GED Practice Test Questions

Millions of Americans have used the General Education Development (GED) test as a stepping stone to a dramatically better education, a much higher paying job, and a much better quality of life overall. The test has been around for quite some time; it was developed to help soldiers returning from World War II get good jobs or college educations. (Many of them had enlisted in the military without finishing high school.) The GED was created to test people for the knowledge and skills a high school graduate should possess. Because of this, a GED is considered to be as good as a high school diploma.

The GED is actually five different tests put together: Language Arts (Writing), Language Arts (Reading), Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics. The test can be taken either on a computer or the old fashioned pencil and paper way. Currently, it's not possible to take the GED test over the internet. It has to be done in person, at an officially approved testing center, no matter which version a person takes. At some testing centers, a person will take all five tests the same day, while at others, the testing process is broken up into two separate days.

The Writing section has two parts. On the first one, the person is given several written passages to read. They will then be asked to correct mistakes or improve the writing in spots. There are 50 questions on this part, and it takes 75 minutes. On the second part, the test taker has 45 minutes to write an essay on a given topic to show that they have mastered spelling, grammar, sentence construction, punctuation, etc. Social Studies lasts 70 minutes and has 50 questions on history (US and world), government, geography, economics, etc.

On the Science section, test takers have 80 minutes to answer 50 questions on all aspects of the different sciences - life science, earth science, physical science, etc.

The Reading section has 40 questions and lasts 65 minutes. Seven passages are given, both fiction and non-fiction, and the questions will test for reading comprehension and application.

Mathematics is 90 minutes long with 50 questions concerning basic math, fractions, measurements, geometry, statistics, data analysis, probability, and algebra.

Passing the GED can truly be a life changing event, but it's not easy. To earn a passing score takes desire, hard work, and proper preparation. Study aids are very important, and so is a commitment to regular study habits.

Practice Questions

Language Arts (Writing)

Questions 1-5 refer to the following article:

Only Temporary
A

1. Many businesses in the United States regularly hire "temps", or temporary workers. 2. Now known as the staffing industry, temp work employs nearly 3 million people and generating more than $40 billion annually. 3. Because jobs are no longer secure, many people find that moving from job to job is a good way to improve they're skills. 4. They sometimes find the perfect job and are hired as a full-time employee. 5. Businesses love temps, they save the company money because temps do not receive benefits.

B

(6) Would temp work be a good move for you? (7) If you are the kind of worker who bores quickly and needs new challenges, temping may be the way to go. (8) Temp work may offer a more flexible schedule and it gives a changing work environment. (9) On the down side, you will not get benefits, such as paid vacations or health insurance. (10) You may not always be treated very well, because temp workers come and go.

C

(11) If you are currently looking for a job, temp work can add valuable experience to your resume. (12) It also allows you time to look for and interviewing for a new permanent job. (13) In addition, temp work is a great way to explore different careers. (14) Many temp jobs are temp-to-hire, because the company needs to fill a position and is looking among temp workers for a permanant hire. (15) You may be just the employee they are seeking!

1. Sentence 1: "Many businesses in the United States regularly hire "temps", or temporary workers."

What correction should be made to this sentence?

  1. remove the quotation marks from temps
  2. place the comma inside the quotation marks
  3. change the spelling of temporary to temparary
  4. remove the comma after temps
  5. do not capitalize United States

2. Sentence 2: "Now known as the staffing industry, temp work employs nearly 3 million people and generating more than $40 billion annually."

What correction should be made to this sentence?

  1. change industry to industries
  2. change work to works
  3. change employs to employing
  4. change generating to generates
  5. end the sentence with a question mark

3. Sentence 3: "Because jobs are no longer secure, many people find that moving from job to job is a good way to improve they're skills." What correction should be made to this sentence?

  1. change Because to Since
  2. remove the comma after secure
  3. change good to well
  4. change skills to skill
  5. change they're to their

4. Sentence 4: "They sometimes find the perfect job and are hired as a full-time employee."

Which of the following is the best way to write the underlined portion of this sentence? If you think the original is the best way to write the sentence, choose option 1..

  1. are hired as a full-time employee.
  2. are hired as full-time employees.
  3. is hired as a full-time employee.
  4. is hired as a fulltime employee.
  5. are hired as a fulltime employee.

5. Sentence 5: "Businesses love temps, they save the company money, because temps do not receive benefits."

Which of the following is the best way to write the underlined portion of this sentence? If you think the original is the best way to write the sentence, choose option 1.

