Can You Pass This Math IQ Quiz?

By: Torrance Grey

Can You Pass This Math IQ Quiz?
Image: Alberto Guglielmi/ Blend Images/gettyimages

About This Quiz

Math: It's a word to strike fear into the hearts of many. But this much-maligned school subject is actually the mother of all the sciences -- none of them could exist without it -- and it's also very important to everyday life. Let's face it,  America has a double standard when it comes to illiteracy and "innumeracy." No one would be proud of a friend who said, "I hate books; I can barely read, and never do it if I don't have to." Yet we readily give ourselves and other people a pass for not knowing the most basic mathematic concepts, ones that allow us to calculate a 15 percent tip on a restaurant bill or figure out how many gallons of gas we'll need for a road trip. 

Where do you fall on this spectrum? To help you figure it out, we've created a quiz covering concepts from high school math classes, mainly algebra and geometry. You won't need a calculator for this one -- and, honestly, shouldn't use one -- though in places a pencil and paper might be handy. 

Are you ready to stare down the dragon of your school days, and proudly prove your "numeracy"? Sharpen up your No. 2 pencil and get to it!

Which of these is a prime number?
5
A prime number is only divisible by itself and 1. Other prime numbers include 7, 11 and 17. They get rarer the farther you get from zero.
15
21
2 cubed

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In its most basic definition, "x" in algebra stands for what?
a decimal
a rational number
a positive number
an unknown number
"X" is an unknown number. In some equations, other letters may be pressed into service as other unknowns -- but "x" is always the first choice. It's where we get phrases like "X factor" or titles like "The X Files."

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If 6x - 9 = 25, what is "x"?
4
5
6
Six times six equals 36, minus 9 is 25. This is pretty simple algebra.
25

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Which of these is one-third expressed as a decimal?
.111
.333
Technically, the 3s should go on forever. This is because 1 can't be evenly divided by 3. Yet if you're dividing a cake into thirds, you can do it perfectly evenly. (Don't think about this too long; your brain will melt).
.033
3/10

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Eighty percent expressed as a fraction is ...
1/8
2/4
4/5
This would be easier to recognize as "8/10," which we could have easily used instead. But they're the exact same thing.
10/18

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What is the top number of a fraction called?
the denominator
the numerator
Fractions consist of a numerator and a denominator. Fun fact: "denominator" has taken on a meaning in everyday English, in the expression "the common denominator," meaning something that unites seemingly different things or people. "Numerator" has no such casual use.
the qualifier
there is no name for this

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In geometry, angles are measured in _____.
degrees
"Degree" is a flexible word in the English language. We also use it to measure heat, to put a ranking on academic achievement (a master's degree), and to describe an undefined "certain amount" of something ("If you had even a degree of sympathy ...") And, of course, they're vital to geometry.
points
sines
cosines

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The interior angles of a triangle always measure up to ____ degrees.
45
90
180
You'll find this question on many a basic geometry test. If one angle is 45, and the other is 90, then you know the third angle is 45 degrees.
270

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Which of these are also measured in degrees?
circles
Circles are perfectly round, but mathematicians think of them as implicitly divided up into any number of angles, from the center to any two points on the circumference. This is how we get compass readings, from 1 degree to 360 (or 0 to 359, if you prefer to count that way).
waves
points
exponents

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A line between any two points on a circle is called a/an _____.
chord
The circle's diameter counts as a chord. The radius does not, because it emanates out from the center point of the circle.
link
parallel
x-y line

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What is 4 cubed?
8
16
64
"Cubed" is the same way of saying "to the power of 3." 4 times 4 is 16, times 4 again is 64.
128

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Squares and cubes are part of a system called _______.
number rationality
number irrationality
artistic notation
scientific notation
Science often deals with very large numbers, and scientific notation makes them easier to manage. For example, in astronomy, it's easier to represent vast distances in light years using 10 and a superscript number than to write it out.

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In scientific notation, the number in superscript is called the ______.
deponent
exponent
The word "exponent" has been hijacked by people who enjoy superlatives. "This stock is about to take off exponentially!" or "After I started reading Jordan Peterson, I saw exponential growth in my personal life!" Note to everyone: "exponential" does not just mean "a lot."
proponent
reponent

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In geometry, what is the minimum size of a point?
one millionth of a degree
one millionth of a centimeter
one millionth of a line
This is undefined.
Euclid said it best: "A point is that which has no part." He meant it was a theoretical concept. Likewise, a "line" in geometry has no specified measurement, either.

