How to Extract the Info You Need to Solve Math Problems on the GED

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

Some of the questions on the GED Math test may have extra information that you don’t need; in those cases, just ignore it. Of course, you have to make sure that the information you think is extra really is.

The people who write the test questions include extra information for a reason — extra information can make guessing more difficult and separate the test-takers who are paying attention from those who aren’t. Sometimes, extra information is put in to make the question a bit more realistic. You don’t want to disregard anything essential to solving the problem.

While reading the following question, try to visualize the situation and consider where the plot takes an extreme turn. This is usually the place where the information turns from important to irrelevant or vice versa.

Kenny, Dharma, and Sophie went out for a snack after school. The wall of their favorite burger place has the following menu:

Item Calories (kcal) Fat (g) Cost ($)
Hamburger 780 44 4.09
Bacon Cheeseburger 340 15 4.09
Chicken Wrap 450 25 1.69
French Fries 360 17 1.59
Chocolate Muffin 450 15 2.10
Chocolate Chip Cookies 160 7 1.00
Soda 220 0 1.49

Their total bill came to $24.31, and after a long discussion, they decided to tip the server 15%. What was the server’s tip?

  • (A) $2.92

  • (B) $3.00

  • (C) $3.65

  • (D) $4.86

The first part of this item may be interesting, but it’s irrelevant. The relevant information is the part that asks about the server’s tip. The only important information becomes the amount of the bill and the percentage of the tip. So you multiply the total bill by 15% to get a tip of $24.31 x 0.15 = $3.65, rounded to the nearest penny.