GED FAQs: How Is the GED Structured?

The basis of any good test preparation strategy is a comprehensive understanding of the test's structure. The GED has evolved quite a bit over the years and continues to change at regular intervals.

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The 2014 version of the GED has four parts, each of which focuses on a particular subject. Test-takers are evaluated on their knowledge and skills in language arts, social studies, science and math.

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GED Format

Becoming familiar with the structure of the GED is a sure-fire way to embark on a successful study plan. This process will not only tell you what you need to study, but how much time you will have to complete each section and the types of questions you'll face. This knowledge will help you establish successful test-taking and time-management skills.

As you may already know, the GED is divided into four parts. These parts are:

  • Reasoning Through Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Mathematical Reasoning

All sections must be completed in person on the same day at an approved testing center. The test is taken entirely on a computer.

Reasoning Through Language Arts

There are 46 questions on the Reasoning Through Language Arts section, which lasts for 150 minutes. Some are open-ended short-answer questions, while others are multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drop-down, drag-n-drop and hot-spot questions. Hot-spot questions involve an image with certain spots that test-takers can click on to provide their answers. There is also an extended essay response question, where you will need to write an essay based on a given topic. Some of the skills and concepts covered on the test include:

  • Grammar
  • Usage
  • Reading comprehension
  • Inference
  • Argumentation
  • Figurative language

Social Studies

The Social Studies section has 35 questions and lasts for 90 minutes. It consists of a mixture of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drop-down, hot-spot and drag-n-drop questions. There is also an extended response question, which test takers have 25 minutes to write. In addition to general social studies practices like primary source interpretation and author credibility evaluation, individuals are tested on the following content areas:

  • United States history
  • World geography
  • Civics and government
  • Economics

Science

There are 34 questions on the Science section, and it lasts for 90 minutes. The question types are the same as those on the Social Studies section, except that there is no extended response. Individuals are tested on scientific practices like data evaluation and experimental design. The content areas covered on the exam are:

  • Physical science
  • Life science
  • Earth and space science

Mathematical Reasoning

The mathematics section lasts for 115 minutes and consists of a total of 46 questions. For the first five questions, no calculator is permitted. For the remaining 41 questions, students can use a scientific calculator, which is provided at the testing center. The calculator is a TI-30XS Multiview Scientific Calculator, so students may want to practice with a similar calculator. Students will be expected to analyze charts and graphs, as well as answering multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drop-down, hot-spot and drag-n-drop questions. Topics will include:

  • Number operations
  • Geometry
  • Data analysis
  • Algebra
  • Functions

When getting ready to take the GED, it can be helpful to know what to expect on each section, in terms of length, question types and content. This test is fully computer-based and covers math, science, reasoning through language arts and social studies.

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