Hints will display for most wrong answers; explanations for most right answers.   You can attempt a question multiple times; it will only be scored correct if you get it right the first time.

I used the official objectives and sample test to construct these questions, but cannot promise that they accurately reflect what’s on the real test.   Some of the sample questions were more convoluted than I could bear to write.   See terms of use.   See the MTEL Practice Test main page to view questions on a particular topic or to download paper practice tests.

MTEL General Curriculum Mathematics Practice


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1

How many lines of reflective symmetry and how many centers of rotational symmetry does the parallelogram depicted below have?

 
A

4 lines of reflective symmetry, 1 center of rotational symmetry.

Hint:
Try cutting out a shape like this one from paper, and fold where you think the lines of reflective symmetry are (or put a mirror there). Do things line up as you thought they would?
B

2 lines of reflective symmetry, 1 center of rotational symmetry.

Hint:
Try cutting out a shape like this one from paper, and fold where you think the lines of reflective symmetry are (or put a mirror there). Do things line up as you thought they would?
C

0 lines of reflective symmetry, 1 center of rotational symmetry.

Hint:
The intersection of the diagonals is a center of rotational symmetry. There are no lines of reflective symmetry, although many people get confused about this fact (best to play with hands on examples to get a feel). Just fyi, the letter S also has rotational, but not reflective symmetry, and it's one that kids often write backwards.
D

2 lines of reflective symmetry, 0 centers of rotational symmetry.

Hint:
Try cutting out a shape like this one from paper. Trace onto another sheet of paper. See if there's a way to rotate the cut out shape (less than a complete turn) so that it fits within the outlines again.
Question 1 Explanation: 
Topic: Analyze geometric transformations (e.g., translations, rotations, reflections, dilations); relate them to concepts of symmetry (Objective 0024).
Question 2

Which of the following points is closest to \( \dfrac{34}{135} \times \dfrac{53}{86}\)?

A

A

Hint:
\(\frac{34}{135} \approx \frac{1}{4}\) and \( \frac{53}{86} \approx \frac {2}{3}\). \(\frac {1}{4}\) of \(\frac {2}{3}\) is small and closest to A.
B

B

Hint:
Estimate with simpler fractions.
C

C

Hint:
Estimate with simpler fractions.
D

D

Hint:
Estimate with simpler fractions.
Question 2 Explanation: 
Topic: Understand meaning and models of operations on fractions (Objective 0019).
Question 3

Here is a student's work on several multiplication problems:

For which of the following problems is this student most likely to get the correct solution, even though he is using an incorrect algorithm?

A

58 x 22

Hint:
This problem involves regrouping, which the student does not do correctly.
B

16 x 24

Hint:
This problem involves regrouping, which the student does not do correctly.
C

31 x 23

Hint:
There is no regrouping with this problem.
D

141 x 32

Hint:
This problem involves regrouping, which the student does not do correctly.
Question 3 Explanation: 
Topic: Analyze computational algorithms (Objective 0019).
Question 4

If two fair coins are flipped, what is the probability that one will come up heads and the other tails?

A
\( \large \dfrac{1}{4}\)
Hint:
Think of the coins as a penny and a dime, and list all possibilities.
B
\( \large \dfrac{1}{3} \)
Hint:
This is a very common misconception. There are three possible outcomes -- both heads, both tails, and one of each -- but they are not equally likely. Think of the coins as a penny and a dime, and list all possibilities.
C
\( \large \dfrac{1}{2}\)
Hint:
The possibilities are HH, HT, TH, TT, and all are equally likely. Two of the four have one of each coin, so the probability is 2/4=1/2.
D
\( \large \dfrac{3}{4}\)
Hint:
Think of the coins as a penny and a dime, and list all possibilities.
Question 4 Explanation: 
Topic: Calculate the probabilities of simple and compound events and of independent and dependent events (Objective 0026).
Question 5

Use the expression below to answer the question that follows.

                 \( \large \dfrac{\left( 4\times {{10}^{3}} \right)\times \left( 3\times {{10}^{4}} \right)}{6\times {{10}^{6}}}\)

Which of the following is equivalent to the expression above?

A

2

Hint:
\(10^3 \times 10^4=10^7\), and note that if you're guessing when the answers are so closely related, you're generally better off guessing one of the middle numbers.
B

20

Hint:
\( \dfrac{\left( 4\times {{10}^{3}} \right)\times \left( 3\times {{10}^{4}} \right)}{6\times {{10}^{6}}}=\dfrac {12 \times {{10}^{7}}}{6\times {{10}^{6}}}=\)\(2 \times {{10}^{1}}=20 \)
C

200

Hint:
\(10^3 \times 10^4=10^7\)
D

2000

Hint:
\(10^3 \times 10^4=10^7\), and note that if you're guessing when the answers are so closely related, you're generally better off guessing one of the middle numbers.
Question 5 Explanation: 
Topics: Scientific notation, exponents, simplifying fractions (Objective 0016, although overlaps with other objectives too).
Question 6

A family has four children.  What is the probability that two children are girls and two are boys?  Assume the the probability of having a boy (or a girl) is 50%.

