Description and Tips for the Language Arts-Reading Section of the GED

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Reasoning Through Language Arts is one of four test sections on the General Education Development, or GED Test that most states offer for people who want to earn a high school equivalency diploma. Read on to learn more about the test, and for some tips for when you take it.
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Reasoning through Language Arts

The Reasoning Through Language Arts test section of the GED assesses your reading and writing skills. The three-part test, which is taken on computer, is 150 minutes long with short breaks. Part 2 of the test requires an essay that you will have 45 minutes to write.

Parts 1 and 3 are a mix of multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, drop-and-drag, hot spot and drop-down selection questions that test both reading and writing skills.

The reading questions focus on your ability to read and analyze different informational and literary texts. Questions might ask you to summarize ideas, draw conclusions, determine an author's point of view or evaluate claims made in an argument.

The writing questions may ask you to identify and edit run-on sentences, sentence fragments, misplaced modifiers and other errors. Questions might also ask you to develop and support an argument with evidence provided in a passage.


The GED website ( has a short, free language arts test that will give you a feel for the types of questions on the test. There is also an official Reasoning Through Language Arts practice test that tells you if you're ready for the actual test, or if you need more time to study. The practice test is $6.

The GED website has some general tips for anyone taking the language arts test.

  • Read the entire passage or selection before you answer the questions. Most questions will assume that you have an overall understanding of the complete selection.
  • If you come across a word or phrase you don't understand, use the surrounding words to figure out the meaning
  • If a question has line references, use them to check the meaning of the lines within the context of the text
  • Make sure you understand exactly what a question is asking. You might select answer that is correct, but not the answer to the specific question.

The GED website has guidelines for the essay section of the language arts test which include a list of tips on how to write a successful essay. The guidelines tell you to be sure to defend your argument with evidence from the text, build your ideas in logical order, use transitions between sentences and paragraphs and vary your sentence structure. You should also take the time to choose the best words to express your ideas, and give yourself enough time at the end to revise and correct any errors.

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