain sum at 5 1/2% interest and a sum that is $5,000 greater at
7%. How much does he borrow if the interest for one year is $1,850?

Let x=amount borrowed at 5 1/2% then x+5000=amount borrowed at 7%.

5 1/2%x+7%(x+5000)=1850
and amount at 7%=17000

2. A man invests a certain sum at 3 1/2%, twice that sum at 4%, and twice the
second sum at 5%. The total income from the investments is $5,040. How
much does he invest at each rate?

Let x= amount invested at 3 1/2%, then 2x=amount invested at 4%, then

2(2x)=amount invested at 5%.
3 1/2%x+4%(2x)+5%(2)(2x)=5040
x=16000, 32000, 64000

3. A man has $8,000 invested at 5% and $2,000 invested at 7%. How much must he
invest at 8% to make an average of 6% on his investment? (HINT: the average of 6%
will be based on the total amount of money he is investing at all three of the other

Let x=amount invested at 8%.


Solve for x. x=$3000

1. Two boats start from the same place on a lake but go in opposite directions.
The first boat travels at a constant speed of 15km/hr, and the second at a
constant speed of 12km/hr. How far apart are the two boats after 3 hours?
(HINT: Draw a diagram)
Let X1=distance traveled by the first boat
Let X2=distance traveled by the second boat
Total distance traveled X1+X2 = 45 + 36 = 8
2. An airplane made a trip of 680 miles in 4 hours. Part of the trip was made at 150mph
and the remainder at 180mph. How many miles were traveled at each rate? (HINT:
You have only one vehicle, but there are two parts to its journey. You also need the
‘whole-part’ hint from the end of the investment problems section for your time
Let x = number of miles traveled at 150 mph
680 – x = number of miles traveled at 180 mph

Rate Time distance

150 T x= 150t
180 4-t 680-x=180(4-t)
4 680
680 = 150t + 180(4-t) solve for t. t = 4/3 hours.
Distance traveled at 150 mph = (4/3)(150)= 200 miles traveled at 150 mph
and 680-200 = 480 miles traveled at 180 mph

3. Two friends leave two towns at the same time and start travelling toward each other
in Autos. One averages 40mph and the other 50mph. How far does each travel before
meeting if the towns are 270 miles apart?

let x = distance traveled at 40 mph x = “ “ 50 mph after t hours they meet

x = 40t x = 50t
x + x = 270 since the distance between towns is 270.
40t + 50t = 270 t = 3 hours

4. Mike can row his boat from the hunting lodge upstream to the park in 5 hours. He can
row back to the lodge in 3 hours. If the stream is flowing at 2km per hour, how fast is
Mike rowing in still water?
Let r = speed in still water
x upstream t = 5 hours
x t=3 r + 2

x = 5(r-2) x = 3(r+2) Since x = x

we have 5(r-2) = 3(r+2)

5r – 10 = 3r + 6

5. A plane flying with a tailwind flew 600 mi in 4 hours. It took the plane 5 hours to fly
the same distance against the wind. Find the rate of the wind.

a. 30 mph
b. 20 mph
c. 135 mph
d. 15 mph

6. Traveling with the current, a motorboat went 45 mi in 3 hours. Traveling against the
current the boat went 45 mi in 5 hours. Find the rate of the motorboat in calm

a. 12 mph
b. 15 mph
c. 3 mph
d. 9 mph

1. A nurse must administer 5oz. of a 12% solution of medicine. In stock there are a
25% solution and a 5% solution of the same medicine. How many oz. of each should
she mix to obtain the 5oz. of the 12% solution?

let x = # of ozs. of 25% solution

then 5 – x = # “ “ 5% “

amount Rate concentration

25% solution x .25 .25x
5% solution 5–x .05 .05(5-x)
Final solution 12% 5 .12 .12(5)

.25x + .05(5 – x) = .12(5)

Solve for x
x = 1.75 ozs. of 25% solution

2. How many pounds of nuts at 63¢ per lb. should be mixed with 20 lbs. of nuts at 90¢
per lb. to give a mixture worth 78¢ per lb.? (HINT: The principle is the same; the cost
per lb. replaces the percent in the diagram.)

let x = # of pounds of .63 per lb. nt.wt.

Amount value per lb. total

63 X 63 63x
90 20 90 1800
mixture 78 20 + x 78 78(20 + x)

78(20 + x) = 1800 +63x

x = 16

3. A druggist needs 20ml. of a 30% solution. To obtain this he mixes an 80% stock of
the solution with a diluent (0% solution). How many ml. each, of the stock and the
diluent should be mixed? (HINT: Don’t let the 0% confuse you. Use it and the
problem will work!)

Let x=#ml. of 80% solution.

Amount rate concentration
80% X .80 .8x
diluent 20-x 0 0
final solution 30% 20 .30 20(.3)=6
7.5 ml. of 80% solution must be mixed by 12.5 (20-7.5) ml. of diluent to obtain 20ml.
of 30% solution.


1. JoAnn requires 20 hours to complete a certain job and Wanda will require 30 hours to
do the same job. How long will it take JoAnn and Wanda working together to do the

Let x=time required working together

Rate time part done
Joann 1/20 x x/20
Wanda 1/30 x x/30
x/20+x/30=1 LCD=60

2. Two pipes feed water into a storage tank. One of them acting alone will fill the tank
in 8 hours; both together will fill the tank in 6hours. How long will it take the second
pipe to fill the tank if it is acting alone?

Let x=number of hours it takes to fill the tank using the second pipe.
Rate time part done
pipe#1 1/8 6 6/8
pipe#2 1/x 6 6/x
6/8+6/x=1 LCD=8x
48=2x x=24.
3. Carlos can pick all the oranges in a grove in 18 days; Alvin can do the same job in 12
days. Carlos and Alvin started together picking the oranges, but after the sixth day
Carlos quit. How much longer did it take Alvin to finish the job? (HINT: Figure out how much
work they got done together in six days; then Alvin will have to do the rest of the work in the unknown
time asked for.)

Let x=number of days longer.

Rate time part of job done
Carlos 1/18 6 6/18
Alvin 1/12 6+x (6+x)/12
6/18+(6+x)/12=1 LCD=36