Learn about each test section

The GED® test consists of five different test sections: Social Studies, Science, Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Find a short summary of each GED® test subject or click on the link under each for more detail.

SOCIAL STUDIES 

The social studies content area is made up of 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:

  • History (U.S. or Canada, 25%*; World, 15%)
  • Geography (15%)
  • Civics and government (25%)
  • Economics (20%)

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*There are different U.S. and Canadian versions of the social studies content area.

SCIENCE

The science content area contains 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:

  • Physical science (physics and chemistry, 35%)
  • Life science (45%)
  • Earth and space science (20%)

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LANGUAGE ARTS, READING

The language arts, reading content area contains 40 multiple choice questions. Fictional literature constitutes 75 percent of each test and includes at least one selection from each of the following areas:

  • Poetry
  • Drama
  • Prose fiction before 1920
  • Prose fiction between 1920 and 1960
  • Prose fiction after 1960

Nonfiction constitutes 25 percent of each test and includes two selections of nonfiction prose from any two of the following areas:

  • Nonfiction prose
  • Visual and performing arts reviews
  • Workplace and community documents

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MATHEMATICS

The mathematics content area contains 50 questions divided into two parts, and focuses on the following content areas:

  • Number operations and number sense (20-30%)
  • Measurement and geometry (20-30%)
  • Data analysis, statistics, and probability (20-30%)
  • Algebra, functions, and patterns (20-30%)

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LANGUAGE ARTS, WRITING

The language arts, writing content area is divided into two parts. The scores are combined and reported as a single score.

Part I

The first part contains 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:

  • Organization (15%)
  • Sentence structure (30%)
  • Usage (30%)
  • Mechanics (25%)

Part II

The second part consists of writing an essay about a familiar subject. You will have 45 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay. The essay topic will require you to present your opinion or explain your views about the assigned topic. Two trained readers will score your essay on the basis of the following features:

  • Focused main points
  • Clear organization
  • Specific development of ideas
  • Sentence structure control, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and spelling

Each reader will score your essay on a four-point scale, and the scores will be averaged to find your final score. If you earn a final score of less than two on the essay, you must retake language arts, writing, Part I and Part II.

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