How to Solve Work Problems Part 1

This is the first part of the Solving Working Problems Series. In this post, we are going to discuss in details the basics of work problems.

Work problems usually involve the time for two or more persons or machines to complete the same job given the rate that they can work. For discussion purposes, let us have the following example.

Work problem:

Ariel can paint a house in 5 days and Ben can do the same job in 6 days. In how many days can they complete the job if they work together?

Discussion and Scratch Work

If Ariel can finish the job in 5 days, then if he were to work one day, he would have completed 1/5 of the job. If he works for two days, then he would have completed 2/5 of the job. Similarly, if Ben can finish the same job in 6 days, if he were to work for one day, then he would have completed 1/6 of the job. If he works for 2 days, he would have completed 2/6 of the job (or 1/3 of the job if reduced to lowest terms).  » Read more

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