The math portion of the GED test has two sections with a total of 50 questions, and you have 45 minutes to complete each part. According to the GED Testing Service in 2013, 40 to 60 percent of math sections test your skills and knowledge in the areas of algebra and geometry. To get the algebra and geometry questions correct, you must know how to correctly apply the formulas provided in the testing booklet and use basic math principles.
The algebra questions on the GED test require you to know how to use a number line, basic math principles and equations to solve problems. To get these questions correct, you have to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide negative and positive numbers so you can determine the unknown variables. The McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center says that some problems may ask you to simplify an algebraic expressions like “a(b+c),” which equals “ab+ac” when simplified. You must also know how to determine key words and phrases in word problems so you can correctly write an algebraic expression and solve the answer.
To answer the geometry questions on the GED test, you must have knowledge of basic shapes, plane figures and angles, as well as the terms related to geometric shapes. Examples of terms include “diameter,” the distance across a circle, and “supplementary angels,” which are two angles that equal 180 degrees. In some geometry questions, you'll have to identify the area or perimeter of a shape, know how to determine the size of an angle or figure out the volume of solid figures. You should also know how to apply the Pythagorean Theorem correctly to determine the length of the sides of a triangle.
Advanced Geometry and Algebra Questions
While the majority of the algebra and geometry questions on the GED test cover basic concepts, you will encounter some advanced problems, according to the McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center. These math problems relate to coordinate planes, linear equations, slopes, the quadratic equation and trigonometry basics. On the questions that deal with coordinate planes, slopes and linear equations, you must use the information and formulas provided to find out the points on a grid and their slope. Other advanced math problems that you may have to solve include formulas with exponents and equations that have you figure out the square root of a number.
To help make the math section of the GED test, the GED Testing Service provides you with a list of formulas that you’ll need in the test booklet so you don’t have to memorize them. However, it’s up to you to know how to use the formulas correctly. The formulas provide tell you how to find the area and perimeter of shapes and the volume of solid objects. The test book also provides you with formulas to solve the distance between two points and the slope of a line, as well as the formulas for the quadratic equation and the Pythagorean Theorem.