A
\( \large \dfrac{1}{2}\)
Hint:
How many different configurations are there from oldest to youngest, e.g. BGGG? How many of them have 2 boys and 2 girls?
B
\( \large \dfrac{1}{4}\)
Hint:
How many different configurations are there from oldest to youngest, e.g. BGGG? How many of them have 2 boys and 2 girls?
C
\( \large \dfrac{1}{5}\)
Hint:
Some configurations are more probable than others -- i.e. it's more likely to have two boys and two girls than all boys. Be sure you are weighting properly.
D
\( \large \dfrac{3}{8}\)
Hint:
There are two possibilities for each child, so there are \(2 \times 2 \times 2 \times 2 =16\) different configurations, e.g. from oldest to youngest BBBG, BGGB, GBBB, etc. Of these configurations, there are 6 with two boys and two girls (this is the combination \(_{4}C_{2}\) or "4 choose 2"): BBGG, BGBG, BGGB, GGBB, GBGB, and GBBG. Thus the probability is 6/16=3/8.
Question 6 Explanation: 
Topic: Apply knowledge of combinations and permutations to the computation of probabilities (Objective 0026).
Question 7

Which of the following is the equation of a linear function?

A
\( \large y={{x}^{2}}+2x+7\)
Hint:
This is a quadratic function.
B
\( \large y={{2}^{x}}\)
Hint:
This is an exponential function.
C
\( \large y=\dfrac{15}{x}\)
Hint:
This is an inverse function.
D
\( \large y=x+(x+4)\)
Hint:
This is a linear function, y=2x+4, it's graph is a straight line with slope 2 and y-intercept 4.
Question 7 Explanation: 
Topic: Distinguish between linear and nonlinear functions (Objective 0022).
Question 8

Which of the following is closest to the height of a college student in centimeters?

A

1.6 cm

Hint:
This is more the height of a Lego toy college student -- less than an inch!
B

16 cm

Hint:
Less than knee high on most college students.
C

160 cm

Hint:
Remember, a meter stick (a little bigger than a yard stick) is 100 cm. Also good to know is that 4 inches is approximately 10 cm.
D

1600 cm

Hint:
This college student might be taller than some campus buildings!
Question 8 Explanation: 
Topic: Estimate and calculate measurements using customary, metric, and nonstandard units of measurement (Objective 0023).
Question 9

The letters A, B, and C represent digits (possibly equal) in the twelve digit number x=111,111,111,ABC.  For which values of A, B, and C is x divisible by 40?

A
\( \large A = 3, B = 2, C=0\)
Hint:
Note that it doesn't matter what the first 9 digits are, since 1000 is divisible by 40, so DEF,GHI,JKL,000 is divisible by 40 - we need to check the last 3.
B
\( \large A = 0, B = 0, C=4\)
Hint:
Not divisible by 10, since it doesn't end in 0.
C
\( \large A = 4, B = 2, C=0\)
Hint:
Divisible by 10 and by 4, but not by 40, as it's not divisible by 8. Look at 40 as the product of powers of primes -- 8 x 5, and check each. To check 8, either check whether 420 is divisible by 8, or take ones place + twice tens place + 4 * hundreds place = 18, which is not divisible by 8.
D
\( \large A =1, B=0, C=0\)
Hint:
Divisible by 10 and by 4, but not by 40, as it's not divisible by 8. Look at 40 as the product of powers of primes -- 8 x 5, and check each. To check 8, either check whether 100 is divisible by 8, or take ones place + twice tens place + 4 * hundreds place = 4, which is not divisible by 8.
Question 9 Explanation: 
Topic: Understand divisibility rules and why they work (Objective 018).
Question 10

Use the samples of a student's work below to answer the question that follows:

\( \large \dfrac{2}{3}\times \dfrac{3}{4}=\dfrac{4\times 2}{3\times 3}=\dfrac{8}{9}\) \( \large \dfrac{2}{5}\times \dfrac{7}{7}=\dfrac{7\times 2}{5\times 7}=\dfrac{2}{5}\) \( \large \dfrac{7}{6}\times \dfrac{3}{4}=\dfrac{4\times 7}{6\times 3}=\dfrac{28}{18}=\dfrac{14}{9}\)

Which of the following best describes the mathematical validity of the algorithm the student is using?

A

It is not valid. It never produces the correct answer.

Hint:
In the middle example,the answer is correct.
B

It is not valid. It produces the correct answer in a few special cases, but it‘s still not a valid algorithm.

