General Test Information: GED Math (page 2)
About GED Math
GED Math has two main goals: first, to prepare you to take the General Educational Development examination (GED®), and second, to help you learn math concepts with an organized, user-friendly guide. The skills covered represent the type and difficulty level of skills tested on the official GED.
The GED Mathematics Exam
The GED Mathematics Exam is a test used to measure your understanding of the mathematical knowledge needed in real life. The questions are based on information presented in words, diagrams, charts, graphs, and pictures. In addition to testing your math skills, you will also be asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Here are some examples of the skills needed for the mathematical portion of the GED:
- understanding the question
- organizing data and identifying important information
- selecting problem-solving strategies
- knowing when to use appropriate mathematical operations
- setting up problems and estimating
- computing the exact, correct answer
- reflecting on the problem to ensure the answer you choose is reasonable
The GED Mathematics Exam is divided into two equally weighted parts, each containing 25 questions. The time limit for the GED is 90 minutes, meaning that you have 45 minutes to complete each section. The sections are timed separately but weighted equally. This means that you must complete both sections in one testing session to receive a passing grade. If only one section is completed, the entire test must be retaken.
The GED Mathematics Exam assesses your understanding of math concepts and the application of those concepts to various real-world situations. The following four major areas are tested on the exam:
- Number Operations and Number Sense (20%–30%)
- Measurement and Geometry (20%–30%)
- Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability (20%–30%)
- Algebra, Functions, and Patterns (20%–30%)
The 50 questions on the test fit into three different category types:
- conceptual (15 questions identifying and applying math definitions, facts, and principles)
- procedural (10 questions using math procedures)
- application (25 questions applying math in real-life situations)
The test contains 40 multiple-choice questions and 10 alternative-format questions for a total of 50 questions overall. Each multiple-choice question has five answer choices, a through e. (Alternative-format questions will be discussed in the section "Alternative-Format Questions.")
On Part I of the test, you may use the Casio fx-260SOLAR calculator to compute answers. Because estimation and mental math are critical skills, you are not permitted to use the calculator on Part II of the test.
For both math sections, a formula sheet will be provided to the test taker. You are allowed to use this page when you are taking the test; however, you should become familiar with the formulas and understand when and how to use them prior to the test day. (When tackling the practice tests or questions in this book, you can consult the "Formula Cheat Sheet" on page 167.)
The structure of the GED Mathematics Exam ensures that for no more than two questions is "Not enough information is given" the correct answer choice. Given this fact, it is important for you to pay attention to how many times you select this answer choice. If you find yourself selecting "Not enough information is given" for the third time, be sure to check the other questions for which you have selected this choice, because one of them must be incorrect.
Additionally, the current GED has an increased focus on math in everyday life. This is emphasized by allowing the use of a calculator on Part I as well as by an increased emphasis on data analysis and statistics.
Using a Calculator
A Casio fx-260SOLAR calculator will be provided for your use at the official GED testing center. The Casio fx-260SOLAR calculator is shown on the left. The calculator on the right shows only those keys you may find helpful for questions on the GED Mathematics Exam. The ON key is used each time you begin a new question or make an error entering a number or an operation. It is used to clear the display and to clear all parts of a calculation. Other keys to know include the following:
- +/–: the change sign key, used to enter a negative Number
- ab/c: the fraction key, used to enter a fraction
- x2: the square key, used to square a number
- [(– – – and – – –)]: the parentheses keys, used for performing calculations involving parentheses (i.e., questions for which the order of operations is very important)
- SHIFT: the shift key, used to access the functions listed above the other keys
The Casio fx-260SOLAR performs additional functions outside of those indicated on the keys. These functions are indicated by the symbols placed above the keys. To access a function key, press the SHIFT key, release it, and then press the key below the desired function.
Although 80% of the mathematics questions are multiple-choice, 20% of the questions require you to construct your own answer. Rather than select from five choices, you must record answers on either standard or coordinate-plane grids. (Alternative-format questions are always referred to as grid-in questions or constructed-response questions.) Both Parts I and II of the test have multiple-choice, standard-grid, and coordinate-plane-grid questions.
Standard grids record numerical answers.
When you are given a question with a grid, first write your answer in the blank boxes at the top of the grid. This will help keep you organized as you "grid in" the bubbles and ensure that you fill them out correctly. (You are not required to fill in the blank boxes at the top, but it will help you avoid making a careless mistake.)
You can start in any column, but leave enough columns for your whole answer. Answers can be left justified or right justified. One-digit or three-digit answers can also be centered. The number 149, for example, can be recorded on the standard grid in three ways:
You do not have to use all of the columns. If your answer takes up only two or three columns, leave the others blank.
You can write your answer by using either fractions or decimals. For example, if your answer is , you can enter it as a fraction or as a decimal, 0.25. The slash "/" is used to signify the fraction bar of the fraction. The numerator should be "bubbled in" to the left of the fraction bar and the denominator should be "bubbled in" to the right. Here are five ways to correctly record either answer.
When your answer is a mixed number, it must be represented on the standard grid in the form of an improper fraction. For example, for the answer 1, grid in 5/4.
A coordinate-plane grid is a grid on which a number is recorded by filling in one circle that represents a point. Negative numbers are possible, but fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals are not.
When you are asked to plot a point on a coordinate grid like the one shown, simply fill in the bubble where the point should appear. For example, the point (1,3) is recorded as one filled-in circle (or point) on the coordinate grid. Make sure that you completely erase all marks except the answer.
Graphics on the GED
At least 25 out of the 50 questions on the GED Mathematics Exam use diagrams, pie charts, graphs, tables, and other visual stimuli as references. Sometimes, more than one of these questions will be grouped under a single graphic. Do not let this confuse you. Learn to recognize question sets by reading both the questions and the directions carefully.
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