What to Expect From the Reasoning Through Language Arts Section of the GED - dummies

What to Expect From the Reasoning Through Language Arts Section of the GED

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

The Reasoning Through Language Arts section is one long test on the GED that covers all the literacy components of the GED test. You have 150 minutes overall. However, the test is divided into three sections: first, 35 minutes on all content, then 45 minutes for the Extended Response (essay), followed by a 10-minute break, and then another 60 minutes for more general test items.

Remember that the time for the Extended Response can’t be used to work on the other questions in the test, nor can you use leftover time from the other sections on the Extended Response.

Here is what you can expect on the Reasoning Through Language Arts test:

  • The literacy component testing asks you to correct text, respond to writings, and generally demonstrate a critical understanding of various passages. This includes demonstrating a command of proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

  • The Extended Response item, also known as “the essay,” examines your skills in organizing your thoughts and writing clearly. Your response will be based on two source text selections, drawing key elements from that material to prepare your essay.

    The essay is evaluated both on your interpretation of the source texts and the quality of your writing. You type on the computer, using a tool like a word processor. It has neither a spell-checker nor a grammar-checker. You’ll have an erasable tablet on which to prepare a draft before writing the final document. How well you use spelling and grammar as you write is also part of your evaluation.

  • The scores from both components will be combined into one single score for Reasoning Through Language Arts.

The first part of this test consists of short-answer and multiple-choice questions (called items) in various formats. For example, they may be the familiar multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blanks, or hot-spot items.

These items are based on source texts, which are materials presented to you for your response. Some of this source material is nonfiction, from science and social studies content as well as from the workplace. Only 25 percent is based on literature. Here’s a breakdown of the materials:

  • Workplace materials: These include work-related letters, memos, and instructions that you may see on the job.

  • U.S. Founding Documents and documents that present part of the Great American Conversation: These may include extracts from the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and other historical documents. They also may include opinion pieces of relevant issues in American history and civics.

  • Informational works: These include documents that present information (often dry and boring information), such as the instructional manual that tells you how to set the clock on your DVD player. They also include materials that you may find in history, social studies, or science books.

  • Literature: Extracts from novels, plays, and similar materials.

You find a variety of types of problems in the Reasoning Through Language Arts section of the test, including the following:

  • Correction: In these items, you’re asked to correct sentences presented to you.

  • Revision: In these items, you’re presented with a sentence that has a word or phrase underlined. If the sentence needs a correction, one of the answer choices will be better than the words or phrase underlined. If no correction is needed, either one of the answer choices will be the same as the underlined portion, or one of the choices will be something like “no correction needed.”

  • Construction shift: In these types of problems, you have to correct a sentence by altering the sentence structure. The original sentence may not be completely wrong, but it can be improved with a little editing. In these cases, the question presents you with optional rewording or allows you to change the sentence order in a paragraph.

  • Text analysis: These problems require you to read a passage and respond in some manner. It may be an analysis of the content, a critique of the style, review for biases or other influences, or responses to something in the content.