The GED Mathematics test consists of 50 questions in two parts, each with 25 problems. The two halves are similar except that you are only permitted to use a calculator on the first half. You will have 90 minutes total to answer all the questions. Looking for GED Math help? Our top 10 GED Math tips will help you achieve a high score!
1. Translate word problems carefully. Make sure you really understand the concepts underlying the question in a word problem – especially since they are so prevalent on the GED. One or two words can radically change the meaning. Don’t rush these challenging questions, even if the math seems fairly obvious!
2. Use Approximation & Estimation. If the answer choices are far apart, or if you’re running out of time, try approximating and estimating, rounding numbers to the nearest integer and trying to streamline your calculations. This is especially helpful in the second half when you’re working without a calculator!
3. Remember the Golden Rule of Scientific Notation. You can express large numbers and tiny decimals in scientific notation, and you should remember this rule: Positive exponents move to the right. Negative exponents move to the decimal to the left.
4. Use the entire time. If you finish early, go back and review the questions, re-checking your work. You might have made a couple easy mistakes that could cost you points!
5. Read all the data thoroughly before solving. The GED places a good amount of emphasis on Data Analysis and you may see charts, tables, and graphs in various sections. Don’t jump straight to the question – take a few seconds to understand the data presented first!
6. Apply your knowledge of Number Properties. Remember that on the GED, “a number” can mean many things: a whole number, a fraction, a decimal, zero, a negative, a positive, an odd or even number, etc. Sometimes you’ll need to consider a wider range of numbers that you’d expect. Look for the limitations a question places on a variable, then jot down 2-3 possible values on your scratch paper.
7. Never grid-in mixed numbers! About 10 of the 50 GED questions will require you to “grid in” an answer, as opposed to picking a multiple choice number. For these, you should always grid in a mixed number as an improper fraction. For example: 3 and a 1/3 would be entered as 10/3.
8. Treat Data Analysis questions like an open-book test. You wouldn’t skip a Reading passage, so don’t skip the data. Make sure you read every tiny piece of writing on or near the data, including titles, the labels for the x and y-axes, column names, and even footnotes if there are any. Pay attention to the units of measurement, and notice any trends in the data BEFORE reading the questions.
9. Remember your Exponent rules. When you multiply two terms with the same base, you can add the exponents. When you divide two terms with the same base, you can subtract the exponent of the numerator from the exponent of the denominator. If two exponents are separated by a parenthesis, you can multiply them. Look to simplify exponents by rewriting numbers in terms of their exponents. For example, 27 = 33.
10. Don’t see your answer among the choices, rewrite it! Sometimes the GED will express the correct answer as an expression, or not in its simplest form. You may have the correct answer, even if it doesn’t appear among the answer choices. Try to express it differently until it matches one of the options. For example: 52 = 25, and $50 is the same as $15 + $35.