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About Research & Education Association
Research & Education Association (REA) is an organization of educators, scientists, and engineers specializing in various academic fields. Founded in 1959 with the purpose of disseminating the most recently developed scientific information to groups in industry, government, high schools, and universities, REA has since become a successful and highly respected publisher of study aids, test preps, handbooks, and reference works.
REA's Test Preparation series includes study guides for all academic levels in almost all disciplines. Research & Education Association publishes test preps for students who have not yet completed high school, as well as high school students preparing to enter college. Students from countries around the world seeking to attend college in the United States will find the assistance they need in REA's publications. For college students seeking advanced degrees,
REA publishes test preps for many major graduate school admission examinations in a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, law, and medicine. Students at every level, in every field, with every ambition can find what they are looking for among REA's publications.
While most test preparation books present practice tests that bear little resemblance to the actual exams, REA's series presents tests that accurately depict the official exams in both degree of difficulty and types of questions. REA's practice tests are always based upon the most recently administered exams, and include every type of question that can be expected on the actual exams.
REA's publications and educational materialsare highly regarded and continually receive an unprecedented amount of praise from professionals, instructors, librarians, parents, and students. Our authors are as diverse as the fields represented in the books we publish. They are well-known in their respective disciplines and serve on the faculties of prestigious high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States and Canada.
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
ABOUT THIS BOOK AND TESTware
This book provides you with an accurate and complete representation of the Tests of General Educational Development (GED). REA's three full-length practice tests are based on the latest editions of the GED tests, which were overhauled for 2002. Our topical reviews and drills are designed to prepare you for the very kind of material you will see when taking the actual test. You are allowed 7 hours and 5 minutes to complete each of our sample tests. That's the same amount of time you will be given during the actual exam. (Don't panic! The actual exam is usually administered during two or three sittings over a period of two days. Check with your state's department of education for information on GED test centers, test times, and test dates.) Our sample tests have been carefully calibrated to match the GED's level of difficulty, format, and content. Following each model test you will find an answer key along with detailed explanations designed to help you master the material and score high.
Practice tests 1 and 2 in this book and software package are included in two formats. They are in printed form in this book, and in TESTware format on the enclosed CD. We recommend that you begin your preparation by first taking the practice exams on your computer. The software provides timed conditions, automatic scoring, and scoring information that makes it easier to target your strengths and weaknesses.
ABOUT THE TEST
Who takes the test and what is it used for?
The GED is taken by people who did not complete their high school education and would like to obtain a state-issued high school diploma. The diploma is awarded upon successful completion of the five GED tests. Candidates may choose to take the GED to fulfill requirements for admission to colleges or other schools, to further their careers, or even just for the sake of self-satisfaction. The GED is taken by nearly 800,000 people every year.
Who administers the test?
The GED is developed and administered by the GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education (ACE). Questions for the GED are created by writers and reviewers who are experienced in secondary or adult education. They follow standardized procedures, developed by the GED Testing Service, to ensure that the content and difficulty levels are appropriate. According to the American Council on Education, the writers and reviewers represent a wide variety of ethnic groups and are selected from many geographic areas. All questions are reviewed by a number of people, revised as necessary, and then are standardized based on a nationally selected sample of graduating high school seniors.
When and where is the test given?
The GED is administered on a regular basis in the United States and Canada. To accommodate all candidates, there are many versions of the exam, including administrations in English, French, Spanish, Braille, large print, and on audiotape.
To receive information on upcoming administrations of the GED, contact your local high school, adult school, GED Testing Center, or the GED Testing Service at:
1-800-62 MY GED (1-800-626-9433) or
General Educational Development
GED Testing Service
American Council on Education
One Dupont Circle, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
What do I study first?
Before you do anything else, take Practice Exam I to help you determine what areas may cause you the most difficulty. After you are done with the first practice exam, go through and check your answers against the answer keys found at the end of the practice test. It is also suggested that you read through the detailed explanations of answers found at the end of each practice test, as this will help you to understand what you are doing wrong. Once you have taken a practice test, you should first study the reviews which cover your problem areas. The reviews will cover the information you will need to know when taking the exam.
When you have done this, you should go back and study all of the remaining reviews and the test-taking tips which appear at the end of this introduction. Make sure you take the review drills that are interspersed within each review. Both the reviews and the drills will be very useful in helping you brush up on your skills. It will be also be beneficial to read through the Appendix, which includes the Periodic Table, a math reference table, the Constitution of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence.
