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This brings us to the end of the GED® Mathematics section of this course. Congratulations on having diligently followed this extensive mathematics tutorial! At this point, you should be able to complete the math section of the GED® exam without too much difficulty. Following this summary will be a simulated GED® math exam, so let’s go over a few of the main tips to remember before starting the exam.

  1. Pace yourself – if you’re having a difficult time answering a question, don’t waste a long time on it. Move on, answer other questions and come back to it if you have time. Wear a watch and check yourself every couple of questions to make sure that you’re working at an appropriate pace.
  2. Answer every question – you will not be penalized for incorrect answers so it’s a better idea to take a shot even if you’re not sure of the answer.
  3. Narrow down your answer choices by eliminating obviously incorrect answers.
  4. Estimate and round off where possible.
  5. Remember—the problems appear more difficult than they are. You do not need extensive algebraic and trigonometric knowledge to succeed on the GED® test. You simply have to be able to recognize basic problems and apply the simple formulas that you have learned in this lesson, the majority of which will be provided for you in case you forget them.
  6. Relax! You’ve taken this course and you have the tools necessary to succeed. You can do it!

Tips to Remember:


  1. A positive + a positive = a positive
  2. A negative + a negative = a negative
  3. Large addition problems can be performed more effectively as multiplication problems. 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 15 can be written as 3 x 5 = 15


  1. When subtracting a negative number from a positive number, the subtraction symbol and the negative symbol cancel each other out. 1 – (-2) is the same as        1 +2 


  1. A negative multiplied by a positive = a negative
  2. A negative multiplied or divided by a negative = a positive

Order of Operations

  1. Carry out operations in parentheses FIRST
  2. Complete any exponents SECOND
  3. Multiply/Divide THIRD
  4. Add/Subtract LAST 

Clearly, if there are no operations in parentheses then you would begin with the exponents and then multiply or divide. The same goes if there are no exponents, you would multiply or divide first, and then add or subtract. Keep that order in mind as it will greatly affect whether or not you end up with the correct answer.


First terms

Outside terms

Inside terms

Last terms

FOIL is an acronym that will help you remember the order in which to multiply terms in parentheses. Like: (x + 3)(x + 7). The first terms would be the x’s. Outside terms would be x and 7, inside terms are 3 and x. The last terms are 3 and 7. Keep this in mind when performing multiplication.

Remember: If you get a mixed number on a standard grid problem, you must convert it to an improper fraction or a decimal for it to be recognized as a correct answer. Also, if you get a repeating decimal (i.e., 3.4566666), you must either round it off (3.46) or convert it to a fraction.

   Don’t forget to use graphical examples of the numerical problem you are trying to solve if it is being problematic for you. For example, if you have a problem dealing with ratio or percent, draw a circle and shade in the parts that you have. This can help enormously, especially if you are a visual learner. 

   Also, let your calculator do the work when possible. Don’t waste time trying to perform calculations on paper or in your head if you don't have to! Use a systematic approach for solving problems. Take a moment to understand what is being asked and then apply a formula or method for solving.

   Now it’s time to move on to the practice exam, which will give you the best idea yet of your level of GED® math comprehension. Good luck!

Click on the link below to move on to the practice exam. 

Back: Math Lesson 4 | Next: Math Practice Test

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