  1. Businesses love temps, they save
  2. Businesses love temps, it saves
  3. Businesses love temps; they save
  4. Businesses love temps, they saves
  5. Businesses loves temps, they save

Social Studies

Questions 6 and 7 refer to the following information:

6. Mayan civilization is unlike the Aztec and Incan civilizations because

  1. it collapsed without an outside conqueror.
  2. it was the last empire to end.
  3. it was located in North America.
  4. it was conquered by the Spanish.
  5. it was the only one to practice human sacrifice.

7. Which of the following conclusions is supported by the information above?

  1. Several nations in South America were conquered by Portugal.
  2. The Aztec civilization was the oldest of the three listed.
  3. Spain followed an aggressive policy of capturing new lands during the sixteenth century.
  4. Incan warriors tried to assist the Aztec against the Spanish.
  5. No descendants of the Maya still live in Central America.

Question 8 refers to the following information:

Number of Small Business Administration Loans to Minority-Owned Small Businesses in 2000 and 2005.

8. Which of the following statements is accurate?

  1. The number of loans increased in every ethnic group category.
  2. The number of loans to African Americans doubled in five years.
  3. Native Americans represent the smallest number of loans.
  4. The greatest number of loans in 2000 was to Hispanic Americans.
  5. The Small Business Administration distributes loans in equal numbers to all ethnicities.

Question 9 refers to the following passage:

ARTICLE XXVII (Ratified July 1, 1971)

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

9. This amendment to the Constitution was ratified in part because of what historical reality?

  1. Women gained the right to vote.
  2. Suffrage was extended to all African Americans.
  3. Young men were being drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.
  4. The number of people under 21 years of age increased.
  5. College students wanted to be able to vote.

Questions 10 refers to the following map:

10. The Lewis and Clark expedition of 1803 set out from

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. the Rocky Mountains.
  3. Fort Mandan.
  4. the Mississippi River.
  5. Yellowstone National Park.

Language Arts (Reading)

Questions 11-15 refer to the following passage:

What Is Disturbing the Fun?

It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies), there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.

-Excerpted from "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe

11. The clock in this passage symbolizes

  1. the brief amount of time the orchestra played.
  2. the movement from early morning to evening.
  3. the passage of time and nearness of death.
  4. the fading beauty of all things.
  5. the lack of attention the dancers paid to the music.

12. The scene that is being described is of a

  1. concert.
  2. formal dinner.
  3. garden party.
  4. boating tournament.
  5. ball.

13. The action stops when

  1. the host announces dinner.
  2. the clock chimes the hour.
  3. an uninvited guest arrives.
  4. guests are asked to remove their masks.
  5. members of the orchestra leave.

14. What does the reader infer will happen in the story?

  1. The musicians will soon be playing for the king.
  2. The police will arrive to stop the evening's pleasures.
  3. The clock will explode at midnight.
  4. At least one person there will die.
  5. The host will throw out the rowdy guests.

15. Which words best describes the tone of this passage?

  1. lighthearted and sunny
  2. humorous and merry
  3. mysterious and forbidding
  4. angry and bitter
  5. negative and sarcastic

Mathematics

Question 16 is based on the following figure:

16. The figure shows an irregular quadrilateral and the lengths of its individual sides. Which of the following equations best represents the perimeter of the quadrilateral?

  1. m4 + 5
  2. 2m4 + 5
  3. 4m + 5
  4. 5m + 5
  5. 4m2 + 5

17. The distance traveled by a moving object is computed from the relation d = rt, where r is the rate of travel(speed) and t is the time of travel. A major league pitcher throws a fastball at a speed of 125 ft/sec. The distance from the pitching rubber to home plate is 60.5 feet. How long, in seconds, does it take a fastball to travel this distance? Compute your answer to the nearest hundredth of a second.

18. Which of the following could be a graph of the function y= 1 / x ?


Question 19 is based upon the following figure:

19. In the figure above, segment BC is 4 units long, segment CD is 8 units long, and segment DE is 6 units long. What is the length of segment AC?

  1. 7 units
  2. 5 units
  3. 3 units
  4. 2.5 units
  5. 4 units

20. Arrange the following numbers in order from the least to greatest 23, 42, 60, 9, 101.

  1. 23, 42, 60, 9, 101
  2. 60, 9, 101, 23, 42
  3. 101, 23, 60, 9, 42
  4. 60, 23, 9, 101, 42
  5. 9, 60, 101, 42, 23

Science

Questions 21 and 22 are based upon the following figure and text:

A vibrating source will produce sound by alternately forcing the air molecules in front of it closer together as it moves towards them, and then further apart as it draws away from them. In this way, alternating regions of high and low pressure, called compressions and refractions, are produced. The figure shows a typical sound wave. The volume of the sound corresponds to the magnitude of the compression, represented by the amplitude of the wave. The sound's pitch corresponds to the wave's frequency, the distance between successive compressions. Humans can hear sounds with frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hertz. Sound waves propagate in all directions from their source. The speeds at which sound waves travel depend upon the medium they are traveling through. In dry air, sound travels at 330 m/sec at 0°C. It travels 4 times faster through water, and 15 times faster through a steel rod.

