Reading is always most effective when you read with purpose. Approaching a text with a certain mindset, or what you tell yourself to expect when you read, will put your brain on high-alert. When you know what you seek, it will be easier to find!
Attacking math-based texts with a math mindset is vital to critically thinking and working through problems. In large part, this means getting familiar with mathematical sub-sections, terms, and concepts. Here are a few you will need to know for your GED, HiSET or TASC exams.
Math Terms and Concepts
Basic Math – Numbers and the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) are the foundation of math. This is called “basic math.” There are many different kinds of numbers, such as whole numbers, decimals, percents, and fractions. Basic math also includes exponents and finding square roots of numbers.
Geometry – Shapes are an integral part of math. The high school equivalency (HSE) exams will ask about different types of shapes and how numbers relate to those shapes. This requires students to learn about circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, cubes, prisms, pyramids, cylinders, and cones. Questions will ask about the area and perimeter of two-dimensional shapes, and the volume and surface of three-dimensional shapes.
Basic Algebra – Algebra is an extension of basic mathematical concepts, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponents. The only difference is that algebra uses letters, called variables, in place of certain numbers. When this happens, algebraic expressions and equations are created. Testers will be asked to simplify algebraic expressions and solve equations and inequalities using the Quadratic Formula.
Graphs & Functions – Functions have to do with inputs and outputs of numbers. To be able to demonstrate your understanding of functions, you need to know about the coordinate plane, basic graphs, function notation, and identifying functions. The HSE exams will ask questions about all these aspects of functions. Identifying points in the coordinate plane, graphing lines and inequalities in the coordinate plane, identifying functions, interpreting graphs, evaluating functions.
In addition to preparing students to take on the math exam, reading with a math-mindset can also be helpful when reading about scientific studies, experiments, and conclusions. Here are some common terms you will see in BOTH subjects.
Mean – The “average” of a group of numbers.
Median – The median is the center or middle number when you put a set of numbers in order.
Range – The range of a set of numbers is the distance from the smallest number to the largest number.
Approaching a problem is always easier when you have a basic understanding of what you will encounter. Building an understanding of basic math terminology will make breaking down big ideas in math easier and more useful.
Essential Education’s Math Study Guide is a terrific resource to learn more about what to expect when testing. Check it out!