Preparing for GED Test on Math Computation

by JJ Stier
Students should test themselves to identify areas where they need to study.

Students should test themselves to identify areas where they need to study.

The GED Test of Math Computation is divided into four sections including whole numbers and operations, measurement and geometry, statistics and probability, and algebra functions and patterns. There are two sections with 25 questions each, but only one section allows a calculator. The best way to prepare for the GED math section is to divide the skill sets into practice sections to discover any math concepts you don't understand or find challenging within each section. Students should review and categorize unfamiliar concepts in all four sections and focus on the math concepts they need to master.

Whole Numbers and Operations

The whole numbers and operations section of the GED includes addition, subtraction, division, square roots, exponents and questions with fractions, decimals, and parentheses. To prepare for this section, students should buy or borrow the special kind of calculator that is provided by the test center, a Casio FX-260 Solar. Students cannot use their own calculators, and since this calculator requires a little bit of practice for students who have never seen it before, it is important to practice basic mathematical functions with it before the test. Students need to calculate quickly and confidently to better their scores.

Measurement and Geometry

Measurement and geometry questions will test the student's ability to use math reasoning pertaining to angles, lines, and basic geometry. Generally, the test provides diagrams drawn to scale, so students should practice recognizing and using formulas with an isosceles triangle, a right triangle, finding the perimeter and area of a triangle and comparing triangles. Although there is a page containing all the formulas students will need for the test in the math section, they should memorize the basic concepts about angles and lines, right angles, parallel lines, the volume of rectangles and squares, and the radius of a circle.

Data Analysis and Statistics

Students need to change percents to fractions, and fractions to decimals, solve percent problems, understand probability, and find mean, median, and mode in word problems. Data analysis questions require students to read and understand charts, tables, and schedules and to understand and answer questions about circle graphs, bar graphs and line graphs. To prepare for these types of questions, students should review interchanging percents, fractions and decimals, and practice these operations with and without a calculator. They should also be sure to review graphs, mean, median and mode.

Algebra Functions and Patterns

Algebraic expressions use variables and require students to provide values for these variables. The GED math section will test students on their ability to understand the basic language of algebra, solve for variables and evaluate algebraic expressions. They should understand word problems that use variables and require algebraic solutions. Students are also tested on whether they can use an algebraic formula to solve questions with lines, including slope and distance. Students should review factoring, which is the method of finding common multiplication factors in an expression to solve algebraic equations.

About the Author

JJ Stier , who earned a EdM from Harvard and MA from the University of Oregon, teaches English in higher education and K-12. She is particularly attuned to issues in education and parenting. She has spent many years in community colleges and universities teaching preparatory and developmental reading and writing and has served on committees that shape college policy in developmental studies.

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