Measurement: GED Test Prep

Updated on Mar 9, 2011

The GED Mathematics Exam emphasizes real-life applications of math concepts, and this is especially true of questions about measurement. This article will review the basics of measurement systems used in the United States and other countries, performing mathematical operations with units of measurement, and the process of converting between different units

The use of measurement enables you to form a connection between mathematics and the real world. To measure any object, assign a number and a unit of measure. For instance, when a fish is caught, it is often weighed in ounces and its length measured in inches. The following lesson will familiarize you with the types, conversions, and units of measurement.

Types of Measurements

Following are the types of measurements used most frequently in the United States.

      Units of Length
      12 inches (in.) = 1 foot (ft.)
      3 feet = 36 inches = 1 yard (yd.)
      5,280 feet = 1,760 yards = 1 mile (mi.)
      Units of Volume
      8 ounces* (oz.) = 1 cup (c.)
      2 cups = 16 ounces = 1 pint (pt.)
      2 pints = 4 cups = 32 ounces = 1 quart (qt.)
      4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 ounces = 1 gallon (gal.)
      Units of Weight
      16 ounces* (oz.) = 1 pound (lb.)
      2,000 pounds = 1 ton (T)
      Units of Time
      60 seconds (sec.) = 1 minute (min.)
      60 minutes = 1 hour (hr.)
      24 hours = 1 day
      7 days = 1 week
      52 weeks = 1 year (yr.)
      12 months = 1 year
      365 days = 1 year

    *Notice that ounces are used to measure both the dimensions of volume and weight.

Converting Units

When you perform mathematical operations, it is necessary to convert units of measure to simplify a problem. Units of measure are converted by using either multiplication or division:

  • To change a larger unit to a smaller unit, simply multiply the specific number of larger units by the number of smaller units in only one of the larger units.
  • For example, to find the number of inches in 5 feet, simply multiply 5, the number of larger units, by 12, the number of inches in one foot:

      5 feet = how many inches?
      5 feet × 12 inches (the number of inches in a single foot) = 60 inches

    Therefore, there are 60 inches in 5 feet.

    Try another:

      Change 3.5 tons to pounds.
      3.5 tons = how many pounds?
      3.5 tons × 2,000 pounds (the number of pounds in a single ton) = 6,500 pounds

    Therefore, there are 6,500 pounds in 3.5 tons.

  • To change a smaller unit to a larger unit, simply divide the specific number of smaller units by the number of smaller units in only one of the larger units.
      For example, to find the number of pints in 64 ounces, simply divide 64, the smaller unit, by 16, the number of ounces in one pint.
      = 4 pints
  • Therefore, 64 ounces are equal to 4 pints.

    Here is one more:

      Change 32 ounces to pounds.
      = 2 pounds

    Therefore, 32 ounces are equal to 2 pounds.

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