What Skills Do I Need for the GED Social Studies Test? - dummies

What Skills Do I Need for the GED Social Studies Test?

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

The question-and-answer items of the GED Social Studies test evaluate several specific skills, including the ability to read and understand complex text, interpret graphs and relate graphs to text, and relate descriptive text to specific values in graphs. For example, an item could ask about the relationship between a description of unemployment in text and a graph of the unemployment rate over time.

You don’t have to study a lot of new content to pass this test. Everything you need to know is presented to you with the questions. In each case, you see some content, either a passage or a visual, a question or direction to tell you what you’re expected to do, and a series of answer options.

The questions do require you to draw on your previous knowledge of events, ideas, terms, and situations that may be related to social studies. From a big-picture perspective, you must demonstrate the ability to

  • Identify information, events, problems, and ideas and interpret their significance or impact.

  • Use the information and ideas in different ways to explore their meanings or solve a problem.

  • Use the information or ideas to do the following:

    • Distinguish between facts and opinions.

    • Summarize major events, problems, solutions, and conflicts.

    • Arrive at conclusions using material.

    • Influence other people’s attitudes.

    • Find other meanings or mistakes in logic.

    • Identify causes and their effects.

    • Recognize how writers may have been influenced by the times in which they lived and a writer’s historical point of view.

    • Compare and contrast differing events and people and their views.

    • Compare places, opinions, and concepts.

    • Determine what impact views and opinions may have both at this time and in the future.

    • Organize information to show relationships.

    • Analyze similarities and differences in issues or problems.

    • Give examples to illustrate ideas and concepts.

    • Propose and evaluate solutions.

  • Make judgments about the material’s appropriateness, accuracy, and differences of opinion. Some questions will ask you to interpret the role information and ideas play in influencing current and future decision making. These questions ask you to think about issues and events that affect you every day. That fact alone is interesting and has the potential to make you a more informed citizen of the modern world.

About one-third of the questions test your ability to read and write in a social studies context. That means you’ll be tested on the following:

  • Identifying and using information from sources

  • Isolating central ideas or specific information

  • Determining the meaning of words or phrases used in social studies

  • Identifying points of view, differentiating between fact and opinion, and identifying properly supported ideas

Another third of the questions ask you to apply mathematical reasoning to social studies. Much of that relates to the ability to

  • Interpret graphs.

  • Use charts and tables as source data and interpret the content.

  • Interpret information presented visually.

  • Differentiate between correlation and cause and effect.

The remaining third deals with applying social studies concepts. That includes the following:

  • Using specific evidence to support conclusions

  • Describing the connections between people, environments, and events

  • Putting historical events into chronological order

  • Analyzing documents to examine how ideas and events develop and interact, especially in a historical context

  • Examining cause-and-effect correlations

  • Identifying bias and evaluating validity of information, in both modern and historical documents

Being aware of what skills the Social Studies test covers can help you get a more accurate picture of the types of questions you’ll encounter.