**Veritas Prep**

A wood beam \(48\) inches in length is cut into two smaller beams. If one of the new beams is \(20\) inches longer than the other, what is the length of the longer beam?

A. \(14\)

B. \(18\)

C. \(28\)

D. \(30\)

E. \(34\)

OA E

00:00

**A**

**B**

**C**

**D**

**E**

A wood beam \(48\) inches in length is cut into two smaller beams. If one of the new beams is \(20\) inches longer than the other, what is the length of the longer beam?

A. \(14\)

B. \(18\)

C. \(28\)

D. \(30\)

E. \(34\)

OA E

- Brent@GMATPrepNow
- GMAT Instructor
**Posts:**16207**Joined:**Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:26 pm**Location:**Vancouver, BC**Thanked**: 5254 times**Followed by:**1268 members**GMAT Score:**770

Using one variable is preferable to 2 variables, but, for "kicks", let's solve it with 2 variables.

Let S = length of SHORTER beam

Let L = length of LONGER beam

So, we can write: L + S = 48

We can write: L = S + 20

Subtract S from both sides to get: L - S = 20

We now have the following system:

L - S = 20

L + S = 48

ADD the two equations to get: 2L = 68

Divide both sides by 2 to get: L = 34

Answer: E

We can also solve this by testing the answer choices

let's start with answer choice C

C) 28

This means the longer beam has length 28

Since the longer bean is 20 inches longer than the shorter beam, this means the shorter beam has length 8

If we add the two lengths we get: 28 + 8 = 36, but we're told the combined length must be 48

ELIMINATE C

NOTE: Using answer choice C (28), the combined length (of 36 inches) was not long enough. This means we need the longer beam to be LONGER than 28 inches.

So, we can ELIMINATE A and B as well

Now try D

D) 30

This means the longer beam has length 30

Since the longer bean is 20 inches longer than the shorter beam, this means the shorter beam has length 10

If we add the two lengths we get: 30 + 10 = 40, but we're told the combined length must be 48

ELIMINATE D

At this point, since we have already eliminated A, B, C and D, answer choice E MUST be correct.

That is, we need not test it, since doing so would waste valuable time.

That said, let's test it (for fun!!!)

E) 34

This means the longer beam has length 34

Since the longer bean is 20 inches longer than the shorter beam, this means the shorter beam has length 14

If we add the two lengths we get: 34 + 14 = 48

PERFECT!!