Everyone has money problems, and the Arithmetic Reasoning subtest on the ASVAB is no exception. The good news is that you can solve the problems on the ASVAB using only a little algebra.

Practice questions

  1. Dan bought a fishing pole from David Edwin's Fishing Emporium for $15.95. Dan spent some money on bait and twice as much on tackle. His total bill was $36.95. How much did he spend on bait and tackle?

    A. $14 on bait; $7 on tackle B. $7 on bait; $14 on tackle C. $16 on tackle; $5 on bait D. $18 on bait; $3 on tackle

  2. Julian has an international calling plan on his phone that costs a flat $15-per-month fee, plus $0.21 per minute (or any portion thereof). How many minutes did he use if his bill was $71.70?

    A. 270 B. 250 C. 310 D. 307

Answers and explanations

  1. The correct answer is Choice (B).

    Determine how much Dan spent on bait and tackle together by subtracting the cost of the fishing pole from his total bill:

    $36.95 – $15.95 = $21

    Between bait and tackle, Dan spent $21.00. Let x represent the amount of money Dan spent on bait and 2x represent how much he spent on tackle:


    Dan spent $7 on bait, so replace x with 7 to find out that he spent $14 on tackle.

  2. The correct answer is Choice (A).

    In a problem such as this one, the first thing you need to do is define the variable. Let x represent the number of minutes Julian used on his international calling plan, because that's the number you don't know. Set up your equation like this (don't forget about the $15 monthly fee) and solve for x:


    Julian used 270 international minutes if his bill was $71.70.

    You may want to use quick mental calculations instead of setting up equations. For this question, if you're a bill payer, you'll know to subtract 15 from $71.70 and divide the difference by $0.21 to find how many minutes were used. Doing the calculations without first writing out an equation may be quicker, but you may sacrifice accuracy for speed if you're not careful to look over your work and reread the question.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Angie Papple Johnston joined the U.S. Army in 2006 as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear specialist, ready to tackle chemical weapons in a Level- A HAZMAT suit. She's currently the CBRN noncommissioned officer-in-charge of an aviation battalion in Washington, D.C.

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