GED Algebra Exam: Training and Preparation Information

Algebra, the method of performing mathematical computations using variables, is a part of the General Educational Development (GED) exam. Find out more about how to prepare for the algebra component of the GED exam.

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When getting ready for the GED exam, it can be helpful to find out about the test-taking resources available, as well as the specific content of the algebra exam. Prospective test-takers must also be sure they meet the test's minimum educational requirements.

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GED Algebra Exam Preparation

Community colleges often have preparation classes for the GED exam. Typically, these classes prepare prospective test-takers for the entire GED exam. If an examinee is only interested in preparing for the algebra portion of the exam, community colleges that offer continuing education classes often have preparation courses for the entire math module of the GED exam. Many of these preparation courses are offered in an online format, making it easy for students preparing for the GED exam to work and still have time to study. Prep courses are also available through private organizations.

GED Algebra Exam

The mathematical reasoning section of the GED exam is 115 minutes long. There are 46 total questions. Students cannot use a calculator on the first five questions, but a scientific calculator is permitted for the remaining 41 questions. Algebraic problem-solving questions make up 20-30% of the math exam. For success on these questions, test-takers need to be able to work with algebraic expressions, equations, inequalities and coordinate grids. Some of the algebra questions on the GED math test may require students to demonstrate their skills in:

  • Simplifying complex equations
  • Calculating the distance between two points on a grid
  • Determining the slope of a line
  • Finding the greatest common factor of two numbers
  • Factoring by grouping
  • Multiplying algebraic expressions
  • Solving word problems

A portion of the exam allows individuals to use a calculator, which is provided by the testing site. This calculator is the TI-30XS Multiview Scientific Calculator, so individuals may want to practice with this calculator.

Why Is Algebra Important?

Algebra may be used for solving time, distance, money and cooking length problems; it is often incorporated into day-to-day tasks. Any equation that contains an unknown is an algebraic equation. For example, a person who needs to meet his or her friend for lunch at 1 p.m. at a destination 25 miles away may use algebra to determine the amount of time he or she needs to arrive at that destination. He or she might also explore how much money is needed for lunch and whether calculations are needed to factor in road conditions.

GED Requirements

Each state has guidelines for people wishing to take the GED exam. The GED Testing service requires test-takers to be at least 16 years old, but 43 states and Washington DC require test-takes to be at least 18 years old. School districts that administer the GED exam may make exceptions to the age requirement under certain conditions.

Usually, an applicant must be a resident of the county in which he or she takes the exam. A Social Security Number (SSN) is not generally required; states that ask for an SSN will issue an identification number in lieu of the document. Non-residents and illegal aliens are allowed to take the GED exam if they meet the requirements of the state.

By familiarizing themselves with algebraic concepts and completing test training classes, GED test-takers can prepare for success on the math portion of the exam.

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