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I came across a question while preparing for a standardized test that is kind of confusing. Hope you guys could help me out here. The question is:

Three men have weights that range from 110 to 135 pounds.
Which of the following cannot possibly be the average weight of the 3 men.
a)117 b)119 c)122 d)125 e)126

The answer is 117

Any idea how that was obtained ?

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I guess that when the question says their weights "range from 110 to 135 pounds" the mean that one man weighs exactly 110, one weighs exactly 135, and one is somewhere in the middle. Does that help? –  MJD May 22 '12 at 16:23
    
Yes that helps , I thought that the 3 men might weigh somewhere in between these values. –  Rajeshwar May 22 '12 at 16:25
    
That's what I thought at first too, but if we interpret it that way the question has no answer. It is a rather tricky piece of language. –  MJD May 22 '12 at 16:27
    
So i guess the only way to tackle this problem is to do a hit and trial from the answers seeing if the weight of the 2nd(unknown) weight lies in the range while using different values of averages from the given answers... –  Rajeshwar May 22 '12 at 16:30
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Standardized testing at its finest. Helping us learn the important skill of solving one questionably worded multiple choice question per minute. –  rschwieb May 22 '12 at 16:51

1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The question might have been better worded. For instance: "The lightest man weighs 110 pounds, and the heaviest man weighs 135 pounds." As it stands, I find it ambiguous.

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I agree that would have been a better question –  Rajeshwar May 22 '12 at 16:33

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