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GED Sample Questions: Science Theory

On the Science portion of the GED, you are expected to have a working knowledge of scientific theory, that is similar to that expected of a high school student. Check out the following example for practice with this type of question.

The questions in this article refer to the following passage.

The Big Bang Theory

It is hard enough to imagine the universe as it is now and even harder to create a theory about how it all began. In the 1940s, George Gamow began to develop such a theory. Georges Lemaitre, another scientist, had also been working on the problem, and Gamow used some of the ideas of Lemaitre to develop his theory.

Gamow proposed the following theory: Somewhere between 10 and 21 billion years ago, there was a giant explosion in space. Before the explosion, the universe was the size of an atomic nucleus, with a temperature of about 10 billion degrees. The explosion started the expansion of the universe. Quarks, or elemental particles, existed in huge numbers.

Within a millisecond, the universe had expanded to the size of a grapefruit. The temperature cooled to 1 billion degrees. The quarks began to clump into protons and neutrons. Minutes later, the universe was still too hot for electrons and protons to form into atoms: a super-hot, fog-like environment.

With passing time and cooling temperatures, nuclear reactions took place, and within 300,000 years, atoms of hydrogen and helium began to emerge. As the atoms formed, light began to shine. The universe was taking shape.

Gravity began to act on the atoms and transform them into galaxies. Within 1 billion years of that first great explosion, galaxies and stars began to form. Within 15 billion years, planets began to emerge from the heavy elements thrown off by the dying of stars. The universe started with a big bang and continues to grow and change according to this theory.

  1. The temperature of the first tiny particles was thought to be _______ billion degrees.

  2. For galaxies to have been transformed from atoms, what was necessary?

    • (A)heat

    • (B)pressure

    • (C)centrifugal force

    • (D)gravity

  3. This theory is called the “Big Bang” because

    • (A)An interplanetary war created a void, which the planets were formed to fill.

    • (B)An immense explosion created the planets.

    • (C)Hydrogen causes immense explosions when ignited.

    • (D)The explosion was very loud.

  4. How is the formation of hydrogen and helium atoms related to the possible destruction from an atomic bomb?

    • (A)Both use hydrogen.

    • (B)No relation exists.

    • (C)Both result from explosions.

    • (D)Both are nuclear reactions.

Answer Key

  1. 10.

    The passage states that the temperature of the first tiny particles was 10 billion degrees.

  2. D. gravity.

    The last paragraph states that gravity transformed the atoms into galaxies. This question is an example of when a basic knowledge of science-related words can be helpful.

  3. B. An immense explosion created the planets.

    The passage states that immense explosions created the planets when the space debris was attracted to each other by gravity.

  4. D. Both are nuclear reactions.

    An atomic bomb uses a nuclear reaction to produce its massive damage. The passage states that hydrogen and helium atoms were formed by nuclear reactions (Choice D). The other three choices (A, B, and C) don’t answer the question based on the passage. Choice (A) may be right, but it’s irrelevant in this context. Choice (B) is incorrect, and Choice (C) may be interesting, but it’s wrong here.

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