Cheat Sheet

TASC For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From TASC For Dummies

By Stuart Donnelly

In many states, the TASC test has replaced the GED. Students living in those states who are pursuing their high school equivalency can no longer take the GED exam; they must take the TASC test instead. So to prepare for your studies, you need to know how the TASC test is structured and what it covers.

The Sections of the TASC Test

The following table summarizes the TASC test and gives the breakdown by approximate number of items and time for each section.

Breakdown of TASC Test Sections
Subject Topics Time in Minutes (English Version) Time in Minutes (Spanish Version) Number of Questions
Language Arts–Reading Information reading & language Literary reading & language 75 80 50
Language Arts–Writing Language Writing 105 110 50 One essay
Mathematics Numbers & quantity Algebra Functions Geometry Statistics & probability 50 (calculator)
55 (no calculator)
55 (calculator)
60 (no calculator)
40 12 gridded responses
Social Studies U.S. history World history Civics & government Geography Economics 75 80 47
Science Physical science Life science Earth & space science 85 90 47

The Subjects Covered on the TASC Test

The TASC test measures high school equivalency and college and career readiness in five subject areas: Language Arts–Reading, Language Arts–Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. The entire test lasts about seven hours, with each section having its own time limits.

Language Arts — Reading

The Language Arts–Reading test includes multiple-choice, constructed-response, and technology-enhanced questions that test the student’s ability to understand the information presented in excerpts from novels, short stories, poetry, plays, newspapers, magazines, and business or legal text passages. The test includes both literary (30 percent) and informational (70 percent) texts. The time limit for this section is 75 minutes, and the test consists of 50 questions.

Language Arts — Writing

The Language Arts–Writing test is separated into two parts: multiple-choice questions and an essay question. Students are expected to answer 50 multiple-choice, technology-enhanced, and constructed-response questions, in which they must identify grammar, spelling, and other mechanical writing errors and demonstrate their ability to make corrections to each sentence. The test has both passage-based items and stand-alone or discrete questions. The time limit for this first part is 60 minutes.

Students are also expected to write an essay that either states and supports a claim or provides information about a particular topic of interest. Essays are scored based on the following criteria: clear and strategic organization, clarity of expression, complete development of ideas, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and spelling. For the essay prompt, you have 45 minutes to construct a response to a passage, excerpt, or multiple selections.


The Mathematics section has five main fields: numbers and quantity (13 percent), algebra (26 percent), functions (26 percent), geometry (23 percent), and statistics and probability (12 percent). Most questions are word problems and involve real-life situations or require students to interpret information presented in diagrams, charts, graphs, and tables. Students are given a math summary sheet of formulas to use during the test. Be sure to become familiar with what formulas are on the sheet and which ones you need to remember. The question styles found in this section are multiple choice (40 questions) and gridded response (12 questions).

Section 1 of the Mathematics test allows the use of a calculator and has a time limit of 50 minutes. Section 2 does not permit the use of a calculator and has a time limit of 55 minutes.

Social Studies

The Social Studies exam tests students on five fields: U.S. history (25 percent), world history (15 percent), civics and government (25 percent), geography (15 percent), and economics (20 percent). The Social Studies test gauges students’ understanding of the basic principles in each of those areas and tests their ability to interpret information presented in passages, illustrations, graphs, and charts. You have 75 minutes to complete the 47 multiple-choice, technology-enhanced, and constructed-response questions.


The Science test focuses on multiple-choice questions pulled from three main fields: physical science (36 percent), life science (36 percent), and earth and space science (28 percent). Each discipline is subdivided into several core ideas. Questions may require the student to recall knowledge, apply knowledge and skills, or reason. The number of test questions per core idea depends on the number of performance expectations within that core idea (usually about two to five questions). You have 85 minutes to complete the 47 multiple-choice questions.