GMAT Quantitative Review
3.0 Math Review
3.4 Word Problems
2. Work Problems
In a work problem, the rates at which certain persons or machines work alone are usually given, and it is necessary to compute the rate at which they work together (or vice versa).
The basic formula for solving work problems is , where r and s are, for example, the number of hours it takes Rae and Sam, respectively, to complete a job when working alone, and h is the number of hours it takes Rae and Sam to do the job when working together. The reasoning is that in 1 hour Rae does of the job, Sam does of the job, and Rae and Sam together do of the job.
Example 1: If Machine X can produce 1,000 bolts in 4 hours and Machine Y can produce 1,000 bolts in 5 hours, in how many hours can Machines X and Y, working together at these constant rates, produce 1,000 bolts?
Working together, Machines X and Y can produce 1,000 bolts in hours.
Example 2: If Art and Rita can do a job in 4 hours when working together at their respective constant rates and Art can do the job alone in 6 hours, in how many hours can Rita do the job alone?
Working alone, Rita can do the job in 12 hours.