The GED Reading practice tests are part of our GED Language Arts prep.
The reading language test focuses on assessing your ability to (1) read closely (reading comprehension), and
(2) how well you can understand and edit the use of standard English in a written context.
During the GED RLA (Reasoning for Language Arts) test you will have to read two types of passages: an informational text and a literary text.
In the first part, you’ll be confronted with an informational text which is a non-fictional passage, usually from the workplace.
This non-fictional text includes 75% of the questions in the RLA reading section while the second part is a literary text, which includes 25% of the RLA reading section questions.
The questions assess your ability to read, analyze, and apply the information provided in the texts.
The best way to prepare for the real test is by taking GED Reading practice tests.
The good thing is that poems and poetry are not included in this part of the subtest. Poetry was the most feared part of the previous versions of the GED test.
To complete the first section of the RLA test (the part that measures your ability to read closely), you are given 35 minutes whereas, for the second part (literary test), you have 60 minutes.
The text you are given is usually between 450 and 900 words in length.
There are a few important aspects that will help you attain better scores on the GED Reasoning through Language Arts reading section. Let’s see how you should go about it.
1. Read the questions first
Before you begin reading the given text, read the questions first. The questions you’ll be given are specific to the given passage, so it helps to know what the questions are.
If you do this, you’ll get a good idea of what you have to look for in the passage. You will be able to narrow your focus without becoming overwhelmed by the given information.
2. Be aware of WHAT the questions ask
To be able to realize WHAT exactly the questions ask, you need to have a thorough comprehension of literary vocabulary. The practice tests offered on this website focus on improving your reading comprehension skills.
Taking multiple reading practice tests that include reading college-level texts, will definitely improve your skills and lead to betters scores.
3. Read over the given text briefly
Briefly reading over the passage first will allow you to narrow your attention around the questions asked. You already are aware of WHAT the questions are asking, so you won’t get distracted by the information in the text.
Authors use specific things and techniques in their writings, and understanding these techniques will help you analyze the text and attain a good score on this section of the RLA subtest. Let’s see what you need to be looking for in the passage.
- The main idea of the text
- The intent of the author
- Supporting details
- Explicit and implicit language
The main idea of the text
The text’s main idea is usually found early on in the passage and the title will help you. Additionally, look for words and ideas that are used repeatedly throughout the passage. You should ask yourself: what exactly is the passage mostly about?
In most pieces of literary test, it is the author’s intent to make an argument. By gathering the main idea and looking for a thesis, you usually can find the intent, purpose, or reason why the author wrote the text. You should ask yourself: what exactly is it that the author tries to say to me? What is the author’s intent?
The supporting details can be found all through the passage. They typically can be found in paragraphs following the introductory part or paragraph. Supporting details are directly supporting the text’s main idea. Supporting details are answering the “why” aspect of the passage. Why is this conflict happening? Why is s character like it is? this? And so on.
Explicit language refers to what is exactly written in the passage. The test is intentionally written in the way it is and should be taken literally. There are no hidden or further meaning to what is written in the text.
Implicit language is about the additional and/or implied meaning of phrases and figures of speech that the author uses. It is important to understand implicit language as this makes the reader look beyond the written words.
Allusions are indirect references to historical persons or events, popular characters, or literary characters. Allusions often play an important role as they can portray complex ideas, themes, or traits in just one single image. Allusions may be simply mentioned in the text or they may be carried out throughout the entire passage.
Connotations are implied associations or feelings that accompany certain words. Connotations are not the definitions of words, but rather express what emotions and/or associations the words provoke.
Important Literary Terms and Ideas
When you take the GED Language Arts subtest, it is important to understand some key literary terms and ideas. You can learn all about these words, ideas, and terms in our free online GED language video lessons. You should get familiar with the following terms as they are used in questions. Let’s take a look:
An inference is a conclusion or reasoning based on details in the passage. You may, for example, be asked to make an inference about a character in the passage through his or her actions. So you’ll have to make a decision about a character’s personality bases on his or her actions.