Hint:
Note that this algorithm gives a/b divided by c/d, not a/b x c/d, but some students confuse multiplication and cross-multiplication. If a=0 or if c/d =1, division and multiplication give the same answer.
C

It is valid if the rational numbers in the multiplication problem are in lowest terms.

Hint:
Lowest terms is irrelevant.
D

It is valid for all rational numbers.

Hint:
Can't be correct as the first and last examples have the wrong answers.
Question 10 Explanation: 
Topic: Analyze Non-Standard Computational Algorithms (Objective 0019).
Question 11

Which of the lists below is in order from least to greatest value?

A
\( \large -0.044,\quad -0.04,\quad 0.04,\quad 0.044\)
Hint:
These are easier to compare if you add trailing zeroes (this is finding a common denominator) -- all in thousandths, -0.044, -0.040,0 .040, 0.044. The middle two numbers, -0.040 and 0.040 can be modeled as owing 4 cents and having 4 cents. The outer two numbers are owing or having a bit more.
B
\( \large -0.04,\quad -0.044,\quad 0.044,\quad 0.04\)
Hint:
0.04=0.040, which is less than 0.044.
C
\( \large -0.04,\quad -0.044,\quad 0.04,\quad 0.044\)
Hint:
-0.04=-0.040, which is greater than \(-0.044\).
D
\( \large -0.044,\quad -0.04,\quad 0.044,\quad 0.04\)
Hint:
0.04=0.040, which is less than 0.044.
Question 11 Explanation: 
Topic: Ordering decimals and integers (Objective 0017).
Question 12

Which of the lists below contains only irrational numbers?

A
\( \large\pi , \quad \sqrt{6},\quad \sqrt{\dfrac{1}{2}}\)
B
\( \large\pi , \quad \sqrt{9}, \quad \pi +1\)
Hint:
\( \sqrt{9}=3\)
C
\( \large\dfrac{1}{3},\quad \dfrac{5}{4},\quad \dfrac{2}{9}\)
Hint:
These are all rational.
D
\( \large-3,\quad 14,\quad 0\)
Hint:
These are all rational.
Question 12 Explanation: 
Topic: Identifying rational and irrational numbers (Objective 0016).
Question 13

Use the expression below to answer the question that follows.

                 \(\large \dfrac{\left( 155 \right)\times \left( 6,124 \right)}{977}\)

Which of the following is the best estimate of the expression above?

A

100

Hint:
6124/977 is approximately 6.
B

200

Hint:
6124/977 is approximately 6.
C

1,000

Hint:
6124/977 is approximately 6. 155 is approximately 150, and \( 6 \times 150 = 3 \times 300 = 900\), so this answer is closest.
D

2,000

Hint:
6124/977 is approximately 6.
Question 13 Explanation: 
Topics: Estimation, simplifying fractions (Objective 0016).
Question 14

The expression \( \large {{7}^{-4}}\cdot {{8}^{-6}}\) is equal to which of the following?

A
\( \large \dfrac{8}{{{\left( 56 \right)}^{4}}}\)
Hint:
The bases are whole numbers, and the exponents are negative. How can the numerator be 8?
B
\( \large \dfrac{64}{{{\left( 56 \right)}^{4}}}\)
Hint:
The bases are whole numbers, and the exponents are negative. How can the numerator be 64?
C
\( \large \dfrac{1}{8\cdot {{\left( 56 \right)}^{4}}}\)
Hint:
\(8^{-6}=8^{-4} \times 8^{-2}\)
D
\( \large \dfrac{1}{64\cdot {{\left( 56 \right)}^{4}}}\)
Question 14 Explanation: 
Topics: Laws of exponents (Objective 0019).
Question 15

At a school fundraising event, people can buy a ticket to spin a spinner like the one below.  The region that the spinner lands in tells which, if any, prize the person wins.

If 240 people buy tickets to spin the spinner, what is the best estimate of the number of keychains that will be given away?

A

40

Hint:
"Keychain" appears on the spinner twice.
B

80

Hint:
The probability of getting a keychain is 1/3, and so about 1/3 of the time the spinner will win.
C

100

Hint:
What is the probability of winning a keychain?
D

120

Hint:
That would be the answer for getting any prize, not a keychain specifically.
Question 15 Explanation: 
Topic: I would call this topic expected value, which is not listed on the objectives. This question is very similar to one on the sample test. It's not a good question in that it's oversimplified (a more difficult and interesting question would be something like, "The school bought 100 keychains for prizes, what is the probability that they will run out before 240 people play?"). In any case, I believe the objective this is meant for is, "Recognize the difference between experimentally and theoretically determined probabilities in real-world situations. (Objective 0026)." This is not something easily assessed with multiple choice .
Question 16

The picture below shows identical circles drawn on a piece of paper.  The rectangle represents an index card that is blocking your view of \( \dfrac{3}{5}\) of the circles on the paper.  How many circles are covered by the rectangle?