21. The sound produced by a drum is much louder and lower pitched than that produced by a bell. Which of the following statements is true about the sound wave produced by a drum compared to that produced by a bell?

  1. The amplitude is greater and the wavelength is shorter.
  2. The amplitude is greater and the wavelength is longer.
  3. The amplitude is smaller and the wavelength is longer.
  4. The amplitude is smaller and the wavelength is shorter.
  5. The amplitude is greater and the wavelength is the same.

22. Two sound waves of exactly the same frequency and amplitude are produced by sources that are in precisely the same position. If the sound waves are out of phase by one-half a wavelength, what will be heard by an observer standing a short distance away?

  1. A sound twice as loud as either individual signal
  2. A sound at twice the frequency of either individual signal
  3. A sound at twice the wavelength as either individual signal
  4. No sound at all
  5. A sound with varying intensity

Questions 23 and 24 are based on the following figure and text:

Cancer cells of the murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cell line were cultured in normal growth medium (control) and in two different concentrations of the anti-cancer drug methotrexate (MTX) for a period of ten days. Samples were removed periodically, and the number of cells per milliliter of culture was determined. Each point in the figure represents the mean of five determinations.

23. growth of cells in the absence of drugs in this experiment can best be described as:

  1. Linear
  2. Exponential
  3. Derivative
  4. Inhibited
  5. Asymptotic

24. Which of the following statements is supported by the data?

  1. Methotrexate does not inhibit cell growth.
  2. 0.1 millimolar methotrexate inhibits the growth of bacteria.
  3. 10 micromolar methotrexate effectively suppresses cell growth.
  4. 0.1 millimolar methotrexate marginally inhibits cell growth.
  5. 100 micromolar methotrexate effectively suppresses cell growth.

Question 25 is based upon the following figure:

43. The figure shows an airtight cylinder into which fluid may be injected from the bottom. The cylinder contains a heavy piston which is raised by the injected fluid until the rod on top of the piston touches the top of the cylinder container. Fluids of different densities are injected, and an observer records the volume required to make the rod reach the top. Which of the following fluids will require the least injected volume?

  1. Water
  2. Oil
  3. Alcohol
  4. Grease
  5. The same volume will be required for all fluids.

Answers and Explanations

1. B: Commas belong inside the terms in quotation marks. Option 1. is incorrect; the word is being distinguished as a slang or insider term and thus requires quotation marks. Choice 3. is also wrong. The word temporary is correctly spelled as written. Option 4. is incorrect. The comma is required because it introduces an appositive phrase that defines the term before the comma. Choice 5., likewise, is not correct. The United States is the name of a particular country; as such, it is a proper noun and, therefore, requires capitalization.

2. D: This is a question related to parallel structure. Employs and generating need to be parallel verbs. The best way to achieve that is by making both present tense. Option 1. is incorrect; the staffing industry is a single unit not requiring a plural. Likewise, in choice 2., the term is singular and needs to remain so, making this a false answer. Choice 3. cannot be done without adding more words, which is awkward. Choice 5. is incorrect; this is not an interrogative statement but a declarative one requiring a period.

3. E: The problem in the sentence is the wrong homonym used. The word their is possessive, which is required in the sentence. They're is a contract of they are, and makes no sense. Although it is common usage to use since when stating a reason, the word is best used as indicating passage of time. Because is used correctly, making option 1. wrong. Choice 3. is also wrong. Good and well are often confused, but good is correct here. Choice 4. makes skills singular; this is not a correct choice. One hopes for a worker who has more than one skill.

4. B: The issue is antecedent agreement; the pronoun they requires a plural noun, employees. Choice 1. is incorrect because the original creates a disagreement between the noun and the pronoun to which it refers. Option 3. is incorrect; it does not deal with the real issue and creates a further complication by adding a disagreement between subject and verb. Response 4. is also wrong. Omitting the hyphen in full-time and adding a disagreement between subject and verb does not correct the real problem. This is also true for option 5., which merely removes the hyphen.

