GED Math Practice Questions: Absolute Values
You may encounter one or two problems on the GED Mathematical Reasoning test that involve absolute values. The problem probably won’t mention the term “absolute value,” but the answer choices may bracket values or expressions between vertical lines, indicating that the value is an absolute.
Here are some examples.
An assembly line packages 16-ounce boxes of cereal with a tolerance of plus or minus 1/2 ounce. Boxes not within the tolerance are discarded. Which of the following inequalities can be used to determine whether boxes of cereal are discarded?
Leslie’s checking account balance is $150. She writes checks for a pair of boots costing $120 and an outfit costing $45. How much money must she deposit into her checking account to bring the balance up to $25?
Answers and explanations
The weight of the box minus the ideal box weight must be within
or it is discarded. You can plug in 16.6 and 15.4 to check.
Solving this problem is easy because it requires only addition and subtraction, as long as you don’t get confused by the negative number. Leslie buys $165 in merchandise but has only $150 in her account. Unless she deposits more money, the account balance will be –$15. To bring the balance up to $25, she needs to deposit $25 + |–$15| = $40.
Or you can think of it this way: Leslie needs to deposit $15 to bring the balance to zero, plus another $25 for a total of $40.