GED Math: Translating English to Math

Trish Wrote:

I am really having a hard time understanding translating word expressions into equations, and wondering if you can help?

1. the sum of 16 times a number and the number less another number times 3

2. a number less the sum of another number and 13

Workin’ these problems is almost like translating another language. You gotta know exactly what each word translates to a mathematical expression. Here’s a list of how they break down:

+ = “the sum of x and y (you’d put the + where the “and” goes here: x + y)

− = “less” or “minus” (note that if it says something like “a less b” then it’s a − b but if it says “a less than b” it’s b − a)

× = “times” or “the product of a and b” (a times b = a × b)

÷ = “divided by” (a divided by b = a ÷ b)

a,b,c or x,y,z = These are variables, so if it say “a number” that’s one of these variables. You usually wanna start with the first one in a list. Then if it says “another number” you pick the next one. If it said “a third number” you’d pick the last one. I don’t think it’d ever go above three numbers. (a number = a, another number = b, a third number = c) Continue reading

GED Math: Dyscalculia

What up everyone?

I been hearing about this thing lately called dyscalculia. I ain’t never heard of that before, but I have heard ’bout dyslexia. So, I figured the two were linked. I looked it up, and it turns out they are. Discalculia’s kinda like dyslexia with numbers. Only it’s more than that. It effects people’s sense of time and space and all that. Check out this list of symptoms.

Anyway, it kinda helped me understand people a little better. Like, when I add up numbers, I just get it, you know? But if I think about it like dyslexia, that’s somethin’ I can understand. Sometimes I just don’t get words. It’s like they all a jumble, and I gotta slow down and really pay attention. But there’s people out there who can just scan a page real quick and tell you everything that be on it. Maybe those same people can’t get numbers like I can, right? Continue reading

GED Math: Percent and Ratio Word Problems

Hey, yo. Here’s a comment Jen sent over:

Hi Curtis,

I need some help with percent and ratio word problems. Unfortunately your previous explanations regarding word problems have been too complicated. Perhaps you could give more information on the basics, the formulas? I know I am not completely understanding these formulas. My knowledge in math is only the basic concepts, and I do not understand algebra yet.

While percents seem simple enough; I become lost when I try to solve word problems with them. I have been using the triangle method to work with percent problems. [The method shown in the GED book.]

1- Multiply when the problem gives you the whole and the percent.

2- Divide when the problem gives you the part and the percent.

3- Divide when the problem gives you the whole and the part.

However, I am still finding word problems with percents and ratios very confusing, so I know I am definitely not understanding the formula. Ratios especially – the whole idea of cross multiplying sounds good, but when I do this I become lost as I attempt to finish the problem. I hope you can help me begin to make sense of these areas.

Thanks, Jen Continue reading

GED Math: Distance, Rate, and Time

Yo, all you GED studiers. Zaher wrote me with a good math problem… ’bout distance and speed and time. Take a gander…

Hey Curtis ,

Thanks for your prompt reply man . This is one of the problems I struggled with involving distance :

– A man started walking at 2 mph, while a woman 2 miles behind him began walking at the same time at a rate of 4 mph, and in the same direction. Just then, the man’s dog left him and ran toward the woman. Upon reaching her, it instantly turned around and ran back toward thr man. And so, the dog continued to run back and forth between them, at a constant rate of 5 mph, until the woman finally overtook the man. How far did the dog run?

**** Go enjoy figuring it out and let me know how to do it man !


In the GED test, on the page with all the formulas, you got one for distance:

distance = rate x time

So, what’s it mean? Continue reading

GED Math: Making a Problem into a Formula

Yo! Here’s one thing the GED math test definitely asks you to do: turn a word problem into a formula. Sometimes the GED test doesn’t ask you to solve the problem. It just asks you to look at a bunch of formulas and figure out which one’s the right one. Well, at least you don’t hafta solve it. It’s pretty useful to know, too, cuz it helps you solve other word problems. It’s one of the steps you gotta take to figure things out.

So, let’s try walkin’ thru one. Continue reading