GED Sample Questions: Social Studies Multiple Choice Questions

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

For the Social Studies portion of the GED, you will be expected to answer multiple choice questions based on a provided text. Here is an example of what you might see on the Social Studies section.

Directions: Mark your answers on the answer sheet provided by filling in the corresponding oval or writing your answer in the blank box.

The questions in this article refer to the following passage, which is excerpted from CliffsQuickReview U.S. History I, by P. Soifer and A. Hoffman (Wiley).

Industry and Trade in the Thirteen Colonies

The colonies were part of an Atlantic trading network that linked them with England, Africa, and the West Indies. The pattern of commerce, not too accurately called the Triangular Trade, involved the exchange of products from colonial farms, plantations, fisheries, and forests with England for manufactured goods and the West Indies for slaves, molasses, and sugar.

In New England, molasses and sugar were distilled into rum, which was used to buy African slaves. Southern Europe was also a valuable market for colonial foodstuffs.

Colonial industry was closely associated with trade. A significant percentage of Atlantic shipping was on vessels built in the colonies, and shipbuilding stimulated other crafts, such as the sewing of sails, milling of lumber, and manufacturing of naval stores. Mercantile theory encouraged the colonies to provide raw materials for England’s industrializing economy; pig iron and coal became important exports. Concurrently, restrictions were placed on finished goods.

For example, Parliament, concerned about possible competition from colonial hatters, prohibited the export of hats from one colony to another and limited the number of apprentices in each hatmaker’s shop.

  1. What did England, Africa, and the West Indies have in common?

    • (A)They all had fisheries.

    • (B)They all bought slaves.

    • (C)They all distilled rum.

    • (D)They all exchanged products.

  2. What was rum used for?

    • (A)colonial farms

    • (B)milling of lumber

    • (C)purchase of slaves

    • (D)molasses and sugar

  3. Why were the colonies important to Atlantic trade?

    • (A)They built the ships.

    • (B)They sewed sails.

    • (C)They had naval stores.

    • (D)They milled lumber.

  4. How did the colonies support British industry?

    • (A)They took part in sewing.

    • (B)They produced finished goods.

    • (C)They developed mercantile theory.

    • (D)They provided raw materials.

  5. What product was threatened by colonial competition?

    • (A)coal

    • (B)pig iron

    • (C)hats

    • (D)lumber

Answer Key

  1. D. They all exchanged products.

    England, Africa, and the West Indies all traded products: The West Indies traded molasses, sugar, and slaves with England for food and wood. England (via the New England colonies) then made the molasses and sugar into rum and traded it with Africa for more slaves.

  2. C. purchase of slaves.

    Rum was used to purchase slaves for use in the colonies. The other answer choices — colonial farms, milling of lumber, and molasses and sugar — were all patterns of commerce but weren’t uses of rum.

  3. A. They built the ships.

    Ships were built in the colonies to increase Atlantic trade. Sewing sails, naval stores, milled lumber, and other crafts were products of the colonies that shipbuilding stimulated, but ships were the primary reason the colonies were important to the Atlantic trade — the other choices were secondary.

  4. D. They provided raw materials.

    The colonies provided raw materials for British manufacturing industries. According to the passage, “Mercantile theory encouraged the colonies to provide raw materials for England’s industrializing economy…”

  5. C. hats.

    The export of hats — a finished good — from the colonies was prohibited because it threatened British manufacturing. Coal, pig iron, and lumber, were all raw materials, which didn’t threaten English manufacturing.