After studying REA's review, take Practice Exam II and Practice Exam III. When you take our GED practice tests, be sure to do your best to simulate testing conditions: sit at a table in a room free of distractions and time yourself. Doing this will make you less nervous on the day of the actual test and, more importantly, you will develop a sense of pacing. After timing yourself for all of the practice tests, you will have a very good idea of how much time you can spend on each question during the actual GED.
When should I start studying?
It is never too early for you to start studying for the GED - the earlier the better. You should start studying as soon as possible so that you will be able to learn more. Starting early will allow you the time necessary to strengthen your problem areas. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to study since it does not allow you the time needed to learn the exam material.
FORMAT OF THE GED
All of the questions in the GED (except for the essay in the Writing test and several alternate format questions in the Mathematics test), will be in multiple-choice format. Each question will have five answers, numbered one through five, from which to choose. You should be aware of the amount of time you have to complete each section of the test, so that you do not waste too much time working on difficult questions, while neglecting to answer easy questions. Speed is very important. Using the practice tests will help you prepare for this task. Taking as many of the practice tests as possible, and making sure to time yourself, will help you become accustomed to the time constraints. Repeating this process will help you develop speed in answering the questions because you will become more familiar with the format.
The GED at a Glance
TEST 1 - Language Arts: Writing
> Part I
/ 50 questions / 75 minutes / Deals with sentence structure, usage, mechanics, and organization
> Part II / One essay / 45 minutes / An essay of about 250 words
TEST 2 - Social Studies
> 50 questions / 70 minutes / History, geography, economics, and political science
> 50 questions / 80 minutes / Life science (biology), physical science (chemistry and physics), and Earth and space science
TEST 4 - Language Arts: Reading
> 40 questions / 65 minutes / Literary fiction and nonfiction prose
TEST 5 - Mathematics: Arithmetic (measurement, number relationships, and data analysis), Algebra, and Geometry
> Part 1 / 25 questions / 45 minutes / Allows the use of a calculator
> Part 2 / 25 questions / 45 minutes / Does not allow the use of a calculator
TOTAL TESTING TIME: 7 hours, 5 minutes
Test 1: Language Arts: Writing (Two Parts)
Part I of the Writing Skills test consists of 50 multiple-choice items, which will require you to read passages and then answer a series of questions that follow. You will have 75 minutes in which to complete this section. This test is composed of 30% sentence structure questions, 30% usage questions, 25% mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) questions, and 15% organization questions. The spelling portion of the test focuses squarely on homonyms, contractions, and possessives. Comma usage is tested only in the context of avoiding confusion in sentence construction. Approximately 50% of the questions on this test deal with sentence correction and 35% with sentence revision, while 15% of the sentence structure and usage questions will deal with construction shift.
Part II of the Writing Skills test is a 45-minute essay. Your essay must be written on the topic listed in your test booklet and is expected to be about 250 words in length. You will be expected to follow all of the rules for sentence structure, usage, and mechanics in writing your essay. You will be graded on several different aspects of your essay, such as how well you addressed and answered the question, the organization of your essay, how well you developed your essay and if you provided details and examples to back your main idea up, how well you followed the rules for standard written English, and how varied and appropriate your word choice is.
Test 2: Social Studies
The Social Studies test has 50 multiple-choice questions. You will have 70 minutes in which to answer questions based on an information document, graph, map, chart, or figure. The information tested within these questions can be found within the corresponding information document, graph, map, chart, or figure. The test consists of 40% history questions, 20% economics questions, 25% political science questions, and 15% geography questions. The types of items break down like this: 20% evaluation; 30% analysis; 30% application; and 20% with comprehension.
Test 3: Science
The Science test runs 80 minutes and consists of 50 multiple-choice items. The questions on the test are based on figures, charts, graphs, information documents, and other written information. This test deals with 45% life-science (biology) questions, 35% physical-science (physics and chemistry) questions, and 20% Earth- and space-science questions. Roughly half the test is composed of conceptual-understanding questions, while the other half presents problem-solving questions.
Test 4: Language Arts: Reading
The Language Arts: Reading test is a 65-minute test, containing 40 multiple-choice items. The questions on this test are based on excerpts from poetry, essays, biographies, plays, critical reviews (of television, film, literature, dance, art, music, sculpture, and theater), commentary, and business-related documents. This test consists of 75% literary-fiction questions and 25% nonfiction-prose questions. Nonfiction prose includes commentary, reviews, nonfiction essays, biographies, autobiographies, and business documents. In this test, 20% of the questions deal with comprehension, requiring you to restate the ideas or information presented or summarize what you read. Application questions make up 15% of the items; these require you to draw your own conclusions, understand the effects or importance of a situation, or identify the implications involved in the situation presented. Synthesis questions account for 30-35% of the test questions. The test also consists of 30-35% analysis questions, which will ask you to define stylistic and structural techniques in terms of concept.
