Recognizing and Ordering the Sequence of Events for the GED RLA

By Achim K. Krull, Murray Shukyn

You need to know how to recognize a sequence of events for the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts test. In any story, the events in the story form the plot. The events happen in a sequence, a logical order that makes sense. In instructional materials such as manuals, actions have to occur in the proper sequence so that the user gets the proper results.

In newspaper articles, editorials, or history texts, events happen in a specific order, but the writer may place them in a different sequence for effect. As a reader, you must be able to correctly order events even when the piece doesn’t explicitly state them.

In most text, the order of events in pretty clear, even when the author doesn’t state, “this first, then that,” as in the following passage:

The sound of the pull-tab was followed by a flurry of soft footsteps. First, Helga greeted Midnight, a big, black tom. Immediately behind him was Merlin, rubbing his black and tan body against her legs while talking to her, as Siamese are wont to do, never taking his blue eyes off the counter, where the food dishes were being filled.

Not to be left out, Tristan and Isolde, the yellow tom and his sister, ran in, impatiently waiting for their food. Mildly exasperated, Helga portioned out the food and put the appropriate dish in front of each cat. A pill mixed into the food for this one, a special diet for that one, other meds here and there; it all needed care.

In Helga’s story, which sequence of events is correct?

  • (A) the cat food tab is pulled, Merlin talks to Helga, the food is given to the cats

  • (B) Merlin talks to Helga, the cats are fed, Midnight arrives in the kitchen

  • (C) the cat food tab is pulled, Tristan and Isolde arrive, Merlin talks

  • (D) Merlin talks, the medication is added to the food, Tristan and Isolde arrive

From the context of the story, you know that the pull-tab is the first event and that the feeding the last. You know that the cats arrive in a particular order: Midnight, Merlin, and Tristan and Isolde. That means the only correct choice is Choice (A).

The main point to note is that you’re asked to verify the order of events, not to give a complete list of events in order. Choice (A) omits some events, such as Midnight’s arrival, but the events listed are in the correct order.

Try working with this story from the December 2014 issue of Soldiers, the official U.S. Army Magazine:

Gabe was a puppy when I met him. He was just getting started. So a lot of times we would take him to crowded events or places to make sure that he stayed calm and that his attention was focused on me and my needs so he would be that way with other veterans.

We did this every day. I’d take him around to my appointments with me or around town if I needed to.

We used treats and praise as methods to train and reward. We trained him how to open doors; how to pick up artificial limbs; how to bark on command; how to remind people to take medication; how to take their socks off; how to pay a cashier; if someone started to fall, how to brace for them — anything you can think of. It’s really quite amazing what these animals are capable of.

A lot of times what we’ll do is we’ll show the dog where whatever we want is and we’ll walk them back and forth and back and forth so they know that’s what we want. We’ll teach them, and with praise and treats say, “Look!” And once we have their attention we’ll say, “Find it.” And then they’ll go and grab it and we’ll have them bring it to you.

Eventually you start hiding it and putting it in different places. You’ll put it somewhere where it’s harder to reach until they understand that when I say “Look for this,” that’s what their mission is. They need to find this. Give them a task. The dogs in the program are all Labrador and golden retrievers. They’re working breeds. They want to please. They want to work. So eventually, when you get to the point where they can do that, you teach them a command for it and they’ll go and get it for you.

Eventually, they’re just like us. They’re creatures of habit. If every single morning at 8:00 for six months or six weeks they’ve been going and getting this item, come 8:00, if it’s not around, they’re wondering why they’re not going to look for it. They’ll start looking to you and that’s where we as their partners, we say, “Oh, I’ve already got it,” or “Don’t worry,” and you’ll give them a treat anyway. Or they’ll give you a sign as if to say, “Remember I’m supposed to go get this?” “Oh, yeah, go find it,” and they’ll go find it and bring it back.

What is the final stage in the dog training sequence mentioned in this article?

  • (A) The dogs want to work.

  • (B) The dogs work for treats.

  • (C) The trainer takes them for walks in crowded places.

  • (D) The work the dogs perform becomes habit.

Choice (A) is wrong because it’s merely a statement that the dogs are willing to be trained. Choice (B) simply indicates how the dogs are trained. Choice (C) is one of the events, but it occurs early in the sequence. The only correct choice is Choice (D). The last paragraph states, “Eventually, they’re just like us. They’re creatures of habit,” which indicates that the dogs have reached the final stage of their training; the work they perform becomes habit.