5. C: The problem with the way the sentence is written is that it creates a run-on via a comma splice. By using a semicolon to show that the thoughts of both sentences are related, the problem is eliminated. Answer 1. is incorrect; the original contains a comma splice. Answer 2. is also wrong. It does not solve the comma splice and creates a pronoun-antecedent problem. Answer 4. is incorrect because it creates a subject-verb agreement problem. Answer 5., likewise, creates a subject-verb agreement problem in the first clause and is incorrect.

6. A: The Mayan Empire collapsed internally, whereas the other civilizations were conquered by the Spanish. The Incan Empire was the last to fall, making number 2 an incorrect choice. None of the empires was located in North America, as the head of the chart makes clear, so number 3 is not valid. The Mayans were not conquered by Spain, as the other two empires were. Number 4 is thus incorrect. Number 5 covers information from outside the chart; still, it was not the only empire that offered human sacrifice, as students may recall from their general knowledge, making this an incorrect choice.

7. C: The Spanish conquistadors were active in both Central and South America during the sixteenth century. Number 1 is incorrect; Portugal was active in Brazil, but that location is not mentioned in the chart. The Mayan empire is older than both Aztec and Incan civilizations, making number 2 incorrect. There is no indication that the Incan warriors in Peru tried to assist the Aztec of Mexico when they battled the Spanish more than a decade before another conquistador would arrive in Peru. Number 5 cannot be known from the chart, but it is false; Mayan peoples live in Guatemala.

8. C: Loans to Native Americans remain fewer than a thousand and are the smallest category represented. Response 1 is incorrect; the number of loans to Asian American decreased during this five-year period. The number of loans to African Americans more than doubled during this period, making option 2 incorrect. In 2000, the highest number of loans went to Asian Americans, not to Hispanic Americans; thus response 4 is inaccurate. At no time were the loans distributed equally to all minority groups, so number 5 is also wrong.

9. C: Young people protested being old enough to fight and die for their country while being denied voting rights. Number 1 is incorrect because women had gained the right to vote with passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Number 2 is also wrong. African American males were guaranteed suffrage following the Civil War; African American females gained the right in 1920. The baby boom ended in 1964, so number 4 is not correct. Not all people 18 years of age were in college, so number 5 is wrong as well.

10. D: The route began at the Mississippi River. Response 1 is incorrect; the order came from President Jefferson in Washington, D.C., but the expedition did not leave from that city. Rather, St. Louis was the starting point. The second answer is also incorrect; the group had to cross the Rockies but did not begin its journey there. Fort Mandan was one of the forts constructed farther west, along the way, and cannot be the correct answer, thus eliminating choice 3. Answer 5 is incorrect, not only geographically but also temporally because the park had not yet been established.

11. C: The clock is ebony, symbolizing death, and it is placed against the western wall of the room. The sun sets in the west, another symbol of death. Words such as dull, heavy, and monotonous also provide a clue. The momentary pause of the orchestra members at the end of each hour prefigures the final pause that all the dancers and orchestra members will make. Poe writes that "the giddiest grew pale," an allusion to the pallor of death. Other words suggesting the finality of death are nervousness, disconcert, tremulousness, and meditation.

12. E: The passage refers to musicians, but choice 1 is not accurate because the passage also mentions waltzers who had to stop dancing when the musicians of the orchestra stopped playing, making 5 correct. There is no indication of food in the descriptions given of the apartment where the clock is located. A garden party would be held outdoors while this is clearly an interior scene. This need for an outdoor setting is true as well of a boating party. Thus the first four options are all incorrect, leaving only choice 5.

13. B: Because of the sound of the chiming clock, the musicians stop, which means the dancers stop as well. Choice 1 is not accurate. The passage makes no mention of food or a meal or even of the host. Although an uninvited guest makes an appearance in the story, that scene is not included here, so choice 3 is incorrect. The passage does not indicate that the dancers are masked nor that they are asked to remove their masks. This means option 4 is not correct. The members of the orchestra do not leave during the passage, making choice 5 the wrong one.

14. D: The passage refers specifically to "the Time that flies," a reminder of the brevity of life. The pause of both orchestra and dancers when the clock strikes is simply a prelude to the final pause. There is not enough information in the passage to indicate that a king even exists, nor is there mention of the skill of the orchestra. Thus number 1 can be eliminated. There is no indication of the need for police, making option 2 incorrect. The clock seems to be in good working order, and thus the third choice is incorrect. Choice 5 suggests rowdy guests, which the passage does not support.

