Subject Areas You Will Need to Know for the GED Science Test

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

If you were really good at Biology, don’t assume you will ace the GED Science test. In terms of subject matter, the questions on the Science test check your knowledge in the following areas:

  • Physical science: About 40 percent of the test is about physical science, which is the study of atoms, chemical reactions, forces, and what happens when energy and matter get together. As a basic review, keep the following in mind:

    • Everything is composed of atoms.

    • When chemicals get together, they have a reaction — unless they’re inert (which means they don’t react with other chemicals; inert chemicals are sort of like antisocial chemicals).

    • You’re surrounded by forces and their effects. (If the floor didn’t exert a force up on you when you stepped down, you would go through the floor.)

    For more information about physical science (which includes basic chemistry and basic physics), read and review a basic science textbook. You can borrow one from your local library (or from your local high school, if you call the office in advance and ask whether the school has any extras). You can also find one on the Internet.

    When reading this material, you may need definitions for some of the words or terms to make understanding the concepts easier. Use a good dictionary or the Internet to find these definitions. (If you use the Internet, type any of the topics into a search engine and add “definition” after it. Become amazed at the number of hits produced, but don’t spend time reading them all.)

  • Life science: Another 40 percent of the test covers life science — the study of cells, heredity, evolution, and other processes that occur in living systems. All life is composed of cells, which you can see under a microscope. If you don’t have access to a microscope, most life science–related books and the Internet have photographs of cells that you can study.

    When someone tells you that you look like your parents or that you remind them of another relative, they’re talking about heredity. Reading a bit about heredity in biology-related books can help you practice answering some of the questions on the Science test.

    Use a biology textbook to help you review for this portion of the test. (Get your hands on a copy of one at your local library or high school.)

  • Earth and space science: The remaining 20 percent of the test covers earth and space science. This area of science looks at the earth and the universe, specifically weather, astronomy, geology, rocks, erosion, and water.

    When you look down at the ground as you walk, you’re interacting with earth sciences. When you look up at the stars on a clear night and wonder what’s really up there, you’re thinking about earth sciences. When you complain about the weather, you’re complaining about earth sciences. In a nutshell, you’re surrounded by earth sciences, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding materials to read on this subject.

You don’t have to memorize everything you read about science before you take the test. All the answers to the test questions are based on information provided in the passages or on the basic knowledge you’ve acquired over the years about science. However, any science reading you do prior to the test not only helps you increase your basic knowledge but also improves your vocabulary.

An improved science vocabulary increases your chances of being able to read the passages and answer the related questions on the test quickly.

As the basis for its questions, the Science test uses the National Science Education Standards (NSES) content standards, which are based on content developed by science educators from across the country.