Problems With GED Mathematics

GED learners often have problems with math. GED mathematics is the hardest subject for most people to conquer because it's a different way of thinking and one people don't use as much in their everyday lives. But sometimes problems with math go deeper. A learning disability that prevents you from understanding math is called dyscalculia, and if you have serious problems with GED mathematics, you should consider that it's possible you have dyscalculia.

Dyscalculia is a real difficulty in preparing for the GED exam. If you suspect you have dyscalculia, you should try to get your disability diagnosed. You may qualify for special assistance on the exam, such as using the calculator on both parts of the GED mathematics test or taking frequent breaks. This can really help. Unfortunately, dyscalculia often goes undiagnosed, preventing students from getting the help they need on the test.

There are also things you can do in your studying, too, whether or not you've been diagnosed with dyscalculia. Math is a language of numbers, and to some people its symbolic language doesn't make sense. Try translating math into images or words that you can make more sense of. Break down problems into simple steps. Find out specifically about the logic you need to get from one step to the next in math. Try writing down a problem, and for each step in solving it, write down the logic that's used. Before you can do math quickly, learn to do it very slowly, one step at a time. A lot of people jump from step to step automatically, but it's easy to get lost that way. If you learn what each step means and why it's being done, then you're really understanding.

Students who have trouble with math usually don't get the language of math. What does the math really mean? What's behind the numbers? You might have trouble making connections between math, even something as simple as "5 + 4," and its meaning, i.e. five apples and four oranges, means nine pieces of fruit. If these types of meanings are a difficulty, imagine the difficulty with algebra! It takes some self-evaluation and creative thinking, but math concepts of all kinds can be learned in new ways. Try to make connections to real-life problems and applications. Use objects to understand the math you're looking at, something real that you can see and manipulate. Actual apples and oranges (or pennies, or dice, or toothpicks, or other objects) can help you make sense of math.

Focus on filling in basic math capability (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percents, and decimals) and understanding what to do with word problems. If you have a strong foundation in the basics of math, you've got a great start on the GED.

If your problems with math are serious, it might be good to go to find a book on dyscalculia. A lot of these are aimed at children, but the types of exercises you'll find can still help. Browse through your bookstore to see what you find. Just getting out of the way you've been trying to learn and finding a new method, a new way of thinking about math, can help break through the frustration. Trying new techniques is a lot better than repeating the old ones that aren't working.

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Michael Ormsby is the president of The GED Academy and oversees software and curriculum for adult learners and people with educational challenges. For more information, visit Michael can be contacted by email at: or by telephone at 800-460-8150.