Jeff Miller

GMAT OFFICIAL GUIDE PS – M is the sum of the reciprocals of the consecutive integers…

M is the sum of the reciprocals of the consecutive integers…


Let’s first analyze the question. We are trying to find a potential range for M, and M is equal to the sum of the reciprocals from 201 to 300, inclusive. Thus, M is:

1/201 + 1/202 + 1/203 + …+ 1/300

There is no way the GMAT would ever expect us to do this math, and that is exactly why the answer choices in are in the form of an inequality. Thus, we do not need to know the EXACT value of M. The easiest way to determine the RANGE of M is to use easy numbers that can quickly be manipulated.

Note that 1/200 is greater than each of the addends and that 1/300 is less than or equal each of the addends. Therefore, instead of trying to add together 1/201 + 1/202 + 1/203 + …+ 1/300, we are instead going to add 1/200 one hundred times and 1/300 one hundred times. These two sums will give us a high estimate of M and a low estimate of M. Again, we are adding 1/200, one hundred times, and 1/300, one hundred times, because there are 100 numbers from 1/201 to 1/300.

Instead of actually adding each one of these values one hundred times, we will simply multiply each value by 100. We have:

1/300 x 100 = 1/3

1/200 x 100 = 1/2

We see that M is between 1/3 and 1/2.

Answer: A