Test 5: Mathematics
The Mathematics test is a 90-minute test. The 50 questions on this test deal with 50% arithmetic, 30% algebra, and 20% geometry. The arithmetic questions are 30% measurement, 10% number relationships, and 10% data analysis. Approximately 30% to 40% of the questions on this test will ask you to solve a problem using proportion and ratio techniques, while 15% of the questions will ask you to identify a formula and then apply it to the problem. The Mathematics test is divided into two parts. Part 1 (Item Nos. 1-25) allows calculator use. Part 2 (Item Nos. 26-50) does not allow the use of a calculator.
Part 1 only allows the use of a specific calculator, the Casio fx-260 Solar Calculator. Although you may find it helpful to use the Casio fx-260 while taking our Mathematics practice test, you needn't buy one. This calculator will be provided at the testing center. You will be given a brief overview of the calculator and time to practice on it before the Mathematics test begins. For more information about the Casio fx-260 Solar Calculator, contact the American Council on Education.
The Mathematics test has both multiple-choice questions and alternate-format questions. Unlike GED multiple-choice questions, which provide five possible answers for you to choose from, alternate-format questions require you to come up with your own answer. A total of 10 alternate-format questions are featured on the entire Mathematics test: You'll find seven in Part 1 and three in Part 2. One of these alternate-format questions will take the form of a coordinate plane. You'll have to grid in the correct answer on your answer sheet.
ABOUT THE REVIEW SECTION
Our reviews are written to help you understand the concepts behind the questions which will be asked on the actual GED. They will help you to prepare for the actual test by teaching you what you need to know. Each review is complete with drills which will help to reinforce the subject matter. The five review sections in this book correspond to the tests of the actual GED. By using the reviews in conjunction with the practice tests, you will be able to sharpen your skills and score well on the GED.
Language Arts: Writing Test Review
This section reviews correct sentence structure, usage, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, and includes drills to help reinforce these rules. Studying these rules will help you do well on both parts of the Writing Skills test. Also discussed in this review are essay writing techniques to aid you in developing a strong, well-organized essay for Part II of the Writing Skills test.
Social Studies Test Review
This review provides a rundown of what you will need to know to pass the Social Studies test. Included are reviews of history, economics, political science, and geography. Drills are also provided to help you enhance your skills to pass this test. Our review will familiarize you with Social Studies and help you to become accustomed to reading Social Studies documents and answering questions concerning such documents. It is important to remember that the GED Social Studies test does not require you to memorize the large volume of information that is covered on the test. The test questions will be based on information documents, tables, graphs, or charts provided within the test.
Science Test Review
Discussed in this review is everything you need to know to pass the Science test. Our review goes over the basics of biology (including cell biology, anatomy, ecology, and genetics), physics, space science, Earth science, and chemistry. Included are drills on biology, earth science, space science, physics, and chemistry. Like the Social Studies test, the Science test does not require you to memorize all of science. The questions are based on information documents, tables, or graphs.
Language Arts: Reading Test Review
This review will help you become familiar with the type of material that you will encounter on the actual GED. The extensive reviews and drills cover writing forms including fiction and nonfiction prose, poetry, drama, essay, and commentary. Studying the Language Arts: Reading Review will help you do well on this test.
Mathematics Test Review
The Math test review covers the basics of what you need to know to pass this test from arithmetic all the way to geometry. Our reviews will take you through problems step-by-step and will show you how to use important mathematical equations in certain math problems. At the end of each section, there are valuable drills which will help you to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the math concepts that will appear on the Mathematics test.
SCORING THE EXAM
How is the GED scored?
When you receive your GED score report from ACE, it will contain six scores. Five individual scores will be reported, one for Parts I and II of the Language Arts: Writing test, one for the Social Studies test, one for the Science test, one for the Language Arts: Reading test, and one for the Mathematics test. The sixth score listed on the score report will be an average of the five individual test scores.
During the scoring process, an individual test is first given a raw score, which is your total number of correct answers. The raw score is then converted into a standard score, which ranges from a low of 20 to a high of 80. The standard score is what appears on your score report. Since each test has a different number of questions, raw scores must be converted into standard scores so that your performance on each of the individual tests may be accurately compared. Since various forms of the GED are administered during any one examination, the use of standard scores also corrects for changes in difficulty level between the different forms of the test. In other words, your score should be about the same no matter what form of the test you are given.