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How many points do you need to define a line?
one
two
From a single point, you could move off in any direction. But just one other point, and suddenly you've got a line -- you can predict its path indefinitely. Just two points! Like a designer once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate style."
three
four

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If one interior angle of a triangle is 75, what is the sum of the other two angles?
90
105
We covered this in an earlier question: The sum of the three interior angles of a triangle always add up to 180 degrees. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention!
125
170

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A 122-degree angle is an _____ angle.
acute
exterior
obtuse
Angles are classed as "acute" (less than 90 degrees) and "obtuse." Fun fact: Outside math, these words are generalized to mean "sharp" and "dull." At the emergency room, you might be asked if your pain is "acute." In the dating world, if you can't see that someone's just not that into you, you're being "obtuse."
none of these

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An angle that is exactly 90 degrees is called a/an ______ angle.
right
A right angle is a 90-degree angle. It's a vital concept to engineering and architecture.
acute-right
obtuse-right
either #2 or #3

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What is the maximum an obtuse angle can be?
100 degrees
179 degress
Once an angle goes past 179 degrees to 180, well, it's a line. Beyond that, and it's an angle from the other direction (it might help to actually draw this on a piece of paper, to visualize it).
270 degrees
360 degrees

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What number does the Greek letter "pi" represent?
1
3.14
The letter "pi" is a number used to determine the circumference or the area of a circle. The one for area is better known: A = pi times r(squared).
7.28
zero

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In the equation A = pi times r(squared), what does r stand for?
rabine
radius
The radius of a circle is half the diameter. Put another way, it's a line from the center of the circle to any point on the circumference.
relativity
all of these

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A chord going directly across a circle at its widest point (e.g. 90 to 270) is called the ____.
dianthus
diameter
The diameter is always twice the radius, and therefore can be used to find a circle's area. (Sidenote: If you chose "didjeridoo," wipe that smirk off your face; we know you knew better!)
demeter
didjeridoo

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When you write 8/10 as 4/5, you are reducing it to what?
the lowest common denominator
The denominator is the key here, not the numerator. 5 is the lowest the denominator can go without being split into a fraction/decimal itself. On the other hand, there are plenty of higher denominators possible -- 20, 40, 100. However, reducing fractions to the lowest common denominator is a more common task in math than raising them to a higher common denominator.
a para-decimal
its singletons
the fine print

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What is 81 divided by 8 written as a fraction?
10.125
10 1/8
8 does not divide into 81 evenly, so the answer could be written either as 10 1/8 or as 10.125. These are the same thing.
10 8/10
10/80

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What is 66 percent written as a fraction?
1/3
2/3
66/100
either #2 or #3
Like one-third, two-thirds would go on forever as a decimal: 0.666666 .... As a fraction, either 2/3 or 66/100 gets as close as you reasonably need to get.

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A divisor is ...
a number to be divided
a number that divides another number
In the simple equation 12 /4 = 3, 4 is the divisor. and 12 is the dividend. This is confusing because in everyday life, a "dividend" is the result of something being divided up: "The original investors shared the dividends."
the result of the division

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Which of the numbers in this list -- 1, 2, 11, 12, 121, 122, 212 -- is the median?
11
12
If you picked "219," you were confusing median with "mean," or average. But a median number is just one in the middle of a list. Here, that's 12.
121
the median is not shown, but it's 219

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What number would you divide the sum of this list -- 4, 12, 21, 24, 42 -- by to get the mean?
two
three
four
five
There are five numbers on the list, so you'd divide the sum by five. Or, put another way: 103 divided by 5 equals 20.6. So 20.6 is the mean, or average, in this list.

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Which of these geometric figures can be described as "a triangle with the top cut off"?
a parallelogram
a polygon
a rectangle
a trapezoid
Don't try to slide this definition past a geometry teacher, though. The formal definition is a four-sided polygon with only two parallel sides.

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If x cubed minus 5 equals 22, what is x?
2
3
3 times 3 is 9, times 3 again is 27. Subtract 5 from that, and you're left with 22.
4
5

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In the number 12.37859, which digit is in the hundredths place?
1
2
3
7
This confuses new learners: on the left of a decimal point, the first digit represents single numbers, and the next one left of that is the tenths place. But to the right, the first place is the tenths place, and the next one hundredths. So here, 7 is in the hundredths place.

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Which of these is NOT an integer?
-4
4
1/4
Integers are whole numbers, whether positive or negative, and zero. A fraction cannot be an integer.
0

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A "pie wedge" of area inside a circle, defined by two radii, is called a/an ______.
circangle
anglogram
radian
sector
Frequently borrowed by sci-fi writers, "sector" is part of a circle. It's almost a triangle, but is not, because one side (the part defined by the circle's circumference), is curved.

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What is a number's absolute value?
itself plus one
its distance from zero
Whether the distance is positive or negative doesn't matter. That is, 4 and -4 have the same absolute value.
itself to the power of ten
itself to the power of one hundred

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Which of these is the final digit of pi?
2
6
7
pi never ends
Pi is an irrational number; it goes on forever without repeating patterns. By general agreement, it is represented only as 3.14. Some math lovers pride themselves on being able to recite pi to dozens or hundreds of digits. We do not claim to understand this.

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You Got:
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