The Canadian Forces Aptitude Test (CFAT) is an essential step in the application process for anyone looking to join the Canadian Armed Forces. Among the three sections of the CFAT, the problem solving portion can be one of the more challenging areas for test-takers, especially if math isn’t your strongest subject. However, the good news is that the math required is generally at a high school level. With proper preparation, you can tackle these questions confidently.

**What to Expect in the Problem Solving Section**

The problem solving section of the CFAT tests your ability to think critically and apply mathematical concepts to solve various types of questions. The math level is basic to intermediate, covering several key areas. Let’s break down the main topics you’ll encounter:

**Basic Arithmetic**Expect to solve problems involving simple operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. While this may seem straightforward, the challenge often lies in solving these problems quickly under time pressure. You’ll need to perform mental calculations and ensure accuracy to keep up with the pace of the test.**Example Question:**If 3 notebooks cost $9, how much would 7 notebooks cost?

**Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages**Understanding how to convert between fractions, decimals, and percentages is a critical skill. You’ll also need to know how to apply these concepts in word problems or in problems involving increases or decreases (such as percentage growth or discounts).**Example Question:**If 30% of a number is 60, what is the number?

**Algebra**Basic algebra is another key area, but don’t worry—this won’t be advanced calculus or trigonometry. You’ll primarily be dealing with simple equations where you need to solve for one variable. A strong grasp of algebraic manipulation (e.g., moving terms from one side of an equation to the other) is helpful here.**Example Question:**Solve for x: 3x + 4 = 19

**Word Problems**Word problems test your ability to translate a real-world situation into a mathematical problem. These questions require you to carefully read and extract the key information before applying the appropriate operation. Practice is important because word problems often combine multiple steps, requiring both logical reasoning and numerical skills.**Example Question:**A train travels 180 kilometers in 3 hours. How long will it take the train to travel 240 kilometers at the same speed?

**Ratios and Proportions**Ratios and proportions come up often in the CFAT’s problem-solving section. These questions assess your ability to compare quantities and understand relationships between different sets of numbers. Problems may involve scaling, finding missing values, or working with maps, recipes, and distances.**Example Question:**The ratio of apples to oranges is 4:3. If there are 36 oranges, how many apples are there?

**Basic Geometry**While geometry doesn’t dominate the CFAT, you may still encounter a few questions involving basic shapes, areas, and perimeters. You won’t need to worry about complicated theorems or proofs—just make sure you understand how to calculate areas and perimeters for common shapes like rectangles, triangles, and circles.**Example Question:**What is the area of a rectangle with a length of 5 cm and a width of 3 cm?

**What You Won’t See**

It’s important to note what **won’t** be on the CFAT. You won’t be tested on advanced math topics such as calculus, trigonometry, or advanced statistics. The focus is on problem-solving and practical math skills that reflect real-life situations and military tasks. This makes the CFAT math section more approachable if you brush up on your basic math skills and practice applying them to different types of questions.

**Tips for preparing for the math questions in the CFAT**

**Practice Mental Math**: Since calculators aren’t allowed, being able to quickly perform basic arithmetic in your head is a huge advantage. Practice solving problems without a calculator to improve your speed and accuracy.**Familiarize Yourself with Word Problems**: Word problems require careful reading and logical thinking. Practice breaking down word problems into manageable steps, ensuring you’re extracting the right information before solving.**Review Key Concepts**: Refresh your understanding of core topics like fractions, percentages, and ratios. Don’t just memorize formulas—understand when and how to apply them in different contexts.**Use Timed Practice Tests**: Time management is crucial in the CFAT. By simulating test conditions with timed practice tests, you’ll get used to the pace and pressure, improving both your accuracy and efficiency.**Build Confidence Through Repetition**: The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with the types of questions you’ll encounter. Confidence is key when dealing with time-limited tests, so the more familiar you are with the material, the better you’ll perform.

**Conclusion**

The math in the problem solving section of the CFAT isn’t overly complex, but it does require a solid foundation in basic to intermediate math. By focusing on arithmetic, algebra, word problems, and logical thinking, you can prepare yourself for this section and boost your overall score.

With regular practice and the right strategies, you’ll find that the math portion of the CFAT is both manageable and a great opportunity to practice your problem solving skills.

Start your practice today, try our **free **CFAT practice test.