One part of the GED® Language Arts (RLA) test is writing a GED Essay, also known as the Extended Response. You have 45 minutes to create your essay. The GED essay is an argumentative essay.
A common method for writing this type of essay is the five-paragraph approach.
After reading the stimulus with two different arguments about a subject, your task is to explain why one of these arguments is better. Remember that you are NOT writing your opinion on the topic.
You are writing an analysis of the author’s two positions and explaining which argument is stronger.
These two arguments are presented in the stimulus, so you don’t need to create any own examples.
You only need to decide what argument is stronger and claim it and prove it. It is NOT about your opinion.
Since in your essay, you need to determine which argument is best supported, your claim should clearly state which of the two positions is stronger.
The GED essay is graded on a machine that uses algorithms to figure out your score. So, no teacher will decide about the score in any way.
Let’s take a look at the structure, topics, and format of the GED Essay.
You will be provided with the stimulus material and a prompt.
- The stimulus is a text that provides 2 opposing opinions about a certain subject.
- The prompt provides instructions and tells you what you need to do.
After reading the stimulus with two different arguments about a subject, your task is to explain why one of these arguments is better.
It’s NOT your opinion about the subject that matters!
You need to analyze the arguments and determine which opinion is best supported throughout the text.
It’s very important that you remember this!
- You are NOT asked which argument you agree with more, and you should NEVER respond with a personal opinion.
So, don’t use the word “I” such as
“I think that…” “I agree because…” “In my opinion…”.
Remember: you need to analyze which of the presented arguments is better and explain why it’s better.
Likewise, make sure your reasons come from the text – you aren’t making up your examples, you’re talking about the ones in the passages.
How should you prove that one argument is stronger? – Look at the evidence in the text.
Did the author use a relevant statistic from a reliable source, or did he/she assume something with a hypothetical anecdote?
Once you know which is better supported, you’re on your way.
Keep in mind: Don’t Summarize!
It’s easy to substitute a simpler task (summarize each side) for the more complex task of evaluating arguments.
But if all you do is summarize, your response will be considered off-topic and likely will not receive any points.
The GED Essay should contain:
- 4-7 paragraphs of 3 to 7 sentences each and 300-500 words in total.
- An essay (or response) that is significantly shorter could put you in danger of scoring a 0 just for not showing enough of your writing skills.
- As you read the stimulus material (text), think carefully about the argumentation presented in the passage(s). “Argumentation” refers to the assumptions, claims, support, reasoning, and credibility on which a position is based.
- Pay close attention to how the author(s) use these strategies to convey his or her positions.
GED Essay Structure
Every well written GED essay has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Your response will be an argument or an argumentative essay. Remember that you are NOT writing your opinion on the topic.
You are writing an analysis of two of the author’s positions and explaining which argument is stronger.
Things to keep in mind: the Extended Response (GED Essay) is scored by smart machines that are programmed to recognize correct answers. So, don’t try to be creative, just be correct. Also:
- Use proper grammar and sentence structure.
- Practice writing a 300-500 words essay.
Let’s look at the GED Essay structure: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- The Introduction introduces the topic you are writing about and states your claim or thesis statement. Stand your position.
- The Body of the essay presents reasoning and evidence to support your claim. This is the longest part of the response and should be at least two paragraphs.
- The concluding paragraph sums up your main points and restates your claim.
GED Essay Topics
Here are a few examples of GED Essay Topics. Click on the title to read a full stimulus and a prompt.
The article presents arguments from both supporters and critics of Daylight-Saving Time who disagree about the practice’s impact on energy consumption and safety. Click here to read the full article.
Analyze the presented arguments and decide which one is better supported. Click here to read the full article.
Proponents say that golf meets the definition of “sport.” Opponents say that golf better meets the definition of “game” than “sport. Analyze both opinions and determinate which one is better supported. Click here to read the full article.
GED Essay Samples
Click here to access a sample of a GED essay with an explanation of the structure. Getting familiar with GED essay samples will help you plan your essay and understand what elements are important.
When reading the essay subject, you really should take the time to pull together your thoughts. By arranging your ideas rationally, you will be able to express your thoughts far better on paper. When you start writing, concentrate on the guidelines that you came to understand in English class.
Pay attention to English language usage (grammar); you must use the right punctuation and capitalization and decide on suitable word solutions.
Tips for Writing the GED Essay
Make sure you read the stimulus and prompt cautiously
It’s good to practice this carefully. Check out each question carefully and take a little time to figure out the topic and what kind of answer will be expected.
It is important to read the questions meticulously.
Usually, students simply run over stimulus and prompt and begin to write immediately, believing that they will save time this way.
Well, this is actually the most undesirable thing to do. Take a short while and try to understand the questions completely in order to respond to them appropriately. If you wish, highlight the essential words and phrases in the stimulus to be able to look at it from time to time to be certain you stick to the topic.
Sketch an outline for the essay
In general, you will only need a few minutes to plan your essay, and it is imperative to take that time. As soon as you grasp the questions entirely, and once you have scribbled down some initial ideas, make an outline of the essay and follow that.
Plan an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this process is going to save you a lot of time and helps establish a rational development of thoughts.
Stick to the subject
Each paragraph in the body of your response should explain why a piece of evidence supports your claim or disputes the opposing claim to explain your evidence.
You can describe or restate it. This shows that you understand precisely what it means and how it relates to your claim.
Cite the mentioned details or facts of a specific point and relate them to your claim.
Your response should include evidence from both passages and explain what strong evidence supports one argument and why faulty evidence weakens the other argument.
Proofreading and Revision
By the time you completed writing your essay, you should go back to the beginning and read your essay carefully again, as you quite easily could have forgotten a comma or have misspelled a word while writing your essay.
While rereading your essay, pay close attention to whether your essay provides well-targeted points, is organized clearly, presents specific information and facts, comes with proper sentence construction, and has no grammar or spelling mistakes.
How your GED Essay is Scored
Your GED essay is scored by smart machines that are programmed to recognize correct answers. So don’t try to be creative, just be correct.
They will be using five criteria to assess your essay.
- Organization: were you clear about the essential idea and did you present a well-thought strategy for composing your essay?
- Clear and swift response: did you deal with the subject adequately, without shifting from one focal point to another?
- Progress and details: did you apply relevant examples and specific details to elaborate on your original concepts or arguments, as opposed to using lists or repeating identical information?
- Grammar Rules of English: did you use decent writing techniques like sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and grammar, and did you shape and edit your essay after you penned the first draft?
- Word choice: how far did you choose and employ suitable words to indicate your points of view?
Your 45 minutes will go quickly so focus on these important points to get the best score.
What’s important, make a clear statement about which position is better supported. Write clear sentences and arrange paragraphs in a logical order.
GED testing includes four modules (independent subtests) in Mathematical Reasoning (Math), Reasoning through Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies that can be taken separately. You should study very well and be effective on test day and pass the subtest(s) you registered for.
GED writing for essays may be a bit tricky, but you can store all this information for proper learning on a list and change to proper write essay techniques before test day has arrived. Just practice a lot, and you’ll see that it’ll be getting better and better. So now you know all about writing the GED Essay.
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