GED Math Study Guide
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GED Math Review
Math tends to be polarizing for people. When the subject comes to mind, you may feel either a sinking feeling of dread or a rush of confidence. However, mathematics are an important subject—both within the academic environment and beyond.
The purpose of the GED is to grant you the equivalent of a high school diploma, so its content mirrors what is typically found in high school curricula across the country. Math features heavily in today’s high school education, often in the form of at least one math-related course each year. To obtain your high school equivalency, you will need to prove your competency with certain math-related subjects. This is meant to help you prepare whatever next step you may take after passing the GED, whether it’s moving on to higher education or entering the professional workforce.
How can mathematics help you in the future? Depending on your chosen field, you may need to take more advanced math courses than what is commonly seen in high school curricula. Completing your high school equivalency will give you a better foundation to prepare for these courses and perform well. Even if you don’t plan on pursuing a math-intensive major, you will still encounter some courses as part of your general education requirements. As a bonus, some basic math skills are important to have throughout your everyday life.
Whether you’re a math whiz or need a little extra help, you have nothing to fear. This page features an extensive GED Mathematical Reasoning study guide to help you prepare. Elsewhere on our site, you can find a wealth of resources to help you prepare for the math section of the GED, including GED Mathematical Reasoning flashcards and—for more extensive preparation—a GED Mathematical Reasoning practice test.
What Is Featured on the GED Math Section?
The Math section of the GED comes in two halves and is 50 questions in length. You will receive 90 minutes to finish the test—around 45 minutes for finishing both halves. Additionally, the test is composed of “constructed” answers at a rate of 20 percent, and multiple choice at 80 percent. Questions requiring “constructed” answers will usually ask you to draw a graph, line plot, or other graphic and record your numeric answers within a given space. The Mathematical Reasoning portion of the GED test evaluates two specific skills: your capabilities with solving problems through algebraic knowledge, and through quantitative reasoning. Algebraic material appears on the test at a rate of 55 percent, while quantitative material appears at a rate of 45 percent. The purpose of concentrating on these two particular aspects of mathematics comes from official research suggesting that lack of understanding in them tend to struggle later on upon entering college, and are more likely to have to take remedial courses to catch up with their peers.
Unlike the rest of the GED test, you also have the option to use a calculator. There is a limited amount of calculators for you to use, a list of which can be found on the GED website. It is our recommendation that you look over this list as your testing date draws near, if only to make sure you don’t accidentally bring the wrong calculator model and lose your chance to use this tool if and when you need it. If you’re taking the online version of the test, however, your calculator will provided to you onscreen. If you fail to bring your own calculator, you can receive one from the testing site—along with a sheet of mathematical formulas, which will be provided to everyone. It is worth noting that you will only be allowed a calculator on the very first part of the Mathematical Reasoning section. This is because the second part of the test is devoted to evaluating your ability to solve math equations mentally—an equally important skill in its own right. You will be expected to use graphical data and make sense of information from word problems to solve mathematical questions as accurately as possible.
The Math section consists of four categories in all: Algebra, Functions, and Patterns; Number Operations and Number Sense; Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability; and Measurement and Geometry. Each category takes up anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of the full Math section. You will find an equal amount of questions pertaining to every category. Because the focus of this GED Mathematical Reasoning study guide is to better help you hash out a study plan for the exam, we will go over these four knowledge categories below, telling you what they cover and how they will be reflected in your exam questions.
Algebra, Functions, and Patterns
Patterns are a simpler mathematical application, and involve detecting and foretelling a sequence of figures accurately. Functions and Algebra are frequently paired together, as high school students typically learn about functions as part of their Pre-Algebra curriculum. Functions are a type of equation that seek to assess how two numbers connect based on a given variable. Variables are a distinct part of Algebra, which can be defined as a mathematical system driven by variables, equations, and numeric associations.
Number Operations and Number Sense
The Number Operations and Number Sense section of the Mathematical Reasoning test evaluates how well you can identify the numbers you see, and how well you can solve basic arithmetic problems. For the latter, you’ll have to utilize division, addition, multiplication, and subtraction. With the former, you’ll be expected to demonstrate that you know what numbers mean when you see them—what they’re for, how much they’re worth, and how different numbers compare with each other. This knowledge category is the simplest subject you’ll find on this part of the exam.
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Statistics represents the mathematical process used for making logical predictions based on the numbers involved. It goes hand in hand with Probability, which is used to predict the frequency of a given event. Data analysis is exactly as it says on the tin—your ability to interpret numerical data presented to you.
Measurement and Geometry
Geometry deals with the study and calculation of shapes. With Geometry-based questions, you’ll find subject matter related to angles, points, and much more. Measurement involves Geometry on a three-dimensional basis, and will likely ask you to find quantities such as perimeters, areas, distances, and volumes, among other things. Here is where you’ll likely have to refer to your formula sheet quite a bit, as well as do some drawing to get to your answers.
While this study guide isn’t 100 percent comprehensive, we hope it will be of great help to you as you prepare for this important next step in your academic and/or professional careers. You will find more thorough coverage of the Math portion of the GED through the links on this page, as well as elsewhere on our site. If you’d like further help, feel free to check out our GED Math practice test or GED Math flashcards. Good luck!