What is on the GED® test?

What is on the GED® test? The best way to prepare for your test is to know what is on the GED® test. Here is the information you need to know about what is on the GED® test.

GED test sample question
Image courtesy of GED Testing Service

What should I expect?

What is on the GED® test? This is what you can expect:

  • You will go to a testing center to take the GED® test.
  • You will take the test on a computer.
  • You can take the test in English or Spanish.
  •  The test has 4 parts, one for each content area (subject).

The whole test takes between 7 and 8 hours, but you can take the 4 parts on different days over a 2-year period. This is good for busy workers and parents. It means you can choose to study for each part of the test for up to 8 months, one part after the other. Or you can take the parts you already know, and then use your time to study for the harder parts.

How do I know if I am ready to take the test?

You can take our free online practice tests to see if you are ready.

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What are the questions like?

What is on the GED® test? The GED® test has different types of questions. To pass the test, you have to give the correct answer most of the questions.

Multiple-choice questions

Most of the questions on your test will be multiple-choice questions. A multiple-choice question gives you a choice of answers. The question might be about text, or it could be about a picture or map. It might be a diagram, including a chart, table, or graph. Below the text or image will be a question and then a list of answers, like this example. You choose the right one by clicking a circle.

example of multiple choice question

The good thing about multiple-choice questions is that the answer is always there in front of you. You just have to figure out which one it is. To do this, you need to look carefully at the information you are given. Read the question very carefully, too. It might trick you a little bit – for example, it could say, Which answer is not true?

Other types of questions

The GED® test has a few other question formats. They are:

  • Drag-and-drop
  • Drop-down
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Hot spot

Try them out!

Try out all these GED® question types you will see on the test. You will be able to complete all of the question types if you practice ahead of time!

Writing questions

The GED® test includes an “extended response” question in the language arts (reading and writing) section. You will have to write an essay about a topic you are given. It will be a short essay of 4 to 7 paragraphs (a paragraph means more than one sentence).

The testers want to see that you can understand information, develop an idea or opinion, give examples, and write clearly about your thoughts. They also want to see that you can write English correctly and use the computer to present your writing.

What are the subjects?

There are 4 content areas (subjects) on the GED® test: social studies, science, mathematics (math for short), and language arts (reading and writing).

What is on the GED® test: Language arts (reading and writing)

The GED® language arts (reading and writing) test measures how well you understand what you read, if you can write correctly, and how well you can explain your ideas.

The GED® language arts test is 150 minutes long, including a 10-minute break. It has three sections:

  • Reading – 60 minutes
  • Writing (language) – 35 minutes
  • Writing (essay) – 45 minutes

The reading part of the test will test your ability to understand and answer questions from a piece of text. The texts might be from a speech, a letter, a newspaper article, or a passage from a book. The writing (language) part of the test will ask you questions about correct ways of writing. It will test your understanding of grammar. The first two sections use multiple choice, and other simple question types. The third section requires you to write an essay.

You don’t need to know any facts to pass the language arts test. You need to show that you understand what you are reading by answering questions, and that you can write correct English. You can learn more about the language arts test.

What is on the GED® test: Social studies

The GED® social studies test measures your understanding of the history, economics and geography of the United States, and of some world issues too.

The testers are looking for some basic knowledge of the United States and the world economy and geography. The test measures your ability to understand and interpret information more than it measures your knowledge of facts.

The GED® social studies test lasts 70 minutes. It uses several different question types, including multiple choice, drag-and-drop, hot spot, and fill-in-the-blank. The questions are about civics and government (50%), United States history (20%), economics (15%), and geography and the world (15%). You can learn more about the social studies test.

What is on the GED® test: Math

The GED® math test will measure your understanding of several kinds of mathematics. These include solving algebra problems, procedural skills, data analysis, number sense and reasoning skills.

Reasoning skills means your ability to understand the information in front of you and answer questions about it. Most of the test will use just basic math skills and reasoning skills. The more advanced topics will be covered in just a few questions out of the whole test.

The GED® math test is 115 minutes long and has two parts:

  • Part 1 (first 5–7 test questions) – a calculator is not allowed
  • Part 2 (remaining test questions – about 40) – a calculator is allowed

Students must submit their answers to the first questions (calculator not allowed) before moving on to the rest of the test. You can learn more about the math test.

Watch a video about how to use the on-screen GED® test calculator

What is on the GED® test: Science

The GED® science test measures your understanding of some basic scientific ideas. Your test will focus on certain areas of science: life science, physical science, and earth and space science. It also tests your knowledge of how scientists develop ideas (the scientific method).

The GED® science test lasts 90 minutes. It has 34 to 45 questions using several different question types, including multiple choice, drag-and-drop, hot spot, and fill-in-the-blank. Many questions will ask you to read a simple scientific text and answer questions. You can also expect to see a lot of tables and charts and to answer questions about them. You may use a calculator for some of the questions if you want to. You can learn more about the science test.

I have questions about how to take the GED® test in my state.

You can find out how to take the GED® test in your state.

What should I do next?

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