Math word problems

The math word problem test contains text-based math problems, hence the name “math word problems”. These problems test your math skills and your ability to filter relevant information. By practicing word problems, you become more familiar with the structure that the stories often have, and you become faster at filtering the information you need to solve the problem. You can use a calculator when working on math word problems.


The examples below will help you familiarize yourself with math word problems. Try to solve the problems yourself before you look at the answer and the explanation below.

Tim surprised his girlfriend by vacuuming the living room. The room is 10 by 6 meters. Fortunately, he does not have to vacuum under the sofa and table, each of which are 2 by 1 meters, just like the kitchen, which is nine times as large as the sofa. Furthermore, he does not have to vacuum underneath the three cabinets, each of which are 5 by 10 decimeters. How many square meters does Tim have to vacuum?
50.5   36.5   37.5   38.6

The correct answer to this problem is 36.5. The room is 10 x 6 = 60 square meters. The sofa and table are 1 x 2 = 2 square meters, so together 4. The kitchen is nine times the size of the sofa and is therefore 9 x 1 x 2 = 18 square meters. The three cabinets are 0.5 by 1 meter, so 0.5 x 1 = 0.5 square meters per cabinet, so together 1.5.
Tim ultimately has to vacuum 60 – 4 – 18 – 1.5 = 36.5 square meters.

Harold goes for a mountain hike. He walks up the steep side, which takes 3 hours, and goes down the less steep side. The less steep side is twice as long, but Harold can walk one and a half times faster than he can going up. The steep side is 6.3 kilometers long. How many hours does the entire hike take Harold?
7   6   5   4.33

The correct answer to this problem is 7 hours. Harold walks up the steep side, which is 6.3 kilometers, in 3 hours, or 2.1 km/h. The less steep side is 2 x 6.3 = 12.6 km long. Here, Harold can walk 1.5 x 2.1 = 3.15 km/h, and it takes 12.6/3.15 = 4 hours. In total Harold walks 3 + 4 = 7 hours.

Stephanie takes the train from Groningen in the morning at 08:16. It is 45 minutes to Zwolle, where she has an 8-minute transfer time to take the two-hour train to Maastricht. This train arrives at the final destination with a 6-minute delay. What time does Stephanie arrive in Maastricht?
11:15   11:09   11:07   12:15

The correct answer to this problem is 11:15. At 08:16 the train leaves Groningen. 45 minutes later at 9:01, she gets off in Zwolle. At 09:09, the train leaves for Maastricht. Two hours later at 11:09, she should arrive in Maastricht, but due to the 6-minute delay Stephanie arrives at 11:15.

Tips for solving math word problems

  • Read the question carefully. In order to prevent not properly filtering the necessary information, you have to read the question properly. The question is almost always at the end of the story. That is why it is often more convenient to first read the question or to scan the story first, read the question, and then go over story again (in your head or on paper).
  • Work step by step. Once you know what information you need to get to the answer, do not rush into solving the problem. The calculation often requires several steps. Look carefully at all the information and think about what you need and when you need it.

Practice makes perfect!

It is very important to practice for a capacity test. If you do not practice, your score may be lower, which often decreases your chances of getting that much-desired job! By practicing, you can solve problems more quickly and efficiently, so that your score will increase.

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