Boosting Your GED Science Score on Test Day

By Murray Shukyn, Achim K. Krull

You can increase your GED Science test score by mastering a few smart test-taking strategies. Here are some tips to boost your score during the test and when composing your short answer responses.

Improving your approach to answering questions

When you start the GED Science test, resist any urge to rush through the questions. Pace yourself. You wouldn’t sprint at the start of a marathon. However, you have only a certain amount of time for each section of the GED test, so time management is an important part of succeeding on the test. You need to plan and use your time wisely.

During the test, the computer keeps you constantly aware of the time with a clock in the upper right-hand corner. Pay attention to the clock. When the test begins, check that time and be sure to monitor how much time you have left as you work your way through the test.

You have about 108 seconds for each question and answer item (90 minutes to answer approximately 50 questions, including 2 extended response items which you should allot 10 minutes each to answer). Do the easiest questions first. If you get stuck on a question, leave it and come back to it later, if you have time. Keeping to that schedule and answering as many questions as possible are essential. If you don’t monitor the time for each question, you won’t have time to answer all the questions on the test.

Here are a few additional tips:

  • Keep calm and carry on. The time you spend panicking could be better spent answering questions.

  • Answer the easiest ones first. Nobody except you will ever know, or care, in which order you answer the questions, so do the easiest questions first. You’ll answer them fastest. Other questions require more thought and decision-making. Save your extra seconds for those questions.

  • Whenever you read a question, ask yourself, “What am I being asked?” That helps you stay focused on what you need to find out to answer the question. Then try to answer it.

  • Try to eliminate some answer choices. Even if you don’t really know the answer, guessing can help. When you’re offered four answer choices, some will be obviously wrong. Eliminate those choices and you’ve already improved your odds of guessing a correct answer. You get between 1 and 3 points for every correct answer.

    Nothing is subtracted for incorrect answers. That means you can guess on the items you don’t know for sure without fear that you’ll lose points. Make educated guesses by eliminating as many obviously wrong choices as possible and choosing from just one or two remaining choices.

  • Don’t obsess over really hard questions. If a question has you stumped, take your best guess, jot down the question number on your erasable tablet (provided with the test), and move on. If time remains at the end, return to that question.

  • Don’t overthink. Because all the questions are straightforward, don’t look for hidden or sneaky questions. The questions ask for an answer based on the information given. If you don’t have enough information to answer the question, one of the answer choices will say so.

  • Find the best answer and quickly verify that it answers the question. If it does, click on that choice and move on. If it doesn’t, leave it and come back to it after you answer all the other questions, if you have time.

    You need to pick the most correct answer from the choices offered. It may not be the perfect answer, but it is what is required.

  • Make sure your answer really answers the question. Wrong choices usually don’t answer the question — that is, they may sound good, but they answer a different question than the one the test asks.

  • When two answers appear very close, consider both answers carefully because they both can’t be right — but they both can be wrong. Some answer choices may be very close and appear correct, but there’s a fine line between completely correct and nearly correct. Be careful. These answer choices are sometimes given to see whether you really understand the material.

  • Look for opposite answers in the hopes that you can eliminate one. If two answers contradict each other, both can’t be right, but both can be wrong.

  • Trust your instincts. Some choices may strike you as wrong when you reread them. If you spend time preparing for these exams, you probably know more than you think. Don’t change a lot of questions at the last minute. Second-guessing yourself can lead to trouble.

Writing an exceptional short answer response

The GED Science test contains short answer response questions that require different strategies and tactics. Here are a few suggestions for writing a stellar short answer response:

  • Read the prompt carefully. The prompt instructs you on what to write about.

  • State your thesis (main claim) clearly and succinctly in the first sentence of the first paragraph. Don’t try to get creative and hold off until the end to reveal the mystery.

  • Cite evidence from the reading passages and other material presented. You must back up your claims with evidence from the materials presented.

  • Use any extra time to reread and review your final essay. You may have written a good essay, but if you have time, check for typos and grammar errors. However, clarity, sound reasoning, and using evidence to support your claims are much more important than writing an error-free essay.