No one likes solving math questions under time pressure.

Let alone when your hiring decision depends on your performance in this section.

So on this page, you’re going to learn how to ace the CCAT math test section the fast way and boost your test score.

Let’s get started:

What Should You Expect on the CCAT Math Test Section?

The math section of the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test is the most substantial part of the exam.

If you don’t get enough correct answers here, it will be pretty tough to score high overall (even if you perform well on the other test sections – spatial reasoning, verbal reasoning, and logic).

That’s because there are 17 – 18 numerical questions on the CCAT (out of 50 questions in total). This makes the math portion of the test the largest one.

CCAT’s math questions are split into three different types:

  • Word Problems
  • Number and Letter Series
  • Tables, Charts, and Graphs

Let’s start to get a feel for CCAT’s math questions and go over the question types you’re about to face:

Word Problems

Math word problems are one of the first things you learn at school. Nevertheless, few are the people who would like to reencounter these in their adulthood.

Word problems are the most common math question type on the CCAT. They are divided into two main types:

  1. Basic calculations: word problems that require basic arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratios, averages, percentages, fractions, and more.
  2. Distance/travel problems: word problems involving calculating the distance an object/person will travel at a specific average rate for a given time. The basic formula that’s used in these problems is distance = rate × time.

CCAT’s word problems are presented in the form of a short story and show several answer choices (only one is correct).

Here’s an example of a travel word problem that’s similar in format to a question from the real CCAT:

Mike ran the route between the Town Council and the schoolhouse at a speed of 6 mph and a total time of 50 minutes. Steve drove his car on the same route at a speed of 30 mph. 

How long, in minutes, did it take Steve to complete the distance?

A. 250
B. 150
C. 20
D. 10
E. 135

The correct answer is (D) – 10

According to the question, Mike ran the route at a speed of 6 mph and a total time of 50 minutes.

Steve drove the same rout at a speed of 30 mph. 30 mph is 5 times 6 mph (30/6 = 5). Hence, Steve is 5 times faster than Mike, which means it took him fifth the time it took Mike to complete the same distance. Therefore, to find the number of minutes it took Steve to complete the distance, divide Mike’s time (50 minutes) by 5:

50/5 = 10 minutes

It took Steve 10 minutes to complete the same distance.

Note that it’s important to remember that in ‘Travel questions’ speed and time are inversely related. Therefore, the higher the speed the less time it takes to arrive at a destination.

Also, speed and time relate to each other by the same inverse ratio, which means that if the speed is 5 times higher then the time it takes to arrive at a destination is 5 times less (or 1/5 the time).

Number and Letter Series

In these question types, you must identify the logical rule behind each series and decide which number or letter completes the series.

All number and letter series on the CCAT test share common patterns. Being able to spot the patterns quickly and correctly is critical in answering these questions. And, of course, the more patterns you’re familiar with, the better.

But don’t worry, even if you’re not familiar with any number series patterns, you can study and prepare in advance.

Let’s try a sample number series question, which is similar in difficulty to the questions you’ll see on the actual test:

What would be the next number in the following series?

5 … 20 … 45 … 80 … 125 … ?

A. 92
B. 112
C. 135
D. 180
E. 190

The correct answer is (D) – 180

  5        20       45       80       125      180

5*12    5*22    5*32    5*42    5*52     5*62

The series in this question follows the pattern: 5*n2, while n= 1, 2, 3 …

Tables, Charts, and Graphs

These question types are considered the most difficult numerical questions on the test.

Given enough time, you’d probably answer all of them correctly. The problem is, you don’t have time on the CCAT. That’s why many CCAT test-takers tend to skip these questions as soon as they see them.

Luckily, there are usually no more than three such questions on the CCAT. That said, it’s essential to set some time aside to practice these, so you’ll know what to expect.

Check out the following CCAT table sample question:

The table below shows the number of Enfield Primary School students who received As on the yearly regional tests, divided by subject. In the 3rd grade, what is the average number of students who received an A on a regional test?

ClassMathHistoryScienceArtForeign Language
1st Grade117271018
2nd Grade103274423
3rd Grade4010342719
4th Grade5423102740
5th Grade184432736

A. 29
B. 27
C. 26
D. 19
E. 30

The correct answer is (C) – 26

An average is calculated as the sum of values divided by the number of values.

So, to determine the average number of 3rd-grade students who received an A on a regional test, you must add up the number of all 3rd-grade students who received As on the various regional tests and divide that number by the number of test subjects.

Therefore:

(40 + 10 + 34 + 27 + 19) / 5 =

130 / 5 = 26

The average number of 3rd-grade students who received an A on a regional test is 26.

For more realistic CCAT math practice questions (as well as other CCAT question types), visit the CCAT sample test on this page.

Why It’s Important to Practice Your Math Skills Before You Take the CCAT

Even if you have solid math skills and you excelled in all your math classes at high school, it’s still crucial that you prep for this section.

There are three reasons for that:

  • Speed is everything on the CCAT. This means that you don’t have the luxury of taking your time with these math questions. That’s why learning how to solve numerical questions lightning fast is a must to ace this test.
  • As you’ve seen above, there are several different numerical question types on the test. Unfortunately, chances are high that you have long forgotten some of their solving techniques. So, it’s in your best interest to brush up on your math skills, just to be on the safe side.
  • Stepping into such a crucial test without knowing exactly what question types to expect is a risky decision. Because even if you’re a math genius, you can still earn some extra points just by knowing what kind of questions you’ll get.

Why Does Your Hiring Company Care About Your Math Skills?

Math problems measure additional skills other than traditional math skills. They also measure your problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.

And these are considered in-demand skills that many employers, such as the huge Vista Equity Partners as well as other companies that use the CCAT, seek in their candidates.

Because even if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t require math skills per se, lacking basic numerical skills can affect how you analyze data and even understand basic computer functions (Excel, anyone?).

Best Practice Resources to Help You Ace the CCAT Math Questions

On this page, we’ve shown you several CCAT math sample questions and their solving techniques. But, if you’d like to take your prep to the next level, here’s the best CCAT practice option available in 2023:

JobTestPrep’s CCAT practice includes 5 full-length (50 questions – 15 minutes) CCAT simulations and 27 dedicated math drills. All questions come with step-by-step explanations.

This includes solving tips and shortcut techniques for every math question, to help increase your solving speed and accuracy.

Additionally, there’s a free CCAT sample test to give you a taste of the real exam.

Get a free CCAT sample test and full-length simulations to help you pass the test.

5 Proven Tips to Quickly Improve Your Math Skills and Boost Your CCAT Score

  1. Guessing does not take off points, so if you find yourself stuck too long on a question, try to guess the answer. It’s certainly better than leaving it blank, especially when you can’t go back to previous questions on the test.
  2. In most CCAT math questions, you’ll be able to choose the correct answer by eliminating other answer choices while you’re doing your calculations. This method will save you a lot of time since you won’t need to verify that the remaining answer is the correct one.
  3. You’re not allowed to use a calculator on the CCAT. But, you are permitted to use scrap paper for you calculations. That said, jotting down on your scrap paper may cause you to lose precious seconds. So, if it’s possible, try to master your mental math skills, at least for basic calculations.
  4. Brush up on your arithmetic skills before you even solve one practice question. That’s because rusty arithmetic and calculation skills may cause you to lose time on the test or even answer relatively easy questions wrong.
  5. Be aware that the CCAT math questions increase in difficulty throughout the test. So, try to work super-fast at the beginning and slow down later on harder questions.