A hypothesis is a guess or a prediction about what will be happening. You may be asked, after reading the text, to make a hypothesis about the fate of a character in the passage. So you’ll have to make a guess as to what will happen to the character.
A generalization is an assumption or a broad idea that you can be made about a character, the environment, or things happening in the passage. You may be asked to make a generalization about the community in the given passage and your answer must be based on details the author provided in the text.
Figurative language is about words that are not used in a literal sense. Authors often use figurative language to create images for the readers that cannot be created by the words’ actual meanings. You may be asked to identify examples of figurative language from the given text and decide which examples create meanings different than their actual definitions.
Types of Figurative Language
There are several types of figurative language. Let’s take a closer look at a few, metaphor, simile, personification, and depiction.
Metaphors are comparisons between two unlike terms or objects. For example Nissan’s slogan “Life’s a journey; enjoy the ride.” and “Life’s a zoo.”
Similes are comparisons between two unlike terms or objects as well but then they use the words “as” or “like”. Examples are “Running like the wind”, “Blind as a bat”, and “Brave as a lion.”
Personifications give objects human-like or animal-like traits or characteristics so they will appear alive and having feelings. For example: “The run-down house appeared so distressed”, or “The stars were dancing playfully across the moonlit sky.”
Depictions are the author’s description, portrayal, and/or opinion of a character. You are asked to answer questions about statements in the passage and decide which contain a depiction.
When you prepare for the GED Language Arts test, get familiar with the concepts that you are expected to know and understand. Let’s look at the most important key concepts:
Central Idea and Theme of a text
You must be able to comprehend, identify, and summarize the main idea and supporting details in a text. You will need to be able to make inferences based on the presented details, and decide which details are supporting the main idea or theme of a text. You also must be able to make hypotheses and generalizations based on details in the passage.
Structure of a text
The structure of a text deals with how specific paragraphs and sentences are related to one another and to the entire text. You must be able to analyze how words, paragraphs, or sentences relate to the structure of a text, how they contribute to the development of the main idea, the structural relationship between two texts, and the use of transitional language and key terms or words. You need to determine how signal words and transitional language emphasize ideas and enhance or support the author’s purpose and emphasize key ideas in a text.
Characters, Idea Development, and Events
You must be able to put the sequence of events in a text in order, make inferences about ideas, characters, events, and settings, analyze events and relationships throughout the text, how these aspects are developed and connected in the text, how they add to the main idea or theme, and how to identify how the setting helps to construct the text’s structure.
Interpretation of Language
You must be able to determine the meaning of phrases and words used in a given passage, determine figurative and/or connotative language, analyze how the text’s tone is affected by using certain words when they replace one another, analyze word meaning or language use in a text, and provide information regarding the author’s intent and understand how the author constructs an argument.
Author’s Intent, Purpose, Point of View
You must be able to determine how the author is using points of view to distinguish an opinion or position, to make inferences based on explicit and implicit details and evidence, and to analyze how the author uses rhetorical schemes and techniques to enhance purpose and point of view.
Arguments and Claims
You must be able to demonstrate effective reasoning skills based on the provided evidence in the text. You need to be able to trace steps within an argument, determine how the author is using arguments to build claims, identify pieces of evidence, evaluate if the evidence is relevant and/or sufficient, distinguish between supported and unsupported claims, determine the validity of the claims and presented evidence, identify assumptions and underlying meanings in an argument, and evaluate evidence and logical support in the text.
Analyzing Topics or Themes in Two or More Texts
You must be able to come up with conclusions between two passages that share similar topics and/or themes, compare two texts with similar themes and/or ideas, and apply your knowledge of structure, purpose, perspective, and tone of those two texts.
You must be able to compare two argumentative texts, analyze the evidence presented in both texts, draw conclusions, examine information in the text and determine whether it discredits or supports the author’s intent, compare two or more texts from different formats or genres, find differences and/or similarities in intent, purpose, and/or overall meaning, and compare two or more texts with similar themes but from differing genres, synthesize details, apply the given information, and draw conclusions.
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