Basic Maths Questions for Interviews Questions with Sample Answers

When it comes to job interviews, the emphasis often leans towards behavioral questions or industry-specific queries. However, basic maths questions can sometimes catch candidates off guard, especially if the role requires data analysis, financial acumen, or logical reasoning. This guide will arm you with the kind of basic maths questions you might encounter in a job interview, regardless of the industry.

So, whether you’re applying for a role in finance, engineering, data science, or even fields that aren’t traditionally associated with maths, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of common basic maths questions, complete with explanations and sample answers to help you prepare.

Top 19 Basic Maths Questions for Interviews

Before we dive into the questions, let’s clarify that the difficulty and nature of the maths questions you’ll encounter can vary depending on the job you’re applying for. However, a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles can only work in your favor.

1. What is the square root of 256?

This question tests your understanding of square roots, a fundamental concept in mathematics. Square roots are crucial for tasks that involve area calculations or any form of geometric modeling.

Sample Answer

“The square root of 256 is 16.”

2. Can you solve 2x – 4 = 10?

This simple algebraic equation assesses your ability to isolate variables and solve equations, a key skill in problem-solving scenarios.

Sample Answer

“To find the value of x, you would add 4 to both sides of the equation to get 2x = 14. Then divide both sides by 2 to get x = 7.”

3. What is 25% of 200?

Percentages come up frequently in roles that involve finance, data analysis, or even simple day-to-day tasks like calculating discounts.

Sample Answer

“25% of 200 is 50.”

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4. How do you calculate the area of a circle?

The question gauges your knowledge of geometric formulas, particularly your understanding of how to calculate areas in different shapes.

Sample Answer

“The area of a circle is calculated using the formula ( \pi r^2 ), where ( \pi ) is approximately 3.14159 and ( r ) is the radius of the circle.”

5. What are prime numbers?

Understanding prime numbers can be essential for roles involving encryption, data security, or algorithm development.

Sample Answer

“Prime numbers are natural numbers greater than 1 that have only two distinct positive divisors: one and themselves. For example, the first six prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13.”

6. How do you calculate the average of a set of numbers?

Averages are often used in data analysis to give a ‘central value’ for a set of numbers, providing a quick snapshot of a data set.

Sample Answer

“To calculate the average of a set of numbers, you sum up all the numbers in the set and then divide by the count of numbers. The formula is ( \text{Average} = \frac{\text{Sum of numbers}}{\text{Count of numbers}} ).”

7. What is the difference between median and mode?

Both median and mode are measures of central tendency in statistics, and understanding these can be crucial for data analysis roles.

Sample Answer

“The median is the middle number in a data set when the numbers are all arranged in order. The mode is the number that appears most frequently in a data set.”

8. How do you convert fractions to decimals?

This question tests your understanding of basic number theory and conversions, a foundational skill for anyone working with data or calculations.

Sample Answer

“To convert a fraction to a decimal, you divide the numerator by the denominator. For example, ( \frac{1}{4} ) would convert to 0.25.”

9. What is the formula for compound interest?

Understanding the concept of compound interest is crucial for roles in finance, investment, or any field requiring long-term financial planning.

Sample Answer

“The formula for compound interest is ( A = P(1 + \frac{r}{n})^{nt} ), where ( A ) is the amount of money accumulated after ( n ) years, ( P ) is the principal amount, ( r ) is the annual interest rate, ( n ) is the number of times that interest is compounded per year, and ( t ) is the time the money is invested for in years.”

10. What are Fibonacci numbers?

Fibonacci numbers are a sequence where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. They are often encountered in algorithms and data structures.

Sample Answer

“The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, starting from 0 and 1. The sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on.”

11. What is the Py

thagorean theorem?

The Pythagorean theorem is a staple in geometry and trigonometry. It’s often used in various engineering tasks or anything that involves distance measurement.

Sample Answer

“The Pythagorean theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. The formula is ( c^2 = a^2 + b^2 ), where ( c ) is the hypotenuse and ( a ) and ( b ) are the other two sides.”

