Negative Numbers and Absolute Values

Negative Numbers

Numbers less than zero are negative numbers. They are represented by putting a “-” in front of a number that represents how much less than zero that number is. For example negative five is -5. Positive numbers (these is the kind of number we use most in our daily lives) normally don’t have anything in front of them, but might have a +.

When you do an operation with a negative, it will sometimes make the result different than if you were doing the operation with two positive numbers. For example, if you multiply a negative number by a positive number, the result will always be negative. The table below explains what the result will be for each operation.

Double Signs

You might encounter two signs in front of a number, for example +(+7) or +(-4). You should simplify these down to one sign. The way to do that is if the signs are the same, make it positive, if different, make it negative.

-(-8) becomes 8 or +8

+(-4) becomes -4

Absolute Values

There might be a question on the GED math test that evaluates your understanding of absolute values. Absolute values are numbers between upright lines (||) and are simply the distance from zero of a number. For example the absolute value of seven, which looks like |7|, is seven. The absolute value of |-7| is also seven.

|187| = 187

|-2964| = 2964

The absolute value of zero is zero.

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22 comments

  1. christy says:

    thank you

  2. Tiffany N. Toth says:

    Are positive and negative numbers usually used in Algebra operations? Are there other operations that they could be used in/for?

    • Ziyi says:

      Yes, both kinds of numbers are used in all sections of the GED math test.

      In some situations you never use negative numbers, such as absolute values and when answering a question that involves finding a difference between two numbers (subtraction).

  3. farnaz says:

    thank you so much, today in my math class, i cld not understand the absolute value, i got it now, thank you so so so much

  4. Brittanie says:

    thanks for the help

  5. maureen says:

    Getting ready for my math test…don know where to start

  6. maureen says:

    How do I pass my math test

  7. LaLa says:

    Thank You so much I want to pass the entrance exam for the lpn program I am not young but that has been my dream so I asked a friend what do I study for the lpn entrance exam and she said the Ged math. so thank you so much for making where I can understand this. LaLa

  8. lookin an dbrosing through here and i came across the calculator, used fot takin the ged math test, i lost where i found it , can any tell me hwere it is. i want to learn how to uses it…

  9. Rebeca says:

    First of all, thank you so much for doing all this! It really helps and makes things seem really simple. I’m using this site and Khan Academy to help me with the GED.

    Also, is everything that we need to know for the test here? I know that you need to know how to solve statistics and probability problems, but I don’t see them here. Unless you used another name for it. If so, please let me know. I’d like to take a look. 🙂

    Thanks again!!

  10. Tanya says:

    THIS site is so helpful, thank you so much for making things easy to understand. I took the math part yesterday for the first time and passed. I have one part left to take and I’M done. THANKS!

  11. nicole says:

    hi i need some needed advice about passing this math part of the ged,i cant seem to understand all of it and i feel like giving up! 🙁 please help with any tips that could be useful for me to hopefully pass finally! thanks!

  12. Karina says:

    571-I-145-200I+(-87)
    -571+I-145+-200I+(-87)
    -571+I-345I+(-87)
    =-1003
    (why is this still a negative,-345???… I thought an absolute value was always positive? Or is this different when we are subtracting all the way across?

  13. camisha says:

    Did you get it I’m still confused

  14. camisha says:

    I need help badly

  15. I absolutely HATE math. Ughhh… but this is pretty helpful. Thanks 😉

  16. Ms Bee says:

    getting ready to take my math portion of the test and I am having the hardest time. I everything else with flying colors I don’t know ehat is wrong. HELP!!!!!!

  17. Shanda says:

    I’m having a dificult time understanding some of the questions on the test.

  18. Kat West says:

    have any of these been updated to 2015/2016 GED test? I’m taking my math GED Ready tomorrow and trying to find any thing that could help

  19. olamide says:

    in all my exam maths was always my problem

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