GED Question Types: Drop-Down Questions

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

This lesson gives you an overview of drop-down questions on the GED and how they work in different subject areas. It also offers some strategies for success on these questions.

Drop-Down Questions on the GED

Are you anxious about taking the GED? You may feel like all you can do to prepare is to brush up on the subjects. Subject matter review can help, but you should also try to become familiar with the different types of questions on the test. The latest edition of the GED has a number of question types that weren't on older versions of the test. If you're well-prepared, this should allow you to better showcase your knowledge and skills. However, it's important to understand how the different questions work and what you are expected to do when answering them.

This lesson focuses on the drop-down, or cloze, questions on the GED tests in literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. These questions look like a sentence or short passage with words, numbers, or phrases missing. In place of the missing word, you will see a drop-down menu. Your task is to select the item from the menu that best completes the sentence or passage. Some drop-down questions will include only one missing word, while others will include up to three. After you make a selection, you will see the sentence or passage completed with your selection in context.

This lesson provides an overview of how drop-down questions work in each of the GED subject tests, and offers you some strategies for success on these items.


On the literacy test, drop-down questions are embedded directly in text passages and have multiple options for response. They are used primarily to evaluate your grasp of conventions of written American English including grammar and punctuation. On this test, the items are designed to look like a standard editing process. You might see multiple variations on the same phrase, and you'll choose the one with correct usage. Pay close attention to subtle differences in spelling, punctuation, and word order when making your selection.


On the mathematics test, drop-down questions will focus either on choosing mathematical vocabulary or a numerical value that completes a statement accurately. The most frequent use of drop-down items on the mathematics test is to compare two different quantities. You may see one quantity on the left side of a statement and a second quantity on the right side. The drop-down menu will include the terms 'greater than,' 'equal to,' and 'less than,' and you'll choose the one that accurately compares the quantities.


The use of drop-down questions on the science test is similar to their use on the literacy test. You're likely to see an entire sentence or passage and be asked to select the word or short phrase that accurately completes it. On the science test, passages with drop-down questions will often summarize or interpret a passage, chart, or graph related to a scientific topic. Reading or examining the relevant document carefully will help you to answer these items correctly.

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