Description and Tips for the Social Studies Section of the GED

About this article
The social studies section is one of four subtests of the GED exam. This article will help you to prepare for the social studies section of the GED exam.
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Introduction to the Social Studies GED Test

The GED Testing Service (GEDTS), www.GEDTestingService.edu, states that the GED social studies test measures a candidate's ability to apply deep conceptual understanding and procedural skill and fluency to realistic situations. The material used for the questions are based not only on the standard high-school curriculum, but also on the skills and concepts most relevant to an adult population.

Social Studies Specifics

According to the GEDTS , the test covers the following four major areas (including percentage of area on the test):

  • Economics (15 percent)
  • Geography (15 percent)
  • US History (20 percent)
  • Government and Civics (50 percent)

The social studies subtest includes one of two extended response questions in the GED exam; Reasoning through Language Arts has the second.

Social Studies Tips

The Independent Learning Centre (ILC), www.ilc.org, states that you should first read over the test's written selections, asking yourself what the main idea presented in the text could be. Often the main idea is implied or stated in the first or last sentence. In addition, take special note of the details and examples in the section as they will support the main point. If any graphs, tables, cartoons, maps, photographs or other visual representations are presented in the selection you should not assume anything. Titles, labels, legends, data and captions should all be read carefully.

Sometimes the questions asked may require you to consider cause-and-effect relationships. Remember that a cause may have more than one effect and that, sometimes more than one cause can have the same result.

Bear in mind that some questions on the social studies portion of the test (known as 'analysis' questions) require that you read between the lines and use the information given in a different situation. In these cases, look at what is implied as seriously as you do what is stated.

As ILC states, pay close attention to what you are being asked to identify in any given question. Some questions ask you to differentiate between fact and opinion. Make sure you understand the difference: something is a fact if its truth can be proven, but an opinion is a judgment and may or may not be true. Sometimes you will be asked to draw only from information provided in the question when selecting the best answer. In such cases you should not use any prior or additional knowledge you may have to answer these questions.

Some questions (known as 'application' questions) will ask you to take a concept or an idea from material provided on the test and apply it to a different situation. Don't get too lost in the details in this case. Simply have a firm understanding of the original material's main idea, then think of some ways that this idea can be used in interpreting the new situation.

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