Using Algebra to Solve Word Problems

On the GED math test you might need to translate a word problem into an algebraic equation in order to arrive at the correct answer. The first thing you should do, as always, is determine what the question is asking you. You then make that the variable of the equation, then solve for the variable.

Here’s an example question:

Neko and Ruth are both waitresses. Last night Ruth made twice as much as Neko and both girls together made \$170. How much did Neko earn last night?

Here’s an example way to solve it:

Let n be what the question is asking, how much Neko earned. Since Ruth earned twice as much, the amount she earned will be 2n. The equation will look like this:

n + 2n = 170

Now you just need to solve for n.

Share and Enjoy:

• antwon

August 19, 2012 at 2:50 am

that was the first time i seen a word problem solve like that and it help a great deal considering thats my weak point in math thanks!!!!!

• Ziyi

August 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

No problem. Thanks for the comments! I’ll try to add more examples to the site.

• Maurice

October 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

How did you get 3.

• Ziyi

January 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

The 3n comes from adding n + 2n. Since we want to find what n is we need to get it on one side of the equation by itself. This means getting rid of the 3 next to the n. To get rid of a number next to a letter in algebra you divide by that number to both sides. So divide by three.

• nicole saunders

February 26, 2013 at 2:01 am

So the n is 1 always,or just in this problem?

always

• Ziyi

July 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Here we find n to be 56.67. In a different problem the variable (n here) could end up being anything. We find out what it is when we solve the equation.

• Deborah

March 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I am taking my GED and working word problems is the hardest for me besides some of the other problems. I am a slow learner can you tell me the easy and best way to do word problems cause I believe that is what’s on most of the test.
Thank You

• zoe

March 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

thank you soooooooo much this website is so helpful. i am absolutly terrible with math and i always have been. i have never been able to understand math and i want to take the GED ASAP before december because its changing in january. the math part is the part i am terrified about. so thank you. im on this website all day everyday haha.

• anna escobar

May 17, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I still don’t know how u got the 3 this is hard can u help

• Ziyi

July 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

The 3 comes from adding 2n plus 1n = 3n. To find n we need to get it by itself so we divide by 3.

• Anonymous

November 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm

The 3 comes from 2n+n=3n. here is the problem they ask you for : They said Ruth made twice as much as Neko( that mean Ruth=2 time that Neko made .R=2N). And they said both Ruth and Neko made \$170 (that mean Ruth +Neko =\$170). Here you can get from the information on the top :
R=2N
R+N=\$170
N=?
R+N=\$170 ,while R=2N.
So we got 2N+N=\$170
2N+N=3N ,so 3N=170 ,so N=170/3 =\$56.66666 or\$ 56.67

• jessica

June 25, 2013 at 1:26 am

thank u so much this is the best ged study website I have found and I love it. I only have the math to pass and I hope with your help I will. thank u again.

• CatreshaP.

July 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

Oh want to say , I,ve found that the science section has physics included in the test, I,m not all that kean to physics,but more with earth science.Can you send me some strategies on it? Or are there sections in the math that can give me some insight ? Need assistance ASAP, ðŸ™‚ thanks

• leticia

August 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I would like see, if some one can help me to solve this,
1/2
+3/4 12 1/2
– 53/8

• CatreshaP.

September 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

For the first problem 1/2+3/4=10/8 which converts to 0.8 or 1.25 , Note: you just have to know your conversions of the fractions to get your answers. Also I,m just going off of what you wrote in your comment,so still get a second opinion. Hope that I helped ðŸ™‚

• Catresha

September 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Also working on the second one for you ðŸ™‚

• CatreshaP.

September 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Ok this is what I have: 12 1/2- 53/8=12 98/16 or 6.125 ,again Note:not a fractions pro ,so get a second opinion on it. Also I do know that in this section of fractions you need to know:Subtracting Mixed Numbers & Regrouping Mixed Numbers.

• CatreshaP.

September 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Hi leticia , I contacted Ziyi who’s a pro in this area. He,s gonna get back to me on it soon,& you should see the answers ,&how to solve the problems in the Adding&Subtracting Fractions area. ðŸ™‚

• CatreshaP.

September 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Hi I have the answers for your two problems. The answer for the first one is 1 1/4. The answer for the second one is 53 7/8 . If you have the calculator(casio-fx260) the fraction key is just below the shift key. You will still need to know how to workout the prob on your own,just incase you dont have one around,or they dont let you use it @ the testing site

• demaura

October 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

hello im a 40 yr old whos been out of school since 1989 and ive decided to take the ged test next month, my weakest subject is math and i knw nothing, especially algbra and gemotry and also having problems with word problems, i really need some help. dont knw where to start.im taking pretest on this website called 4test.com. how can u help me so i can pass this math

• israelnelson3@ymail.com

November 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I have passed every part of the Ged test. I need help in math to complete my final stage. If there is anything that your company can do for me please feel free to contact me as soon as possible. I need your help before the new year begin, and this year end. If I don’t finalize my test scores before December 31, 2013, I will have to start all over.

• wander33

December 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm

You have to finalize by Dec 13 which is in two days! There will be no testing afterwards.

• Anonymous

December 19, 2013 at 12:56 am

Correction,he/she has till tomarrow?Which is the 19th of December.

• Alexandra Edlin

December 19, 2013 at 12:58 am

Correction,he/she has until tomarrow ,to finish the test.Which is Dec.19th 2013