A

4

Hint:
The card blocks more than half of the circles, so this number is too small.
B

5

Hint:
The card blocks more than half of the circles, so this number is too small.
C

8

Hint:
The card blocks more than half of the circles, so this number is too small.
D

12

Hint:
2/5 of the circles or 8 circles are showing. Thus 4 circles represent 1/5 of the circles, and \(4 \times 5=20\) circles represent 5/5 or all the circles. Thus 12 circles are hidden.
Question 16 Explanation: 
Topic: Models of Fractions (Objective 0017)
Question 17

The equation \( \large F=\frac{9}{5}C+32\) is used to convert a temperature measured in Celsius to the equivalent Farentheit temperature.

A patient's temperature increased by 1.5° Celcius.  By how many degrees Fahrenheit did her temperature increase?

A

1.5°

Hint:
Celsius and Fahrenheit don't increase at the same rate.
B

1.8°

Hint:
That's how much the Fahrenheit temp increases when the Celsius temp goes up by 1 degree.
C

2.7°

Hint:
Each degree increase in Celsius corresponds to a \(\dfrac{9}{5}=1.8\) degree increase in Fahrenheit. Thus the increase is 1.8+0.9=2.7.
D

Not enough information.

Hint:
A linear equation has constant slope, which means that every increase of the same amount in one variable, gives a constant increase in the other variable. It doesn't matter what temperature the patient started out at.
Question 17 Explanation: 
Topic: Interpret the meaning of the slope and the intercepts of a linear equation that models a real-world situation (Objective 0022).
Question 18

The Venn Diagram below gives data on the number of seniors, athletes, and vegetarians in the student body at a college:

How many students at the college are seniors who are not vegetarians?

A
\( \large 137\)
Hint:
Doesn't include the senior athletes who are not vegetarians.
B
\( \large 167\)
C
\( \large 197\)
Hint:
That's all seniors, including vegetarians.
D
\( \large 279\)
Hint:
Includes all athletes who are not vegetarians, some of whom are not seniors.
Question 18 Explanation: 
Topic: Venn Diagrams (Objective 0025)
Question 19

Below is a pictorial representation of \(2\dfrac{1}{2}\div \dfrac{2}{3}\):

Which of the following is the best description of how to find the quotient from the picture?

A

The quotient is \(3\dfrac{3}{4}\). There are 3 whole blocks each representing \(\dfrac{2}{3}\) and a partial block composed of 3 small rectangles. The 3 small rectangles represent \(\dfrac{3}{4}\) of \(\dfrac{2}{3}\).

B

The quotient is \(3\dfrac{1}{2}\). There are 3 whole blocks each representing \(\dfrac{2}{3}\) and a partial block composed of 3 small rectangles. The 3 small rectangles represent \(\dfrac{3}{6}\) of a whole, or \(\dfrac{1}{2}\).

Hint:
We are counting how many 2/3's are in
2 1/2: the unit becomes 2/3, not 1.
C

The quotient is \(\dfrac{4}{15}\). There are four whole blocks separated into a total of 15 small rectangles.

Hint:
This explanation doesn't make much sense. Probably you are doing "invert and multiply," but inverting the wrong thing.
D

This picture cannot be used to find the quotient because it does not show how to separate \(2\dfrac{1}{2}\) into equal sized groups.

Hint:
Study the measurement/quotative model of division. It's often very useful with fractions.
Question 19 Explanation: 
Topic: Recognize and analyze pictorial representations of number operations. (Objective 0019).
Question 20

Here is a mental math strategy for computing 26 x 16:

Step 1: 100 x 16 = 1600

Step 2: 25 x 16 = 1600 ÷· 4 = 400

Step 3: 26 x 16 = 400 + 16 = 416

Which property best justifies Step 3 in this strategy?

A

Commutative Property.

Hint:
For addition, the commutative property is \(a+b=b+a\) and for multiplication it's \( a \times b = b \times a\).
B

Associative Property.

Hint:
For addition, the associative property is \((a+b)+c=a+(b+c)\) and for multiplication it's \((a \times b) \times c=a \times (b \times c)\)
C

Identity Property.

Hint:
0 is the additive identity, because \( a+0=a\) and 1 is the multiplicative identity because \(a \times 1=a\). The phrase "identity property" is not standard.
D

Distributive Property.

Hint:
\( (25+1) \times 16 = 25 \times 16 + 1 \times 16 \). This is an example of the distributive property of multiplication over addition.
Question 20 Explanation: 
Topic: Analyze and justify mental math techniques, by applying arithmetic properties such as commutative, distributive, and associative (Objective 0019). Note that it's hard to write a question like this as a multiple choice question -- worthwhile to understand why the other steps work too.
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