Try this problem from American Invitational Mathematics Examination, AIME, 2019 based on Combinations

Combinations- AIME, 2009

A game show offers a contestant three prizes A B and C each of which is worth a whole number of dollars from $1 to $9999 inclusive. The contestant wins the prizes by correctly guessing the price of each prize in the order A B and C. As a hint the digits of three prizes are given. On a particular day the digits given were 1,1,1,1,3,3,3. Find the total number of possible guesses for all three prizes consistent with the hint.

  • 110
  • 420
  • 430
  • 111

Key Concepts


Theory of equations


Check the Answer

But try the problem first…

Answer: 420.

Suggested Reading

AIME I, 2009, Problem 9

Combinatorics by Brualdi .

Try with Hints

First hint

Number of possible ordering of seven digits is$\frac{7!}{4!3!}$=35

Second hint

these 35 orderings correspond to 35 seven-digit numbers, and the digits of each number can be subdivided to represent a unique combination of guesses for A B and C. Thus, for a given ordering, the number of guesses it represents is the number of ways to subdivide the seven-digit number into three nonempty sequences, each with no more than four digits. These subdivisions have possible lengths 1/2/4,2/2/3,1/3/3, and their permutations. The first subdivision can be ordered in 6 ways and the second and third in three ways each, for a total of 12 possible subdivisions.

Final Step

then total number of guesses is 35.12=420

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