Mental Arithmetic Test

During the numerical part of the capacity test, your calculation skills are often tested. In the mental arithmetic test, you will be given different math problems and you cannot use a calculator. You are therefore dependent on mental calculations. In order to ensure that you quickly do these math problems in your head, it is very useful to practice them. This enables you to become familiar with the type of mental calculation problems that you may encounter and to develop a strategy for quickly and properly solving them. You are often permitted to have a piece of paper and a pencil or a pen when working on these problems. If this is allowed, be sure to use it! This often makes it easier to solve the problems.

Example problems

In order to familiarize yourself with the types of problems you may encounter on the mental arithmetic test, a number of examples are given below. Try to solve the problems yourself before you look at the answer and the explanation below.

Solve this equation
-25 + -25 = ?
50    25    0   -25   -50 

The correct answer to this problem is -50. When doing addition with a + and then a negative number, the + actually disappears. What you’re actually looking at is -25 – 25. This is -50.

Solve the equation if X = 7
Y = 5X + 7
34   36   38   40   42

The correct answer to this problem is 42. In this problem, you are asked to replace X with the number 7. When we do this, the problem becomes 5*7 + 7 = Y. This is 35 + 7 = 42.

Which number cannot evenly divide the solution of this equation?
55 + 7 + 10 = …
2   4   6   8  10 

The correct answer to this problem is 10. In this problem, you are not being asked to solve the equation; you are being asked which number cannot evenly divide the solution to this equation. First, we have to solve the equation. This is 72. If we divide this by 2, 4, 6, or 8, we get whole numbers. However, if we divide 72 by 10, we get 7.2. This is not a whole number and is considered an indicator that the solution to the equation cannot be evenly divided by the number used, in this case 10.

Tips for solving math problems

  • Work towards an answer step by step. Although calculation problems are often fairly straightforward, they frequently require several steps. Write out these steps if you can have a notepad and do not rush to find the answer all at once. This often takes more time than dividing the assignment into steps that are much simpler. After all, 12×45 is rather difficult to solve without breaking it down, but calculating 10×45 and 2×45 and then adding these outcomes together is a lot easier and faster.
  • Use the method that works for you. For example, do you work better with the numerical method (writing the amounts vertically to add them up instead of horizontally)? Do you work better by writing out each individual step? Do what works for you! You will not be judged on the method you use to solve the equations, only on the answers you calculate using your method.
  • Know the calculation rules. In equations with multiple symbols (plus, minus, divided by, times, etc.) you can sometimes get to the wrong answer if you do not know which part of the equation you need to solve first, the order of operations.  The order of operations for equations is as follows: parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction. A good mnemonic for remembering this is: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally!

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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