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# Real Numbers, Prime Numbers, and Absolute Value Study Guide: GED Math

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Updated on Mar 23, 2011

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:

Numbers and Operations Practice Problems: GED Math

### Odd and Even Numbers

An even number is a number that can be divided by the number 2: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14,… An odd number cannot be divided by the number 2: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13,… The even and odd numbers listed are also examples of consecutive even numbers and consecutive odd numbers, because they differ by two.

Here are some helpful rules for how even and odd numbers behave when added or multiplied:

### Properties of Real Numbers

Real numbers are all numbers, positive and negative, on the number line:… , –3, –2, –1, 0, 1, 2, 3,… (See the next section for an explanation of number lines.)

The real numbers share properties with which you should be familiar. These properties allow you to change the rules for the order of operations. They can be used to increase speed and accuracy when doing mental math. These properties are also used extensively in algebra when solving equations (for algebra information, see Chapter 6).

Two properties, the commutative and associative properties, deal with expressions that involve a string of all addition operations or a string of all multiplication operations. These properties are for addition and multiplication only.

The commutative property states that when performing a string of addition operations or a string of multiplication operations, the order does not matter: a + b = b + a.

Recall that the order of operations directs you to add or multiply working from left to right.

When you balance your checkbook and have to add up a string of outstanding checks, you can list them all and use the commutative property to arrive at the total by changing the order of addends to add pairs whose ones digits add to 10.

Example

17 + 64 + 35 + 43 + 96 =

Change the order: 17 + 43 + 64 + 96 + 35.

Add 17 and 43 first, because 7 + 3 = 10: 17 + 43 = 60.

The problem becomes 60 + 64 + 96 + 35.

Add 64 and 96 next, because 4 + 6 = 10: 64 + 96 = 160.

The problem becomes 60 + 160 + 35.

Work left to right: 60 + 160 + 35 = 220 + 35 = 255.

In the same way, the commutative property is helpful when multiplying several numbers terms. Change the order to find pairs of numbers whose product would be 10, 100, or 1,000.

Example

4 × 2 × 70 × 50 × 25 =

Change the order to: 4 × 25 × 2 × 50 × 70.

Multiply 4 and 25 first: 4 × 25 = 100.

The problem becomes 100 × 2 × 50 × 70.

Multiply 2 and 50 together: 2 × 50 = 100.

The problem becomes 100 × 100 × 70.

Finish left to right: 10,000 × 70 = 700,000.

The associative property is used when grouping symbols are present. This property states that when you perform a string of addition operations or a string of multiplication operations, you can change the grouping: (a × b) × c = a × (b × c).

Examples

1. 19 + (7 + 16) + 34 =
2. Change grouping to add 16 and 34 first, because 6 + 4 = 10: 19 + 7 + (16 + 34).

Evaluate the parentheses: 16 + 34 = 50.

The problem becomes 19 + 7 + 50.

Finish, working left to right: 19 + 7 = 26, then 26 + 50 = 76.

3. 15 × (8 × 20) × 5 =
4. Change grouping to multiply 20 and 5 first, because 20 × 5 = 100: 15 × 8 × (20 × 5).

Evaluate parentheses first: 20 × 5 = 100.

The problem becomes 15 × 8 × 100.

Finish, working left to right: 15 × 8 = 120, then 120 × 100 = 12,000.

The distributive property states that multiplication distributes over addition or subtraction. It deals with two operations—multiplication and addition or multiplication and subtraction. The equation 5(10 + 2) = 5(12) = 60 could also be evaluated as 5(10 + 2) = 5 × 10 + 5 × 2 = 50 + 10 = 60.

The distributive property makes it easy to solve certain math problems quickly.

Example

17 × 5 =

You know that 7 + 10 = 17: 17 × 5 = 5(10 + 7).

Use the distributive property: 5 × 10 + 5 × 7.

Follow the order of operations: 50 + 35 = 85.