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

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

Solution 3 (answer choices)

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 $\boxed{(C) \text{ } 142}.$

-PureSwag

Solution 4

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

Since the answers choices are quite lenient, we can approximate this as a isoceles 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. ~kxiang

Video Solution by Punxsutawney Phil

https://youtube.com/watch?v=vsE_ezaV4Xs

Video Solution by Hawk Math

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjQARBvdZ20

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 pi_is_3.14 (Using Algebra)

https://youtu.be/HkwgH9Lc1hE

Video Solution by TheBeautyofMath

https://youtu.be/CTXQunZpBA4

~IceMatrix

See also

2021 AMC 10A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 15
Followed by
Problem 17
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 10 Problems and Solutions
2021 AMC 12A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 15
Followed by
Problem 17
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

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