# 2021 AMC 12A Problems/Problem 16

The following problem is from both the 2021 AMC 10A #16 and 2021 AMC 12A #16, so both problems redirect to this page.

## Problem

In the following list of numbers, the integer $n$ appears $n$ times in the list for $1 \leq n \leq 200$. $$1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, \ldots, 200, 200, \ldots , 200$$What is the median of the numbers in this list? $\textbf{(A)} ~100.5 \qquad\textbf{(B)} ~134 \qquad\textbf{(C)} ~142 \qquad\textbf{(D)} ~150.5 \qquad\textbf{(E)} ~167$

## Solution 1

There are $1+2+..+199+200=\frac{(200)(201)}{2}=20100$ numbers in total. Let the median be $k$. We want to find the median $k$ such that $$\frac{k(k+1)}{2}=20100/2,$$ or $$k(k+1)=20100.$$ Note that $\sqrt{20100} \approx 142$. Plugging this value in as $k$ gives $$\frac{1}{2}(142)(143)=10153.$$ $10153-142<10050$, so $142$ is the $152$nd and $153$rd numbers, and hence, our desired answer. $\fbox{(C) 142}$.

Note that we can derive $\sqrt{20100} \approx 142$ through the formula $$\sqrt{n} = \sqrt{a+b} \approx \sqrt{a} + \frac{b}{2\sqrt{a} + 1},$$ where $a$ is a perfect square less than or equal to $n$. We set $a$ to $19600$, so $\sqrt{a} = 140$, and $b = 500$. We then have $n \approx 140 + \frac{500}{2(140)+1} \approx 142$. ~approximation by ciceronii

Note by Fasolinka (use answer choices): Once you know that the answer is in the 140s range by the approximation, it is highly improbable for the answer to be anything but C.

## Solution 2

The $x$th number of this sequence is $\left\lceil\frac{-1\pm\sqrt{1+8x}}{2}\right\rceil$ via the quadratic formula. We can see that if we halve $x$ we end up getting $\left\lceil\frac{-1\pm\sqrt{1+4x}}{2}\right\rceil$. This is approximately the number divided by $\sqrt{2}$. $\frac{200}{\sqrt{2}} = 141.4$ and since $142$ looks like the only number close to it, it is answer $\boxed{(C) 142}$ ~Lopkiloinm

We can look at answer choice $C$, which is $142$ first. That means that the number of numbers from $1$ to $142$ is roughly the number of numbers from $143$ to $200$.

The number of numbers from $1$ to $142$ is $\frac{142(142+1)}{2}$ which is approximately $10000.$ The number of numbers from $143$ to $200$ is $\frac{200(200+1)}{2}-\frac{142(142+1)}{2}$ which is approximately $10000$ as well. Therefore, we can be relatively sure the answer choice is $\boxed{(C) \text{ } 142}.$

## Solution 4

We can arrange the numbers in the following pattern: $$\begin{array}{cccccc} \ &\ &\ &\ &\ 200 & \\ \ &\ &\ &\ 199 & \ 200 & \\ \ &\ &\ \iddots& \ \vdots& \ \vdots& \\ \ &\ 2& \ \cdots& \ 199& \ 200& \\ 1 & \ 2 & \ \cdots& \ 199& \ 200& \end{array}$$

We can see this as a isosceles right triangle, with legs of length $200.$ $[asy]draw((0,0)--(200,200)--(200,0)--cycle); draw((142,0)--(142,142)); label("x",(142,0)--(142,142),E); label("x",(0,0)--(142,0),S); label("200",(200,0)--(200,200),E); [/asy]$

Let $x$ be the side length such that both sides of the triangle have the same area. The desired answer is then around $x$ because about half of the numbers in the list fall on each side.

Solving for $x$ yields: \begin{align*} \frac{x^2}{2} =& \:\frac{1}{2} \cdot \frac{200^2}{2} \\ x^2 =& \:\frac{1}{2}\cdot 200^2 \\ x =& \:\frac{200}{\sqrt{2}} = \: 100\sqrt{2} \approx 141. \end{align*} We see that $\boxed{(C) \: 142}$ is the closest to $x$ by far, and thus, can be relatively certain this is the answer.

~thinker123

## Video Solution by Answer Choice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxWjDcUcaeQ&list=PLexHyfQ8DMuKqltG3cHT7Di4jhVl6L4YJ&index=13 ~North America Math Contest Go Go Go

## Video Solution by TheBeautyofMath

~IceMatrix

The problems on this page are copyrighted by the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competitions. 