What is the Format of the GED Exam?

The purpose of the General Education Development (GED) test is to certify that a person has a minimum high school level of education. The test is composed of five sections: Mathematics, social studies, science, language art in writing, and language arts in reading. Here is detailed information about each section so you know what to expect when you sit down to take the exam.

Language Arts: Writing
The languages arts writing test consists of two parts: multiple choice questions and an essay. The questions are divided into four categories: organization, sentence structure, language usage, and mechanics. For the essay part, you are not required to have knowledge of any specific topic. However, you should be able to present your ideas and arguments clearly and demonstrate correct grammar and spelling usage. The essay part of the test is the only part manually graded by a human being. All other parts of the GED test are scored by a computer.

Language Arts: Reading
For the language arts in reading test, you will have 65 minutes to answer 40 questions that deal with four areas of reading: application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. You will be given 5 passages, 2 nonfiction and 3 fiction, to read and evaluate. You will then be asked questions about those passages. Again, you don’t need to have any special knowledge to complete this part of the test, but you should have a general familiarity with famous books and poems.

Social Studies
Questions about geography, history, and politics will be included in the social studies portion of the test. You will have 70 minutes to answer multiple choice questions about short passages of text that cover American history, civics, economics, world history, and geography. The purpose of this test is to evaluate your ability to analyze historical documents and extrapolate information.

Science
The questions in this part of the test will touch on life science, physical science, space and Earth science, climate and weather, energy, cell division, geology, and other science-based topics. This test contains 50 questions that must be completed within 80 minutes. If you are weak in science, then it is a good idea to use the resources available to you to shore up your knowledge.

Mathematics
For many people, math is challenging. However, you must pass this part of the test if you want to obtain your GED. The math test is split in two parts and you are allowed to use a calculator for the first part. The questions will be on algebra, geometry, numbers and operations, data analysis, and standard grids. You should have some understanding of square roots, ratios, calculating fractions, and Pythagorean Theorem among other mathematical topics.

To successfully pass the test, you must prepare yourself for each part. This list can help you prepare. Another thing that can help is to take a practice test. A practice test will expose your weaknesses so you know what to focus on when you study.


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