GMAT Math : Calculating the area of a polygon

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Math

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

The perimeter of a regular hexagon is 72 centimeters. To the nearest square centimeter, what is its area?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This regular hexagon can be seen as being made up of six equilateral triangles, each formed by a side and two radii; each has sidelength  centimeters. The area of one triangle is

There are six such triangles, so multiply this by 6:

Example Question #2 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

What is the maximum possible area of a quadrilateral with a perimeter of 48?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

A quadrilateral with the maximum area, given a specific perimeter, is a square. Since  and a square has four equal sides, the max area is

 

Example Question #3 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

A man wants to design a room such that, looking from above, it appears as a trapezoid with a square attached (shown below).  The area of the entire room is to be 100 square meters. The red line shown bisects the dotted line and has a length of 15. How many of the following answers are possible values for the length of one side of the square?

a) 5

b) 6

c) 7

d) 8

Untitled

Figure is not to scale, but the trapezoidal figure will be similar in dimensions to the one shown.

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Let denote the length of one side of a square.  This is also the top of the trapezoid. Let denote the bottom of the trapezoid. Finally, let be the height of the trapezoid.  The area of the trapezoid is then while the area of the square is .

We then have the total area as 100, so:

Now we know that the red line has length 15.  is the region of this line that is in the trapezoid. What we notice, however, is that the remainder is precisely the length of one side of a square.  So or

 

Rewriting the previous equation:

This is now an equation of 2 variables and we can easily cross out answers by plugging in possible values.  What we find is that for , respectively.  For we get , which is too small ( must be greater than ). For we get .

Example Question #3 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

What is the area of a regular octagon with sidelength 10?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The area of a regular polygon is equal to one-half the product of its apothem - the perpendicular distance from the center to a side - and its perimeter. 

The perimeter of the octagon is 

From the diagram below, the apothem of the octagon is 

Octagon

 

 is one half of the sidelength, or 5.  can be seen to be the length of a leg of a  triangle with hypotenuse 10, or

This makes the apothem 

The area is therefore 

Example Question #3 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

What is the area of a regular hexagon with sidelength 10?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

A regular hexagon can be seen as a composite of six equilateral triangles, each of whose sidelength is the sidelength of the hexagon:

 

Hexagon 

Each of the triangles has area

Substitute  to get 

Multiply this by 6: , the area of the hexagon.

Example Question #4 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

What is the area of the figure with vertices  ?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This figure can be seen as a composite of two simple shapes: the rectangle with vertices , and the triangle with vertices .

The rectangle has length  and height , so its area is the product of these dimensions, or .

The triangle has as its base the length of the horizontal segment connecting  and , which is ; its height is the vertical distance from the other vertex to this segment, which is . The area of this triangle is half the product of the base and the height, which is .

Add the areas of the rectangle and the triangle to get the total area:

Example Question #6 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

Figure

Note: Figure NOT drawn to scale

What is the area of the above figure?

Assume all angles shown in the figure are right angles.

Possible Answers:

Not enough information is given to answer the question.

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This figure can be seen as a smaller rectangle cut out of a larger one; refer to the diagram below.

Figure

We can fill in the missing sidelengths using the fact that a rectangle has congruent opposite sides. Once this is done, we can multiply length times height of both rectangles to get the area of each, and subtract areas:

 square feet

Example Question #7 : Calculating The Area Of A Polygon

The following picture represents a garden with a wall built around it. The garden is represented by , the gray area,; and the wall is represented by the white area.

 and  are both squares and the area of the garden is equal to the area of the wall.

The length of  is .

Polygon2

Find the area of the wall.

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

AB's length is 7 so the area of ABCD is:

.

The garden area (EFGH) is equal to the wall area .

So

,

therefore 

.

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