GED Question Types: Hot-Spot Questions

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

As you get ready to take the GED, you will want to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of questions. Hot-spot questions might seem unusual, so this lesson will help you understand what to expect.

What Are Hot-Spot Questions?

Hot-spot questions are an unusual type of question that was added to the GED when a new test was published in 2014. These questions are found in the mathematics, science, and social studies portions of the test. You will not find hot-spot questions in the literacy portion of the test. In order to answer hot-spot questions appropriately, you will need to familiarize yourself with the format and understand just what these questions are assessing.

Hot-spot questions will present you with a graphic image relevant to the specific subject area of the test. There will be something called virtual 'sensors' at different places across the image. These sensors are placed strategically, and you will be asked to complete tasks that make use of the sensors. Overall, hot-spot questions help you show your true skill level at things like making graphs, constructing models or images, and working with geometric figures. This lesson will give you a sense of how hot-spot items work in each of the relevant subject areas, and will offer you some strategies for success with these questions.


In the mathematics portion of the test, hot-spot items will often be used to ask you to plot points on dot plots, graphs, number lines and coordinate grids. You will be able to work with an actual graph or coordinate plane to find the point where the answer to a particular question lies. The virtual sensors function essentially like multiple choice answers, and your job is to choose the accurate one. Hot spot questions in mathematics might also ask you to select the portion of a shape or figure that corresponds to a question, like the vertex of an angle or the edge of a three-dimensional shape. They might ask you to do things like bisect an angle or create a model of a specific fractional division of a shape.


In the science portion of the test, hot-spot questions are likely to ask you to respond to a brief text or graphic stimulus of some point. Then, you will be asked to select appropriate answers on charts, graphs or images that accurately answer questions about what you read or analyzed. For instance, you might read a passage about the classification of species. A hot-spot question could ask you to select species from a given chart that match up to a given classification. Hot-spot questions can also ask you to choose points in a table, graph or chart that lend credence to a scientific conclusion based on a text. You could also be asked to choose parts of a model that accurately answer a question.

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