GED Social Studies Sample Questions - dummies

GED Social Studies Sample Questions

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

The GED Social Studies test is only intended to measure general social studies concepts. The questions are based on readings that often include visual aids, such as maps or charts. Work carefully, and at a steady pace.

Sample questions

Questions 1-3 refer to the following passage, excerpted from “A Look Back … The Black Dispatches: Intelligence During the Civil War,” a CIA Feature Story.

William A. Jackson

Africans-Americans who could serve as agents-in-place were a great asset to the Union. They could provide information about the enemy’s plans instead of reporting how the plans were carried out. William A. Jackson was one such agent-in-place who provided valuable intelligence straight from Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Jackson served as a coachman to Davis. As a servant in Davis’ home, Jackson overheard discussions the president had with his military leadership. His first report of Confederate plans and intentions was in May 1862 when he crossed into Union lines. While there are no records of the specific intelligence Jackson reported, it is known that it was important enough to be sent straight to the War Department in Washington.

Harriet Tubman

When it comes to the Civil War and the fight to end slavery, Harriet Tubman is an icon. She was not only a conductor of the Underground Railroad, but also a spy for the Union.

In 1860, she took her last trip on the Underground Railroad, bringing friends and family to freedom safely. After the trip, Tubman decided to contribute to the war effort by caring for and feeding the many slaves who had fled the Union-controlled areas.

A year later, the Union Army asked Tubman to gather a network of spies among the black men in the area. Tubman also was tasked with leading expeditions to gather intelligence. She reported her information to a Union officer commanding the Second South Carolina Volunteers, a black unit involved in guerrilla warfare activities.

After learning of Tubman’s capability as a spy, Gen. David Hunter, commander of all Union forces in the area, requested that Tubman personally guide a raiding party up the Combahee River in South Carolina. Tubman was well prepared for the raid because she had key information about Confederate positions along the shore and had discovered where they placed torpedoes (barrels filled with gunpowder) in the water.

On the morning of June 1, 1863, Tubman led Col. James Montgomery and his men in the attack. The expedition hit hard. They set fires and destroyed buildings so they couldn’t be used by the Confederate forces. The raiders freed 750 slaves.

The raid along the Combahee River, in addition to her activities with the Underground Railroad, made a significant contribution to the Union cause. When Tubman died in 1913, she was honored with a full military funeral in recognition for work during the war.

  1. What made William Jackson an excellent intelligence source?

    • (A) He was an African American.

    • (B) He had military experience.

    • (C) He worked in the home of Jefferson Davis.

    • (D) He was in direct contact with Washington.

  2. What is Harriet Tubman best known for?

    • (A) the Underground Railroad

    • (B) the drinking gourd song

    • (C) being a guerilla leader

    • (D) none of the above

  3. Tubman led a raid on _________ in South Carolina.

    • (A) the Combahee River

    • (B) Montgomery

    • (C) Union-controlled areas

    • (D) Atlanta

Answers and explanations

  1. C. He worked in the home of Jefferson Davis. The most important element of the choices offered is the fact that William Jackson worked in the home of Jefferson Davis, where he had direct access to all the discussions that took place. There’s no suggestion that Jackson had any military experience, and his direct contact with Washington grew out of his service in the Davis’s home.

  2. A. the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman is best known for her key work in the Underground Railroad.

  3. A. the Combahee River. Montgomery was the name of a military officer working with Tubman, and she was attacking confederate controlled areas, not union areas.