Most states require a minimum standard score of 40 on each individual test and a minimum average score of 45 for all 5 tests. To achieve a standard score of 45 on any one of the individual tests, you must answer at least 50% of the test questions correctly.
How is my score obtained for the Writing test?
In order to obtain your score for the Writing Skills test, your raw score for both Parts are combined to form one raw score. Then, the raw score is converted into a standard score to give you a single, composite score for this test. Generally, the multiple-choice section of the Writing test is weighed more heavily than the essay. The composite score will consist of 60 to 65 percent of the multiple choice section and 35 to 40 percent of the essay.
Scoring your essay will require you to use the same technique used by the actual essay readers. A holistic method will be used to score your essay, in which two trained readers will read your paper and each assign it a score. The readers will judge your essay on its overall effectiveness and proper use of the rules of English, although they will not be keeping track of each and every mistake. Their overall impression of the essay will be the basis for your score.
Each essay will be graded using a four-point scale, with a score of four (4) being the highest and a score of one (1) being the lowest. The table below outlines what a GED essay reader will consider to be elements characterizing an essay at each score level.
GED Essay Scores
Score of 4 - An essay with a score of four will address the question with a strong main idea (thesis) and will continue to address the question throughout the essay. An essay with a score of a 4 will not drift in its focus. This essay will also be extremely well organized. It will be concise and easy to understand. The topic will be effectively supported with examples that illustrate the point of the essay. Very few errors in the use of Standard Written English will be noted. Word choice will be varied, clear, and appropriate.
Score of 3 - An essay with a score of three will be thoughtfully organized and present adequate support for the main idea. Some errors in the use of standard written English will appear, however, they will not be consistent.
Score of 2 - An essay with a score of two will be underdeveloped and not extensively organized, although the essay will show some signs of planning and organization. The ideas used to support the main idea will often be weak and repetitive. There will be many errors in the use of standard written English.
Score of 1 - An essay with a score of one will have virtually no structure and the numerous errors in the use of standard written English will make the essay difficult to understand. The essay will not be developed and will have no apparent purpose.
Once each reader has assigned the essay a score, the two scores are added together, provided they do not differ by more than one point. A score between 2 and 8 will be obtained. This is your raw score.
In some cases, one reader will assign an essay a low score, while the other reader will assign the same essay a high score. When such discrepancies occur with the two scores differing by more than one point, a third reader is called in to score the essay. The three scores are averaged (to do this, add the three scores together and divide by 3), then the average is doubled and rounded off to the nearest whole number. In such a case, this number would be your raw score.
You may want to find two or three people who are willing to score your essay so you can obtain an objective raw score using the process described above. Should you decide to grade your own essay, assign the essay a score, using the chart, then double that number to determine the raw score. If you feel that your essay is between two scores (perhaps it is between a 3 and a 4 essay), add both numbers together to obtain your raw score (3 + 4 = 7) and divide by two. After determining your essay's score, record the score in the Scoring Worksheet.
If you score your own essay, be objective! Most of us like to think that our work is excellent, but we must learn to see where there is room for improvement. On the other hand, some people have a tendency to automatically decide that their work is poor, when it may not be at all. Try to see your writing for what it is whether it is excellent, below average, or average.
Remember, you want to be able to answer at least 50% of the questions in each test correctly so that you can ensure yourself a passing score.
What is a passing score for the GED?
Every state has its own requirements for what constitutes a passing score for the GED. Generally, each state will require that you obtain a certain score for each of the individual subject tests, and then also obtain a certain average (total) score, which is a combination of all of your individual scores.
Listed on the following pages are the current GED requirements for each of the fifty states, U.S. territories, and Canada. Also included are age and residency requirements, testing fee amounts, and the title of the certificate which you will be awarded. For further information, you should contact your state's department of education.
Studying for the GED
It is important for you to choose the time and place for studying that works best for you. Some students may set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study, while others may choose to study at night before going to sleep. Other students may study during the day, while waiting in a line, or they may even study while eating lunch. Only you will be able to determine when and where your studying is most effective. The most important factor to keep in mind is consistency. Use your time wisely. Work out a study routine - and stick to it!
When you take the practice tests, try to make your practice conditions similar to actual testing conditions. Make sure you turn the television and radio off. Sit down at a quiet table which is free from distraction and time yourself! Afterwards, you should check each answer and thoroughly review the reasoning behind each question that you missed. You should not review too much at one time. Concentrate on each of your problem areas individually, until you feel comfortable with your ability in each of those areas.
Do not write in the margins and spaces of this book when practicing, since you will not be allowed to write in the test booklet when taking the actual test. Also, make sure you do not write anything on your answer sheet, except to mark the answer you choose. Make sure the question numbers correctly correspond to the question numbers on the answer sheet.
