Answering Questions on the GED Social Studies Test

By Achim K. Krull, Murray Shukyn

The GED Social Studies test gives you 65 minutes for the question-and-answer section. Although questions come in several formats (multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, drop-down menu, and drag-and-drop), they’re all basically multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blanks. A typical question looks like this:

Congress passed a law requiring all free states to return escaped slaves to their owners. Abolitionists were furious and the antislavery campaign received tremendous new support. The movement to prevent the return of fugitive slaves grew dramatically. The Dredd Scott decision of 1957 added to that anger as the Supreme Court ruled that blacks could never be citizens. The Court also ruled that the federal government had no authority to prohibit slavery in lands that had not yet become states nor to decide the status of slavery on their lands.

Why would returning fugitive slaves be a huge political issue?

  • (A) The abolitionists were vehemently opposed.

  • (B) There were organizations dedicated to helping slaves escape, increasing potential for conflict.

  • (C) The struggle of escaped slaves became symbolic of the entire issue.

  • (D) all of the above

Read the answer choices first and then skim the passage. A quick reading confirms that all choices are correct, so selecting Choice (D) is easy. This approach is great for many but not all questions. Sometimes you have no option but to read the passage closely.

You don’t have a great deal of time, so if you can’t decide on an answer, move on to the next question. Jot down the question number on one of the erasable tablets the testing center provides, and come back to the question if time remains at the end. Guessing is better than not answering. You don’t lose points for wrong answers. Unanswered questions earn no points, while a guess gives you a chance to earn points.

The test evaluates skills in a Social Studies context. It doesn’t evaluate how much you know about social studies. You can always find the answer in the reading passage and other content presented with the question.