What to Expect From the Mathematical Reasoning Section of the GED

The Mathematical Reasoning section on the GED tests mathematics that you'd normally know by the end of high school. Because this new test is designed to prepare you for both postsecondary education and employment, it has an emphasis on both workplace-related mathematics and academic mathematics. About 45 percent of the test is about quantitative problem solving, and the rest is about algebra.

The Mathematical Reasoning test consists of different formats of items. Because the GED test is now administered on the computer, the items take advantage of the power of the computer.

Here are the types of items that you'll encounter in the Mathematical Reasoning section:

  • Multiple-choice: Most of the items in the Mathematical Reasoning section are multiple-choice because this type of question is still one of the most used formats for standardized tests.

  • Drop-down: This type of question is a form of multiple-choice in that you get a series of possible answers, one of which is correct. The only difference is that you see all the options at once within the text where it's to be used.

  • Fill-in-the-blank and hot-spot: In these problems, you have to provide an answer. The fill-in-the-blank items are straightforward: You're asked for a specific answer, either a number or one or two words, and you type the answer into the space provided. Hot-spot items use an embedded sensor within an image on the computer screen. You use the mouse to move data to that spot or plot data on a graphic.

    The secret of doing well on these questions is still to read them carefully and answer what is asked from the information given. These types of problems don't have any tricks, except the ones you may play on yourself by reading information into them that isn't there.

Some items may be stand-alone with only one question for each problem, or stimulus. Others may have multiple items based on a single stimulus. Each stimulus, no matter how many items are based on it, may be text, graphs, tables, or other representation of numbers, geometrical, or algebraic materials. Practice reading mathematical materials, and you should become familiar with the vocabulary of mathematics.

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