Keep track of your scores! You will be able to gauge your progress and discover general weaknesses in particular sections. You should carefully study the reviews that cover the areas which are causing you difficulty. This will help you build your skills in those areas.
GED Test-Taking Tips
You may be unfamiliar with standardized tests, such as the GED. There are many ways for you to familiarize yourself with this type of examination. Listed below are points to help you become familiar with the GED, some of which may be applied to other standardized tests, as well.
How to Beat the Clock
Become comfortable with the standardized format. When you are practicing to take the GED, pretend that you are under the same time constraints as you would be during the test. Stay calm, pace yourself, and pay attention to the clock. Practice these techniques thoroughly. After simulating the test only a few times, you will boost your chances of doing well and you will be able to sit down for the actual GED much more confidently.
Become familiar with the directions. Make sure you read and understand the directions before you take the exam, so that you do not waste valuable testing time.
Know the format for each section before you actually take the test. This will not only save you valuable time, but also ensure that you are familiar enough with the exam to avoid anxiety (and the mistakes that come from being anxious). Be sure to see details on the GED format elsewhere in this introduction.
Work on the easier questions first. Mark the very difficult questions (in the test booklet, not on the answer sheet) and continue. Remember, only correct answers will be counted in your score. You will not be penalized for guessing, so when you have either answered or marked all of the questions, go back and answer any of the difficult questions that you may have skipped. If you find yourself working too long on one question, mark it and go on. Be sure that you are marking your answer in the space that corresponds to the number of the question in the test booklet.
Know how much time is allowed for each section. Remember that you are racing against the clock. This is why you should not spend too much time on a single question. Budget your time. Every question has the same value, whether it is difficult or easy, so it is important to move on if a question becomes too time consuming. Pace yourself and make sure to check your time periodically to make sure that you are progressing at a swift, steady rate.
Should I guess?
If you don't know the answer to a question, guess! Eliminate answers that you know are wrong, and then pick the best answer from the ones that remain. Even if you can't eliminate any answers, guess anyway! Remember that there is no penalty for guessing, and only correct answers are counted. This means that you should never leave an answer choice blank. If you guess correctly, you will increase your number of correct answers, and if you guess wrong, you will not lose any points.
The Day of the Test
On the day of the test, you should wake up early (hopefully after a decent night's rest) and have a good breakfast. Make sure you dress comfortably, so that you are not distracted by being too hot or too cold while taking the exam. You should plan on arriving at the test center early. By being early, you will spare yourself the anxiety of being late for the test. It will also allow you to collect your thoughts and to relax before taking the exam.
Before you leave for the test center, make sure that you have two forms of identification. You will not be admitted to the test center without identification. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, passport, and green card.
Make sure you bring at least two sharpened No. 2 pencils, with erasers, to the exam. You may want to wear a watch to the test center; however, only ordinary watches will be permitted. Watches with alarms, calculator functions, flashing lights, beeping sounds, etc., will not be allowed. In addition, neither food nor calculators will be allowed into the examination room.
During the Test
When you arrive at the test center, try to sit in a seat where you feel you will be comfortable. The GED is usually administered during two or three sittings, depending on your test center. No breaks are given during the exam. If you need to use the rest room, or if you become ill, you may leave the examination room, but you will not be allowed to make up any lost time.
Once you enter the test center, follow all of the rules and instructions given by the test supervisor. If you do not, you risk being dismissed from the examination or having your GED scores voided (they will not be scored).
When all of the test materials have been passed out, the test instructor will give you directions for filling out your answer sheet. You must fill out this sheet carefully since this information will be printed on your score report. Fill out your name exactly as it appears on your identification documents and admission ticket, unless otherwise instructed.
Make sure you do not write in your test booklet or on your answer sheet, except to fill in the circle corresponding to the answer you choose. Scratch paper will be provided. You will be marking your answers on side two of your answer sheet. Each numbered row will contain five circles corresponding to each answer choice for that question. Fill in the circle which corresponds to your answer darkly, completely, and in a neat manner. You can change your answer, but remember to completely erase your old answer. Only one answer should be marked. This is very important, as your answer sheet will be machine scored, and stray lines or unnecessary marks may cause the machine to score your answers incorrectly.
Only work on the test section on which the test instructor has instructed you to work. You should begin only when instructed to do so, and stop, immediately, when instructed to stop. Do not turn to the next section of the test until you are told to do so. When all of the sections have been completed, you should remain seated until all of the test materials have been collected.
Good Luck on the GED!