12. How do you calculate the standard deviation?

Standard deviation is a key statistical measure used in fields like finance, engineering, and more to assess the variability or dispersion of a set of numbers.

Sample Answer

“The standard deviation is calculated by first finding the mean of the data set. Then, you find the differences between each data point and the mean, square these differences, and find the mean of the squared differences. Finally, you take the square root of this last mean.”

13. What is a factorial and how do you compute it?

Factorials are foundational in combinatorics, statistics, and data science. They are also essential for calculations involving permutations and combinations.

Sample Answer

“A factorial is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to a given positive integer. It’s denoted by ( n! ). For example, ( 5! = 5 \times 4 \times 3 \times 2 \times 1 = 120 ).”

14. What is a logarithm?

Logarithms are used in various fields like computer science for algorithms, in physics for decay models, and in data science for transforming data.

Sample Answer

“A logarithm is the inverse operation to exponentiation. That means the logarithm of a given number ( x ) is the exponent to which another fixed number, the base ( b ), must be raised to produce ( x ). In the formula ( \log_b(x) = y ), ( y ) is the exponent.”

15. Can you explain the concept of ‘Order of Operations’?

The Order of Operations is a collection of rules that define which procedures to perform first in order to evaluate a given mathematical expression.

Sample Answer

“The Order of Operations is usually remembered by the acronym PEMDAS, which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division (from left to right), and Addition and Subtraction (from left to right). It tells you which operations to perform first to correctly evaluate an expression.”

16. How do you calculate permutations and combinations?

Permutations and combinations are mathematical concepts used in probability, statistics, and data analysis for arranging, combining, or selecting items.

Sample Answer

“For permutations, the formula is ( nPr = \frac{n!}{(n-r)!} ), where ( n ) is the total number of items, and ( r ) is the number of items to choose. For combinations, the formula is ( nCr = \frac{n!}{r! \times (n-r)!} ), where ( n ) is the total number of items, and ( r ) is the number of items to choose.”

17. How do you solve simultaneous equations?

Simultaneous equations are equations involving multiple variables that are solved together at the same time. They are important in various scientific calculations.

Sample Answer

“To solve simultaneous equations, you can use methods like substitution or elimination. In substitution, you solve one equation for one variable in terms of the other variables, and substitute this into the other equation. In elimination, you eliminate one variable from one of the equations and then solve for the remaining variable.”

18. What is the concept of ‘Ratio and Proportion’?

Ratio and proportion are essential concepts in everyday decision-making, whether it’s mixing ingredients for a recipe or scaling a project up or down.

Sample Answer

“A ratio is a relationship between two numbers indicating how many times the first number contains the second. A proportion, on the other hand, is an equation that equates two ratios. For example, if we say the ratio of boys to girls in a class is 2:3, we mean for every 2 boys, there are 3 girls.”

19. Can you explain the concept of ‘slope’ in mathematics?

The concept of slope is vital in fields like engineering, physics, and economics to describe rates of change or to understand trends in data.

Sample Answer

“In mathematics, the slope or gradient of a line describes its steepness, incline, or decline. The slope is usually represented by the letter ( m ) and is defined as the change in ( y ) divided by the change in ( x ) between two distinct points on a line.”


And there we have it, the top 19 basic maths questions you could face in your next job interview. Remember, the key to succeeding in any interview is preparation. These questions cover a broad range of topics to help you get ready for anything mathematical that might come your way. So arm yourself with this knowledge, and you’ll be ready to ace the quantitative aspect of your interview.

Remember to utilize resources like AI Resume Builder, Resume Design, Resume Samples, Resume Examples, Resume Skills, Resume Help, Resume Synonyms, and Job Responsibilities to create a standout application and prepare for the interview.

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Published by Sarah Samson

Sarah Samson is a professional career advisor and resume expert. She specializes in helping recent college graduates and mid-career professionals improve their resumes and format them for the modern job market. In addition, she has also been a contributor to several online publications.

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