This GED Language Arts Study Guide explains everything you’ll have to learn and understand if you want to pass the GED Language Arts Test. This study guide teaches you what the subject fields are covered in this GED® subtest and what’s the format of the test.
Additionally, we offer you free science video lessons, with short practice tests and Language test-taking tips. Let’s get started.
GED Language Arts Lessons
This website publishes 24 free GED Language lessons with practice tests.
The lessons include videos, texts, and short practice tests so you’ll learn how to answer the questions correctly.
GED Language Arts Practice Test
We also publish longer GED Language Arts Practice Tests. They cover a wide range of Language Arts topics.
GED Language Arts Essay
On the GED Language Arts test, you’ll also have to write an essay. Check our resources about writing the GED Essay.
What to study for GED Language Arts?
The GED Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) test measures your reading and writing skills.
These are skills you’ll be using all through your life when communicating. You are given 150 minutes, so 2.5 hours, to complete this longest section of the 4-test GED exam.
There are two parts in the GED RLA subtest that include in total 46 questions.
You’ll need to answer questions about given texts to assess your skills regarding writing, reading, and analytical reasoning.
You’ll also have to review written texts and select words and phrases to make sentences and expressions correct regarding grammar and language use.
You’ll also have to produce your essay (extended response) based on a prompt. You’ll have to read one or two passages about some contemporary issue, or read a passage that has a visual element (e.g. a graphic), and write your 5-paragraph to measure your writing skills.
After a 10-minute break, the second part of the RLA exam starts. This section includes only questions about correct language use and reading comprehension.
How to Write the GED Essay
The usual method for writing your GED essay (in the test referred to as “Extended Response”) is the 5-paragraph approach to write a 300 to 500 words essay.
After you’ve read the provided stimulus that includes two different arguments on a subject, you’ll have to explain why one argument is better than the other. This is not about your personal opinion on the subject.
You just have to write a good analysis of the two positions given by the author and explain which of the arguments is stronger. Keep in mind that the arguments are already given in the provided stimulus so creating your own examples is not needed.
So in the test centers (or online), you’ll be given the stimulus material for your essay and a prompt as well. The stimulus provides two opposing opinions on a subject, and the prompt provides you with instructions on what and how to do it.
The GED Extended Response is scored by machines that are recognizing correct answers. So, being creative doesn’t work, just being correct will get you a good score. So learn to use proper sentence structure and grammar.
Your GED Essay should include an introduction, a body, and a concluding paragraph. Your introduction simply introduces the topic you’re going to write about and states your thesis statement or claim. Here, you stand your position.
In the body of your essay, you present your arguments and evidence to support your position or claim. This part is the longest of your essay and should be at least 2 or 3 paragraphs long. In the concluding paragraph, you sum up your main arguments and points and restate your claim.
How long is the GED Language Arts Test?
The GED Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) subtest is, in total, 2.5 hours long. There are two parts, separated by a small, 10-minute break.
The first part takes 45 minutes during which you have to write your essay. In total, on the GED RLA test, there’ll be about 46 to 53 questions. You’ll have to answer questions related to single passages and paired passages to assess your reading and analytical thinking skills.
You’ll have to review written passages and select phrases and words so that the product is written in grammatically and textual correct English.
How many questions can you miss on the Language Arts Test?
As said earlier, there are around 46 to 53 questions on the GED Language Arts Test covering three main categories: Reading, Writing, and Grammar.
The number of questions that you must answer correctly to attain a passing score (145) will depend on your essay score. The higher your essay score, the fewer correct answers you require, and to compensate for a low essay score, you’ll have to answer more questions correctly. In general, though, we can say that you need to have between 32 and 42 questions correctly to pass the GED RLA test.
10 GED Language Arts Test Tips
1. Read the questions carefully
Before answering or looking at the answers, read each question carefully twice. It often happens that students read the questions too fast so they’ll fall into traps. This also counts for your answers. Read them twice as well. Too often, a question is simply missed because students misread some terms.
