What Is On The GED Test?

Last Updated on April 9, 2024.

On the GED test, there are four subject tests: Math, Language, Science, and Social Studies. Each subject has a number of topics ranging from easy to moderate and advanced.

Later in this article, I’m going to explain in detail what you need to know to pass each GED® subject test.

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There’s no paper-based version of the GED exam. Everything must be done on a computer, so computer skills are an important part of the GED test, too.

The majority of questions on the GED exam are still multiple-choice questions (MCQ); however, on the Language Arts test, you will be asked to write a 300 to 400-word essay (Extended Response).

Throughout the Math, Social Studies, and Science GED subtests, there are some “fill-in-the-blank” and “draggable” questions as well.

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The most important part, of course, is content. So, let’s take a look at what you need to know for each GED subject test.

GED Math

The GED Math subject test measures your ability to solve problems, interpret tables, charts, and graphs, and solve problems that we encounter in our everyday life.

The GED Math subtest is 115 minutes long and contains 46 questions in multiple-choice, hot spot, fill-in-the-blank, and some more formats. The GED Math test has two parts.

GED Math includes Number Operations, Number Sense, Solving Equations, Measurement, Geometry, Data Analysis, Statistics, Graphing, Probability, Algebra, Polynomials, Functions, and Patterns.

The GED Math subtest evaluates mathematical competencies and knowledge. You are expected to know how to deal with quantitative problems using reasoning skills and fundamental concepts.

The questions on the GED Math test address realistic problems that require general knowledge of basic math issues such as measurement, numerical operations, estimation, logical thinking, and data interpretation.

Math problems are often based on common and realistic situations and may include abstract concepts such as measurement precision, algebraic patterns, and probability.

In the second part of the GED Math subtest, you can use a calculator, but there is also a calculator built into your computer screen. To read more about GED test dates, go to this post.

GED Reasoning Through Language Arts

The GED RLA (Language) subtest covers the fundamental concepts of Grammar, Reading Comprehension, and Writing your GED Essay (Extended Response).

GED students must get familiar with and proficient in these topics if they want to pass the GED Language Arts subtest. As for each GED subtest, preparation is the key to your success. Many students ask us if the GED Language test is hard, but if you prepare well, you should be able to get a passing score relatively easily.

The GED RLA module is 150 minutes (including a 10-minute break) long and includes some 46-53 questions. The GED Language subtest will measure your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret a wide range of informational and literary texts. Read also this page with very useful GED Language Test Taking Tips.

The texts may come from various that vary in style and purpose. They may come in the form of essays, memoirs, biographical sketches, short stories, or editorials. The texts are generally between 400 and 600 words in length. For all GED requirements, go to this page.

GED Science

The GED Science subtest measures your knowledge of life science, physical science, and Earth and Space science. You will be tested with questions that are similar to the common science learned in grades 9 through 12.

The questions on the GED Science subtest measure basic understanding, concepts, principles, and vocabulary, that are commonly used in the world of life science, physical science, and Earth and space science.

The science test is 90 minutes long and contains some 34 to 40 questions from the fields of Physical Science, Life Science, Scientific Practices, and Earth and Space Science. To see how long the GED test is, check out this post.

The test includes questions based on science-related texts, tables, graphs, diagrams, and charts. The GED Science test includes visuals, which means you’ll have to be able to read these charts or graphs as well.

Life Science (Biology) covers the Human Body & Health; Life Functions & Energy Intake; the Structure, Organization, and Functions of Life; Heredity & Genetics; and Evolution.

Physical Science includes Chemistry and Physics. The covered fields are Flow, Conservation, Transformation of Energy; Motion, Work, and Force; Chemical & Nuclear Reactions in relation to Living Systems and Organisms, and Chemical Properties. Check out also this article with lots of tips on how to prepare effectively for the GED Science test.

The GED Science subtest will measure your ability to interpret scientific content, how to apply basic principles of scientific inquiry, and how to evaluate scientific data and information. Science questions are often about scientific investigations and research and the results, and if you want to read more about how many Science questions you need to answer correctly to pass, check out this article.

Scientific data and information may come from sources such as scientific journals. You must be able to correctly read the tables, graphs, tables, and charts presented in the information.

To be able to read all the questions quickly and correctly, it is important your GED vocabulary is okay. There are so many specific words and phrases (not only for the Language Arts test) that you really need to know to get high scores!

GED Social Studies

The GED Social Studies subtest assesses your knowledge of history, government, geography, and economics. Social studies are all about people, places, history, and important events. Read also about what happens if you fail a GED subtest. You can take one subtest at a time, and, in most states, you’ll have two retakes at a reduced fee.

The GED Social Studies subtest is 70 minutes long and includes some 35 questions. The content on the test includes the following areas: History, Geography, Civics & Government, and Economics.

The GED Social Studies module measures your skills in analyzing and evaluating various sorts of social studies issues and information. In this section, you will find materials from subject fields such as World and U.S. World History, Psychology, Politics, Sociology, Geography, Economics, and how society is organized.

This subtest includes the presentation of documents, cartoons, posters, maps, timelines, graphs and tables, charts, and reading passages. You can also benefit from our post with many tips on how to ace the GED Social Studies test.

Many Social Studies Test questions come from documents that are included in the test. For example, you may read a political speech and then be asked questions about specific things written in the speech.

You are not expected to memorize numerous political speeches as this sort of material is provided. You must be able to think critically about the text and answer the questions.

Check out also this page about free GED Practice tests available on our website. This way, you can see if this online study method is right for you.

If so, you can easily register for full coverage on Onsego GED Online Prep. GED Testing Service has recognized Onsego’s program as one hundred percent aligned to the computer-based GED test.

GED Scores

On each of the four GED subtests (independent modules), you need to reach at least a score of 145 points. The tests are measured on a 100-200 scale, and averaging is not possible.
145-164: HSE (high school equivalency) level passing score
165-174: College Ready level passing score
175-200: College Ready level plus credit level

Online GED Testing

In many states, you can take the GED exam online or at a test center. Until recently, you had to show up in person at a GED testing site, but that has changed. To qualify for online testing, scoring “green” on the GED Ready® practice test is required. Check here -> to learn more about the online proctored GED test.

Do You Take The GED Subtests All At Once?

No, the four tests are modular, and this means you can take them one test at a time, and you should perhaps take the easiest GED part (for you) first. There’s no need to sit for the complete GED battery in one testing session.

The diploma or certificate awarded after successful completion of the four modules is regarded across North America as equivalent to a regular HS diploma. There are people who think GED courses and ABE (Adult Basic Education) courses are the same. Well, that’s not the case. ABE may include GED training but includes far more.

What If You Fail One GED Subject?

If you fail one GED subject test, you won’t receive your GED diploma. To receive the GED diploma, you must complete all four modules with sufficient scores (see above).

Your scores are valid indefinitely, at least for as long as this version of the GED exam is used.

If you fail one of the GED modules, you are offered two retakes at a reduced rate. If you fail those too, you’ll have to pay the full amount again. In most states, the cost for GED testing is around $36 for each of the four subtests, so $144 for the entire battery. For the cost of GED testing in your state, <-check here.

There are also states that subsidize GED testing, and a number of states have traded the GED for the HiSET exams.

To summarize, the GED test is geared toward adults who were not in a position to complete their regular high school education. The GED provides them with one more chance to get hold of a certificate or diploma that’s accepted in the same way as a high school diploma.

The computer-based GED exam is a North American high school equivalency test. It includes four independent subtests (modules) that cover the subject areas of Math, Language, Science, and Social Studies. Your GED diploma will get you into college and definitely lead to better employment opportunities.