Skills You Need for the Reading Component of the GED RLA

By Achim K. Krull, Murray Shukyn

The questions on the Reasoning Through Language Arts reading portion of the GED test focus on the following skills, which you’re expected to be able to use as you read both fiction and nonfiction passages:

  • Comprehension: Questions that test your comprehension skills assess your ability to read a source of information, understand what you’ve read, and restate the information in your own words. If you understand the passage, you can rephrase what you read while retaining the meaning of the passage. You can also create a summary of the main ideas presented in the passage and explain the ideas and implications of the passage.

  • Application: Questions that test your application skills assess your ability to use the information you read in the passage in a new situation, such as when you’re answering questions. Application-focused questions are most like real life because they often ask you to apply what you read in the passage to a real-life situation. Being able to read and understand a users’ manual in order to use the product it came with is a perfect example of using your application skills in real life.

  • Analysis: Questions that test your analysis skills assess your ability to draw conclusions, understand consequences, and make inferences after reading the passage. To answer these questions successfully, you have to make sure your conclusions are based solely on the written text in the passage and not on outside knowledge or the book you read last week.

    Questions that focus on your ability to analyze what you read try to find out whether you appreciate the way the passage was written and see the cause-and-effect relationships within it. They also expect you to know when a conclusion is being stated and analyze what it means in the context of the passage.

  • Synthesis: Questions that test your synthesis skills assess your ability to take information in one form and in one location and put it together in another context. Here, you get a chance to make connections between different parts of the passage and compare and contrast them. You may be asked to talk about the tone, point of view, style, or purpose of a passage — and saying that the purpose of a passage is to confuse and confound test-takers isn’t the answer.

Some reading-comprehension questions on the test may ask you to use information in the source text passages combined with information from the text in the questions to answer them. So make sure you read everything that appears on-screen — you never know where an answer may come from.