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Source: Official Guide for the GMAT 13th Ed. Problem Solving; #39 Official Guide for the GMAT 2015 14th Ed. Problem Solving; #39


John has 10 pairs of matched socks.

John has 10 pairs of matched socks. If he loses 7 individual socks, what is the greatest number of pairs of matched socks he can have left?

3 Explanations


Jose Claudio Lopa

I chose to view 10 pairs as 20 socks, then subtracted 7 from that, leaving me with 13 socks in total and 6 pairs.

Oct 27, 2020 • Comment


That's exactly right! Well done :)

Nov 2, 2020 • Reply


Gravatar Jonathan , Magoosh Tutor

Hi Sami,
There is nothing in the question that should lead us to assume the socks John loses are from different pairs. We are told he loses "7 individual socks" but that doesn't mean that the socks are from different pairs. It's our job to figure out the greatest number of matches socks that COULD be left. I hope that helps.

Mar 29, 2015 • Comment


Gravatar Mike McGarry, Magoosh Tutor

Dec 27, 2013 • Comment

Sami Jazairi

Hi Mike, In solving this problem I assumed that the problem was saying that John lost 1 sock from each pair. Therefore, I came up with the conclusion that if he lost 7 socks from each pair that he would be left with 3 pairs. What key words should I have looked at the problem to reach your assumption?

Mar 17, 2015 • Reply

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