1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data a) How many entries can be chosen independently, in a symmetric matrix of order n? b) How many entries can be chosen independently, in a skew-symmetric matrix of order n? 2. Relevant equations 3. The attempt at a solution All I know are the definitions of a symmetric and a skew symmetric matrix. I don't understand the problem, what does chosen independently mean? Is this a sum of some sort? Any hints are greatly appreciated!