How to Come Up with Answers for Fill-in-the-Blank GED Social Studies Questions

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

Fill-in-the-blank questions on the GED Social Studies test require you to insert the correct answer, usually one or two words or numbers, into a blank. No answer choices are provided, so you have to extract the information from the passage or visual carefully.

For practice, find the info you need to answer fill-in-the-blank questions based on the following graph.

[Credit: Illustration courtesy of United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Credit: Illustration courtesy of United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

In what year was the inflation rate the lowest?

The graph shows two sets of data, the Electricity CPI for Kansas City and the inflation rate. You need to identify that the lighter line represents the inflation rate. The legend on the bottom of the graph will help you. Since the graph shows two sets of data, there are two scales. You need to identify that the vertical scale on the right refers to the inflation data.

Every year is listed on the horizontal axis, but the data is marked on the chart in the middle of the space above the year. The tick marks represent the end or beginning of years. You need to estimate where the actual year data would be on the graph. The dots on the graph lines help you locate those individual years.

The lowest point on the graph for the inflation rate line (the one with the square dots) occurs in the year 2003. You have to take that information from the data given. The lowest point on that graph is at the 13th point on the lower line. That is your answer.

The longest period that the inflation rate stayed below zero was from ________ to ________.

This graph shows two sets of data for comparison. Remember to use the correct line (the one with the square dots). Note also the horizontal lines across the graph. They help you read the values for the data.

However, to make your work more difficult, the horizontal lines refer only to the CPI, the left scale, not the inflation rate. Those values are marked only by tick marks, which means you have to figure out where a horizontal line would be on the chart area for those values. You need to draw an imaginary line using the tick marks on the right scale.

The first time the inflation line on this graph passes through the imaginary horizontal line labeled 0 on the inflation scale is sometime in 1992. However, it stays there for only about 18 months (another estimate). The second, and longer, period is between 1995 to almost the end of 1999. The correct answer is 1995 to 1999.

The CPI rate in 1992 was _______.

This question is more difficult because it asks for information that isn’t shown directly. The graph doesn’t have labels for every unit of CPI increase. You need to work out that value from the scale by estimating. If you look at the labels on the CPI scale (left vertical axis), it’s marked at intervals of five points, with corresponding lines across the chart area.

You need to fill in your own lines for the in-between CPI values on the graph. The CPI for 1992 is marked by the third dot on the darker line (with the round dots). It’s close to the 130 CPI line but below. Estimating the distance between this line and the lower one (CPI of 125) suggests your answer should be 129.