The GED test, or general education development test, consists of five subject areas. The five areas on the GED test are writing, reading, math, science, and social studies. The GED test is open to people in the United States and Canada who haven't yet received a high school diploma.
The writing section of the GED test is divided into two portions. Usually, the first portion is a number of multiple choice questions. A person taking the test will be asked to correct or revise informational documents to improve the document's grammar. This portion of the exam tests the student's ability to identify sentence fragments, proper subject and verb agreement, and proper use of punctuation. During the second portion of the writing section, the test taker will have to compose an essay.
The reading portion of the GED test evaluates a student's ability to comprehend and analyze texts. It consists of multiple choice questions that respond to a reading prompt. Three quarters of the reading questions respond to a prompt that may be an excerpt from a play, piece of literature, or a poem. A quarter of the questions ask the student to respond to a non-fiction or critical review.
A third section of the test examines a person's knowledge of social studies. It is also made up of multiple choice questions. One quarter of the questions in the social studies portion may have to do with United States or Canadian history, depending on the student's country. Another 25 percent of the questions focus on government, while 15 percent of the questions have to do with world history. Geography and economics questions round out the rest of the social studies portion.
Math and science make up the remaining portions of the GED test. The science questions are multiple choice. Most of the questions in the science section are from life sciences, such as biology. About 20 percent of the questions focus on Earth and space science, while 35 percent of the questions test a student's knowledge of physics and chemistry.
Students are allowed to use a calculator for one half of the math questions, but not for the other half. A majority of the math questions on the GED test are multiple choice, while some require the test taker to plot points on a grid. The math portion of the test covers topics such as statistics, geometry, and alegbra. Students are given a formula sheet to reference during the exam.