How to Use Sampling Techniques to Answer Scientific Questions on the GED Science Test

By Murray Shukyn, Achim K. Krull

Sampling is a helpful technique you can apply on the GED Science test. Sampling is a scientific method that enables researchers to draw reasonable conclusions using a relatively small subset of data.

For example, researchers may test several different brands of batteries in different devices to determine which battery lasts longest and which devices drain batteries the fastest. On the Science test, you may encounter one or more questions that present sampling data and ask you to draw conclusions from that data. Here are a couple of relatively easy questions to practice on.

Use the snake species data from this table to answer the questions that follow.

Environment Rat Milk Green King Fox Blue Racer
Tree 12 1 22 0 0 3
Forest floor 3 8 3 1 5 7
Farm/meadow 17 23 2 10 15 12
Marsh 2 1 0 25 30 3
  1. The snake you are most likely to find in a barn is the

    • (A) rat snake

    • (B) milk snake

    • (C) green snake

    • (D) king snake

  2. Destruction of wetlands would cause the biggest reduction in which of the following populations?

    • (D) green snake and milk snake

    • (D) green snake and rat snake

    • (D) king snake and milk snake

    • (D) fox snake and king snake

Check your answers:

  1. The milk snake, Choice (B), is most prevalent on farms, where barns are common. (Snake trivia: The milk snake gets its name from a folk tale claiming that the milk snake sucks the milk of nursing mothers and cows. Not true.)

  2. Both the fox snake and king snake are found primarily in marsh habitats (wetlands), so Choice (D) is correct.