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In What Format Is the GED?

by Fitzalan Gorman, Demand Media
    The majority of questions on the GED are multiple-choice.

    The majority of questions on the GED are multiple-choice.

    The General Educational Development, or GED, exam tests your knowledge of the five core subject areas of high school: reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The GED test serves as the only high school equivalency to a diploma across America.

    Language Arts, Reading Section

    The GED test reading section features multiple-choice questions that test your ability to read, understand and interpret reading passages. This section has 40 questions, and you have 65 minutes to finish it. You can expect to read both fiction and nonfiction texts. The fictional passages may be poetry, drama or prose. The nonfiction passages may be nonfiction prose, performing arts reviews or workplace documents. There are four to eight questions per passage.

    Language Arts, Writing Section

    The writing section of the GED test has two sections: multiple-choice questions and an essay. There are 50 multiple-choice questions, which you have 75 minutes to complete. The multiple-choice part has you revise and edit documents, each 12 to 22 sentences long. Documents that you can expect to see include workplace documents, how-to texts and informational texts. For the essay portion, you have 45 minutes to write an essay. You will receive a topic that draws on your general knowledge, and you are expected to write a well-organized essay with supported ideas and proper sentence structure, punctuation and grammar.

    Math Section

    The GED math test is divided into two sections. This is the longest GED test. There are 25 questions in each section, and you have 45 minutes to complete each section. You can use a calculator on the first section, but you cannot use one on the second. Questions in these sections test your general mathematics skills and problem-solving abilities. This section has word problems, graphs, charts and figures. Eighty percent of the questions are multiple-choice, while the remaining questions are constructed answers. This means you label a point on a grid or write your answers in a blank.

    Science Section

    The science section of the GED test has 50 questions, and you have 80 minutes to complete them. This section tests your knowledge of life, physical, earth and space sciences, and it contains multiple-choice questions. Questions often feature a short reading passage, graphs, charts or figures.

    Social Studies Section

    There are 50 questions in the social studies section of the GED test, and you have 70 minutes to complete it. This section tests your knowledge of U.S. history, civics and government, economics, geography and world history. Questions are presented in prose, visual or written formats. You can expect to analyze textbooks, newspapers, historical documents, maps and photos to answer the questions.

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    About the Author

    Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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