To pass the GED® test, you need to have a sophisticated knowledge of the four GED subject fields: Math, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts.
Every subject test (module) has a list of required topics that you need to know.
Keep reading to find out what exactly you need to learn to pass the GED test and receive your diploma.
Every GED subject test can be taken separately, so you can focus on preparing for one subtest and just one type of topics.
Let’s break down the four GED modules and see what topics they cover.
Math (Mathematical Reasoning)
The GED Math subject test takes 115 minutes and includes 46 questions. It measures your critical thinking skills to solve mathematical problems. The main areas on the GED Math test are:
- Arithmetic (Numbers Sense, Fractions, Decimals, Rates, Percentages)
- Algebra (Algebraic expressions and solving Equations)
- Data Analysis (probability, mean, median, and mode)
- Geometry (area and perimeter, a circumference of a circle, 3D shapes, volume)
There are things you will not see on the math subtest. There are no calculus and trigonometry questions nor do you have to memorize complicated math formulas. You will receive a math formulas sheet that you can use.
The math portion includes two parts. In part one, you cannot use a calculator. In part two you can use the on-screen calculator and if you want to bring your own, it has to be a Texas Instruments TI-30XS scientific calculator.
The GED math subtest covers Number Sense, Number Operations, Polynomials, Solving Equations, Algebra, Functions & Patterns, Geometry, Measurement, Statistics, Data Analysis, Probability, and Graphing.
As said before, there are two timed math sections and in the first part, you cannot use a calculator.
In the second part, you can. Most questions are in the multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, or fill-in-the-blank format.
There are also questions that require you to label or interpret information on graphs or submit your answers in the provided space. You’ll also have to solve word problems as well as interpret various information displayed in charts, graphs, tables, or diagrams.
This website offers free math practice tests. Click here to learn more.
English Language (Reasoning through Language Arts)
The GED English Language (RLA) subject test measures your knowledge and critical reasoning skills in the fields of reading comprehension, grammar and language conventions, and writing an essay. This subtest includes three major topics:
- Reading Comprehension. You will receive a reading passage and need to answer questions based on that passage.
- Grammar and Language Conventions. You will receive a short passage containing grammatical irregularities and errors. You must choose the best or correct answer option.
- Writing (Extended Response, or essay). You will have to compose an essay based on the information that’s given to you in two passages.
Reading and Writing – The GED Reasoning through Language Arts subtest is 150 minutes including a 10-minute break. The reading comprehension section measures to what extent you understand and are able to interpret written fiction and non-fiction texts.
The grammar part assesses your understanding of language conventions and grammar through a number of short passages.
You need to answer multiple-choice questions that measure your understanding of topics such as punctuation, sentence structure, language usage, and organization.
Then you will have to compose a five-part essay. You’ll be asked to indicate which of two viewpoints on a contemporary issue is supported best. To learn more about how to write a good essay that will bring is a good score, check out this article.
The GED Science subtest is 90 minutes long and covers :
- Life Science (40%, this is biology)
- Physical Science (40%, this includes physics and chemistry)
- Earth and Space Science (20%)
You must understand the fundamental concepts of science. You don’t have to demonstrate deeper knowledge and understanding of all Science subject fields.
You see that 80 percent of the Science questions relate to Life Science and Physical Science so start with learning for these subject fields. You will have to answer some stand-alone questions but most will include a text passage, diagram, graph, or illustration. For free GED Science practice tests, click here.
The GED Social Studies subtest must be completed in 70 minutes and covers four main subject fields:
- The United States and World History
- Civics and the Organization of Government
The GED Social Studies test is document-based, meaning that all questions come with something to reference, a graph, a text, a cartoon, a map, a photograph, and so on.
This subject test measures how well you can understand and interpret the given information in the presented documents. There’s no need to memorize lots of dates and names. The documents will provide much of the information required to answer the questions correctly. Check here for free Social Studies practice tests.
Preparation is key
Being successful on the GED exam requires careful preparation. Much of your best preparation hinges on understanding exactly what to expect on testing day.
This website offers numerous free online video lessons and also many free practice tests that will help you identify your weak points so you can fully concentrate on those topics that require most of your attention.
The passing score on each of the four GED subtests is 145 out of 200. Averaging scores across the four modules is not possible. On each subtest, attaining the minimum score of 145 is required.
There are three passing score levels. The scale on which the modules are scored runs from 100 to 200 and the passing score is 145. if you score in the 145-164 range, your score is in the “High School Equivalency” range.
There are two “College-Ready” scoring levels. One is when you attain from 165 to 174 points (college-ready) and the highest class is the 175-200 score that is the college-ready PLUS college credit range. You can read all about GED scoring in this post.
This website offers you all the help you need and please bear in mind that the GED is a rigorous exam that assesses your knowledge at a level that’s similar to what’s expected of high school seniors.
To sit for the GED exam, you were required to come to a state-approved testing site. Online testing was not possible. But that has now changed with the arrival of an online proctored testing option. Learn more in this post. And GED Testing service now also added another online tool, an online whiteboard.
GED test and the alternatives
Many states use the GED® (General Education Development) test for their high school equivalency (HSE) testing programs.
Students who successfully take the four individual subtests (modules) of the GED exam will receive their state’s high school equivalency diploma.
There are three high school equivalency tests available in the U.S., the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test), TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion), and GED (General Education Development) exams. In this post, we take a look at what’s on the GED exam. The HiSET is now also available in an online format but the TASC exam is not.
The credential that you will receive when you’ve passed the four subtests of the GED exam, or the five TASC or HiSET subtests, is all across North America recognized and accepted in the same way as a conventional high school diploma that’s earned after four years in high school.
Now, you may think, 4 years of high school is quite a lot of study material! That may sound so overwhelming at first because you don’t have that long to spend learning. Well, that shouldn’t intimidate you. Most students manage to get properly prepared in a 3 to 6 months time frame if they study regularly.
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