15. C: mysterious and forbidding. The passage does not answer the mystery of why the orchestra and dancers regularly halt at the sound of the chimes. Many of the words-such as ebony, disconcert, pale, confused, and tremulousness-in the passage refer to puzzles or gloominess. The other choices are extremes that cannot be supported. Choices 1 and 2 are too light for the passage, whereas choices 4 and 5 are too negative. The passage hints at negative events to come, but these are not expressed in the passage itself.

16. D: The perimeter (P) of the quadrilateral is simply the sum of its sides, or

P = m + (m + 2) + (m + 3) + 2m

Combine like terms by adding the variables (m terms) together and then adding the constants resulting in:

P = 5m + 5

In this application, it appears that some of the variables do not have a number in front of them; however, the absence of a coefficient indicates multiplication by 1 hence m = 1m, x = 1x, and so on.

17. The correct answer is 0.48 seconds. Modify the relationship given in the question to solve for the time. Since d = rt , then time (t) equals t = d / r = 60.5 ft / 125 ft / sec = 0.484 sec. Rounding to the nearest hundredth of a second gives the answer 0.48 seconds.

18. A: This is a typical plot of an inverse variation, in which the product of the dependent and independent variables, x and y, is always equal to the same value. In this case the product is always equal to 1, so the plot occupies the first and third quadrants of the coordinate plane. As x increases and approaches infinity, y decreases and approaches zero, maintaining the constant product. In contrast, answer B is a linear plot corresponding to an equation of the form y = x . C is a quadratic plot corresponding to y = x2. D is an exponential plot corresponding to y = 2x. E is another linear plot corresponding to y = x / 4+ 1.

19. B: The two right triangles are similar because they share a pair of vertical angles. Vertical angles are always congruent (angle ACB and angle DCE). Obviously both right angles (angle B and angle D) are congruent. Thus, angles A and E are congruent because of the triangular sum theorem.

With similar triangles, corresponding sides will be proportional. Segment BC is ½ the length of segment CD, therefore AC will be ½ the length of CE. The length of CE can be computed from the Pythagorean theorem, since it is the hypotenuse of a right triangle for which the lengths of the other two sides are known: CE = √6 2 + 82 = √100 = 10.

The length of segment AC will be ½ of this value, or 5 units.

20. D: When a number is raised to a power, it is multiplied by itself as many times as the power indicates. For example, 23 = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. A number raised to the power of 0 is always equal to 1, so 60 is the smallest number shown. Similarly, for the other numbers: 9 = 91 = 9; 101 = 10; 42 = 4 x 4 = 16.

21. B: The pitch of a sound depends upon the frequency of the sound wave. The higher the frequency, the higher the sound's pitch. Frequency varies inversely with wavelength, so that a higher pitched sound with a higher frequency will have a longer wavelength. The volume of a sound depends upon the degree to which the molecules of air (or any other medium through which the sound travels) are compressed. This compression is represented by the wave amplitude. The greater the amplitude, the louder the sound.

22. D: The waves corresponding to the two emitted sounds will be added, and what will be heard by the observer will be the sum of the two waves. Since these waves are one-half of a wavelength apart, they are perfectly out of phase, and they will cancel one another out. That is, the amplitude peak of one wave will coincide in space with the amplitude trough of the other. This phenomenon is called cancellation. The opposite is also possible: if the waves were perfectly in phase, they would combine additively, producing a much louder sound. Finally, if the waves were out of phase with one another, this would cause the intensity of the sound to vary.

23. B: The vertical axis of this graph is an exponential scale, with each regularly-spaced tick mark corresponding to a ten-fold increase in the quantity being measured. The curve corresponding to the control cells, those grown in the absence of the drug, shows a cell concentration of approximately 500 cells/mL at the start, 5000 cells/mL after 4 days, and 50,000 cells per mL after 8 days, indicating an exponential growth pattern in which the number of cells increases by a factor of ten every four days.

24. E: The effects of two concentrations of methotrexate (MTX) on the growth of cancer cells are shown by the open pentagons and solid squares in the figure. These growth curves may be compared to the growth of untreated cells (the control) shown by the solid circles. It can be seen that, at a concentration of 10 micromoles per liter (10 micromolar), cell growth is slightly inhibited when compared to the control. At the greater concentration of 100 micromoles per liter (equivalent to 0.1 millimolar), the cells do not grow at all. The experiment is concerned with cancer cells, not bacteria, so choice B is incorrect.

25. E: Since the cylinder is airtight, the piston cannot sink into the injected fluids, so it will not displace a volume of fluid equal to its weight. Since liquids are not compressible, the density of the injected fluid makes no difference in this experiment. Equal volumes of any fluid will raise the cylinder by an equal amount.

By Lindsay Downs

Last Updated: 06/20/2014

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