Cheat Sheet

GED Science Test For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From GED Science For Dummies

By Murray Shukyn, Achim K. Krull

To perform well on the GED Science test, you need to be able to read closely, draw conclusions from data presented in various formats (text, charts, images, and so on), and write two well-reasoned short answer responses. This Cheat Sheet provides a glimpse of what you need to know to perform well on the GED Science test, gives you an overview of the scientific method, and helps you brush up on some life science terminology.

Recognizing the Knowledge and Skills Required to Pass the GED Science Test

Uncertainty can generate significant test anxiety. Knowing what’s on the GED Science test will reduce that anxiety. Although all questions on the test are relevant to the world of science, you really don’t need a huge body of scientific knowledge to do well on the test.

The test is designed to evaluate your skills — your ability to understand information presented in different formats and use your power of reason to arrive at the correct answer. More specifically, the test evaluates the following skills:

  • Identify textual evidence that supports a conclusion.

  • Extract details from information presented visually in graphs, tables, illustrations, and so on.

  • Determine the meaning of symbols, and terms and phrases (vocabulary), used in a scientific context.

  • Reason from data or evidence presented to a conclusion.

  • Make a reasonable prediction based on data or evidence presented.

  • Identify and refine a hypothesis for a scientific investigation.

  • Identify possible sources of error in an experimental design.

  • Understand and apply scientific models, theories, and laws and related formulas.

  • Summarize a data set in statistical terms.

  • Express scientific information numerically, symbolically, and visually.

  • Determine the probability of an event occurring.

  • Use counting and permutations to gauge possibilities.

Understanding the Scientific Method for the GED Science Test

The scientific method is a step-by-step approach to answering science questions and solving problems that you will need to know for the GED Science test. It ensures the credibility and reproducibility of experimental evidence. Here’s a detailed version of the scientific method:

  1. Observe.

    Many of the most important scientific discoveries start with an observation — information obtained primarily through the senses (seeing, hearing, touching, and so on).

  2. Research.

    Another scientist may have answered the question or solved the problem already. Research provides insight into what’s already been done to answer the question or solve the problem.

  3. Formulate a hypothesis.

    A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a condition or occurrence that can be tested and either proved or disproved (falsified). A hypothesis can usually be phrased as an if/then question; for example, “If I warm a cup of water, it will dissolve more sugar.”

  4. Define variables and controls.

    Establishing variables and controls is the first step toward designing an experiment:

    • Variables: Conditions that are changed to determine the effects of those changes. In the water/sugar example, heat is the variable being changed.

    • Controls: Conditions that remain unchanged, to prevent them from influencing the results. In the water/sugar example, using water from the same source and making sure the same amount of water is used for each test are controls.

  5. Create a procedure.

    A procedure is a step-by-step process for conducting the experiment or study, including specifics about the data that will be collected and how it will be recorded.

  6. List and gather the required materials.

    Before starting an experiment or study of any sort, the scientist needs to gather all the supplies needed, including, in some cases, participants for the experiment or study.

  7. Conduct the experiment or study.

    It’s show time! Scientists conduct the experiment or study and record the results.

  8. Analyze the data.

    Analysis can be as simple as looking at the resulting data from an experiment or study, or it may involve plugging it into a spreadsheet, rearranging it, using it to create graphs, and so on.

  9. Draw conclusions or not.

    The results may lead to certain conclusions, may be inconclusive, or may bring up other questions that need to be answered first. In some cases, the conclusions reveal a problem in the design of the experiment or study, or the way it was performed.

GED Science: Brushing Up on Life Science Lingo

Understanding the meaning of certain life science terms and concepts can help improve reading speed and comprehension for the GED Science test. Here are some key terms and concepts with which to familiarize yourself:

  • Cell theory: The principle that cells are the building blocks for all living things, from simple single-cell organisms up to complex multicellular organisms in which cells differentiate to perform different functions.

  • Conservation of energy: The law that energy can only be converted into another type of energy and can’t be created or destroyed.

  • Ecosystem: A community of plants, animals, and other living things that interact with one another and their physical environment.

  • Ecosystem disruption: Anything that disturbs the balance of an ecosystem, such as the introduction of an invasive species — a plant or critter that didn’t evolve as part of the ecosystem.

  • Evolution: The theory that explains the diversity of life on planet Earth.

  • Genetics: The study of how physical characteristics are inherited from parents.

  • Homeostasis: The tendency of a cell or organism to maintain a particular internal state in the midst of external changes.

  • Pathogen: A disease-causing agent, such as a virus or bacterium.

  • Photosynthesis: The process by which plants harness the sun’s energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, chemical energy that organisms that eat the plants can use.

  • Respiration: The process of breaking down nutrients from plants or other animals to produce energy for cells.

  • Taxonomy: The classification of all living things, including monera (simple single-cell organisms), protista (complex single-cell organisms), fungi (immobile multicellular organisms), planta (plants), and animalia (animals).