What Kind of Math Is on the PERT Test?

What Kind of Math Is on the PERT Test?

The Postsecondary Education Readiness Test, or PERT, is used in California colleges and universities to assess students’ level of maths and English. Students can attend regular college classes directly if they get good scores, but if they get bad scores, they must first take the elementary classes.

The PERT test has three sections: Mathematics, Reading, and Writing. The sections do not have a time limit, but there are usually 30 questions that last 45 minutes. All questions are multiple-choice.

The PERT test is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), meaning that if you answer the question correctly, the next question will be more difficult, and if you answer the question incorrectly, the next question will be easier. It is also not possible to correct previous questions.

The mathematical part of the PERT test consists of three parts: pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry. It is not allowed to use the calculator in the test, but it will be provided to test-takers as a pop-up in questions that require the calculator.

In the following section, we take a brief look at the contents of each math section of the PERT test.

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The contents of this part of the test include whole numbers, integers, fractions, decimals, ratios and proportions, probability, and statistics. So in this section, you should be well acquainted with the rules of numbers. Know how to work with statistical data. You should also be able to calculate the probability of an event occurring.


In the algebra section, you must master algebraic laws, different types of equations, algebraic expressions, and how to solve them. In this section, you will encounter concepts such as Word Problems, Inequalities and Functions, Linear Equations, and Systems of Equations. You need to know how Exponents work. You will also encounter Polynomials problems. These polynomials are more complex versions of simple algebraic equations. You must solve them using the Order of Operations method.


Familiarity with the rules of geometry is required to pass most tests, including the PERT Math test. You need to be familiar with concepts such as circumference, circle, and area, types of angles, and triangles. Questions about Coordinate Planes are also included in this section. You are expected to solve an algebraic question through a pair of grid coordinates and the line they create so that you can find the equation for that line.

PERT Math sectionstopicsNumber of questions
#1Pre-AlgebraSimplifying Fractions, Adding and Subtracting Fractions, Multiplying and Dividing Fractions, Adding Mixed Numbers, Subtracting Mixed Numbers, Multiplying and Dividing Mixed Numbers, Dividing Mixed Numbers, Adding and Subtracting Decimals, Multiplying and Dividing Decimals, Comparing Decimals, Rounding Decimals, Factoring Numbers, Greatest Common Factor, Least Common Multiple, Adding and Subtracting Integers, Multiplying and Dividing Integers
Order of Operations, Ordering Integers and Numbers, Integers and Absolute Value, Simplifying Ratios, Proportional Ratios, Similarity and Ratios, Percentage Calculations, Percent Problems, Discount, Tax and Tip, Percent of Increase and Decrease, Simple Interest, Mean, Median, Mode, and Range, Histograms, Pie Graph, Probability Problems, Combinations, and Permutations
#2AlgebraOne-Step Equations, Multi-Step Equations, Graphing Single–Variable Inequalities, One-Step Inequalities, Multi-Step Inequalities, Systems of Equations, Simplifying Variable Expressions, Simplifying Polynomial Expressions, Translate, Phrases into an Algebraic Statement, The Distributive Property, Evaluating One Variable Expression, Evaluating Two Variables Expressions, Combining like Terms, Multiplication Property of Exponents, Division Property of Exponents, Zero and Negative Exponents, Powers of Products and Quotients, Negative Exponents and Negative Bases, Scientific Notation, Radicals, Finding Slope, Graphing Lines Using Standard From, Graphing Lines Using Slope-Intercept Form, Writing Linear Equations, Graphing Linear Inequalities, Finding Midpoint, Finding Distance of Two Points, Function Notation and calculation, Adding and Subtracting Functions, Multiplying and Dividing Functions, Composition of Functions, Polynomials10-12
#3GeometryPythagorean Theorem, Triangles, Polygons, Trapezoids, Circles, Cubes, Rectangular Prism, Cylinder3-5

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Complete List of PERT Math Topics

Fractions and Decimals

Real Numbers and Integers

Proportions, Ratios, and Percent

Algebraic Expressions

Equations and Inequalities

Linear Functions

Exponents and Radicals


Geometry and Solid Figures

Statistics and Probability



Is the PERT Math test hard?

The math part of the PERT test is usually considered to be the most difficult part of the test. In general, this test can be difficult, but with proper preparation, you can be successful in the PERT Math test.

How do I study for the PERT Math? 

How you prepare for the PERT Math test is very important. You can use good prep books to prepare well for the PERT Math test. You can also use online practice tests for further practice after studying the PERT exam courses.

What happens if I fail the PERT test?

A student cannot fail the PERT.

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