Determining the Meaning of Scientific Symbols, Terms, and Phrases for the GED Science Test

By Murray Shukyn, Achim K. Krull

The GED Science test expects you to be able to “determine the meaning of symbols, terms, and phrases as they are used in scientific presentations.” This means you need to know the language of science, and the only way to know the language of science is to read a lot of science content and look up words, phrases, and any funky symbols you encounter.

Knowing the basics about energy flow in an ecosystem; the water cycle; the relationship among work, motion, and force; the various states of a chemical element; solar system fundamentals; and so on provides you with the framework to understand scientific symbols, terms, and phrases in context.

Questions such as these require a knowledge of science terminology to answer correctly.

  1. How does an endothermic chemical reaction differ from an exothermic reaction?

    • (A) An exothermic reaction absorbs heat, whereas an endothermic reaction releases heat.

    • (B) An exothermic reaction requires a great deal of energy to trigger while an endothermic reaction does not.

    • (C) An endothermic reaction absorbs heat, whereas an exothermic reaction releases heat.

    • (D) Endothermic reactions proceed much more quickly.

  2. The movement of water from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration is called

    • (A) osmosis

    • (B) phagocytosis

    • (C) respiration

    • (D) homeostasis

Check your answers:

  1. An exothermic reaction gives off heat (ex is Latin for “out of”); an endothermic reaction absorbs heat. Choice (C) is the correct answer.

  2. The movement of water from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration is called osmosis, Choice (A).