Tips for Answering Questions about Text Passages on the GED Science Test

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

The text passages on the GED Science test — and the questions that accompany them — are very similar to a reading-comprehension test: You’re given textual material, and you have to answer questions about it. The passages present everything you need to answer the questions, but you usually have to understand all the words used in those passages to figure out what they’re telling you.

The difference between the text passages on the Science test and other reading-comprehension tests is that the terminology and examples are all about science. Thus, the more you read about science, the more science words you’ll know, understand, and be comfortable seeing on the test — which, as you may imagine, can greatly improve your chances of success.

Keep the following tips and tricks in mind when answering questions about text passages:

  • Read each passage and question carefully. Some of the questions on the Science test assume that you know a little bit from past experience. For example, you may be expected to know that a rocket is propelled forward by an engine firing backward. (On the other hand, you won’t have to know the definition of nuclear fission — thank goodness!)

    Regardless of whether an item assumes some basic science knowledge or asks for an answer that appears directly in the passage, you need to read each passage and corresponding question carefully. As you read, do the following:

    • Try to understand the passage, and think about what you already know about the subject.

    • If a passage has only one question, read that question extra carefully.

    • If the passage or question contains words you don’t understand, try to figure out what those words mean from the rest of the sentence or the entire passage.

  • Read each answer choice carefully. Doing so helps you get a clearer picture of your options. If you select an answer without reading all the choices, you may end up picking the wrong one because, although that answer choice may seem right at first, another answer choice may be more correct. As you read the answer choices, do the following:

    • If one answer is right from your reading and experience, note it.

    • If you aren’t sure which answer is right, exclude the answers you know are wrong and then exclude answers that may be wrong.

    • If you can exclude all but one answer, it’s probably correct, so choose it.