And keep also in mind that you shouldn’t read too much into the RLA questions. They are usually pretty straightforward. So don’t over-read the language questions and usually, your common sense answer is the best answer.
2. Answer the easy questions first
You shouldn’t waste time on questions that you don’t know the answers to right away. When you’re stuck on a question, move ahead. It’s useless to waste your time on these questions.
Just skip the questions you can’t answer or that you’re not sure about and concentrate only first on those questions that you’ve got right immediately.
When you have completed the questions that were easy for you, go back to the questions that you skipped and try to answer them. Maybe the other questions provided a hint and the momentum may help to boost your confidence.
4. Use lots of practice tests
Practice makes perfect. Get familiar with reading prompts and writing essays by practicing a lot with sample tests. Think about what the prompt asks you to do. Find evidence in the text to support your argument or ideas.
There are prompts that ask you to cite specific evidence or provide a quote in your answer, while the prompt may also ask you to compare or analyze some passages.
4. Do not jump to conclusions
There are questions on the GED test that require some pretty careful analysis. At first glance, some wrong answers will appear to be correct at a first casual glance.
Very often, writers of the GED test will put a misleading answer first so you’ll be tempted to choose that answer. Please be careful not to fall into this sort of trap! It is important to first recognize the main idea in a complex piece of reading. Once you manage that, finding the correct answer will become easier.
Sometimes, you’ll find more than just one right answer. If that’s the case, make sure you will choose the best answer option based on what the question asks, not on your assumption.
5. Use more formal language
It often happens that test-takers slide into a sort of language use that they’re used to when speaking to or texting with their friends. When writing your essay, make sure to avoid the use of slang or abbreviations.
Your score on the essay part is based on how well you use English language conventions. It’s all about grammar, word choice, and sentence structure. Your essay writing must have a formal tone.
6. Answer all of the questions
On the GED exam, there are no penalties for guessing or wrong answers. So be sure to answer each and every question, even when you don’t know the answer or when you need to guess.
When you need to guess, you will probably be able to eliminate one or two answer options straight away, the obviously incorrect options. When you’re left with just two remaining options, your chances of picking the right answer look much better, right?
7. Eliminate obviously wrong answers
When you’ve read the question carefully and look at the answers, try to eliminate the answer options that you know are definitely wrong. This way you can concentrate on a smaller pool of answers to choose from.
If an answer obviously does not refer to what’s being asked, you know that answer cannot be correct. Make sure that the answer option you choose is matching the question’s context clues. If an answer has absolutes such as never, must, or always, those options are generally incorrect so start with eliminating those answers as they usually are not correct.
8. Keep an eye on the clock
Although the time restraints on the GED Language Arts subtest should be enough to complete the test in a timely manner, you should keep going at the correct pace.
Check the time regularly and remember to “budget” your precious time. You shouldn’t dwell on those questions that you really don’t know the answer to. Just skip these questions and move on.
On the other hand, try not to rush the questions that you’re sure you know, or that you think that you know. Read them twice carefully. That will allow you to come up with the best answer choice. It happens but too often that some careless mistake is what separates a top GED Language Arts score from a mediocre score.
9. Edit and proofread your extended response
Make sure you’ll save the last 10 minutes or so for proofreading your extended response! Check what you’ve written for organizational mistakes, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and perhaps unclear statements.
Reading what you’ve produced out loud (of course, in a quiet voice, more inside your mouth) may also be helpful for catching writing errors.
10. Trust your instinct
When answering questions on the GED Language Arts test, trust your first instinct. Once you picked the answer that you think is right, move ahead and don’t over-analyze the choice you made.
If you spend too much time on a question, stress can take over, and then, you often want to change something. When, in the end, you’ve got some time left for reviewing, change only those answers that have obvious mistakes.
When you’ve read the question carefully twice and you’ve picked an answer option, chances are your first choice is the best.
Last Updated on October 7, 2021.