How to Manage Your Time for the GED Social Studies Test

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

On the GED Social Studies test, you have a total of 65 minutes to answer about 50 question-and-answer items and then an additional 25 minutes to write an essay on the Social Studies test. The exact number of questions varies from test to test, but the time remains the same.

So that means you have less than 90 seconds for each item. Answering those items first that you find easy should allow you to progress faster, leaving you a little more time per item at the end so you can come back to work on the harder ones.

The questions on the Social Studies test are based on both regular textual passages and visual materials, so, when you plan your time for answering the questions, you have to consider the amount of time it takes to read both types of materials.

When you come to a prose passage, read the questions first and then skim the passage to find the answers. If this method doesn’t work, read the passage carefully, looking for the answers. This way, you take more time only when needed.

Because you have such little time to gather all the information you can from a visual material and answer questions about it, you can’t study the map, chart, or cartoon for long. You have to skim it the way you skim a paragraph. Reading the questions that relate to a particular visual first helps you figure out what you need to look for as you skim the material.

If you’re unsure of how quickly you can answer questions based on visual materials, time yourself on a few and see. If your time comes out to be more than 1.5 minutes, you need more practice.

Realistically, you have about 20 seconds to read the question and the possible answers, 50 seconds to look for the answer, and 10 seconds to select the correct answer. Dividing your time in this way leaves you less than 20 seconds for review or difficult items. To finish the Social Studies test completely, you have to be organized and watch the clock.