Page 1 Social Studies Study Guide for the GED® test

What you need to know about the GED Social Studies Test

Question Types

The Social Studies section is taken in one 70-minute timed period. During this time, you will not only have multiple-choice questions to answer, but also these types of questions:

  • Fill-in-the-blank: You will be asked to type a very short response in a text box. These answers will be a word or a short phrase.
  • Drag-and-drop: You will be asked to move an item from one place to another on the screen. You might be asked to do this to show items in order on a timeline or to place items in certain categories.
  • Drop-down: You will be asked to pick an answer from a pull-down menu on the screen. Upon selecting your answer, it will become part of the text on the screen so that you can see if your answer makes sense.
  • Hot spot: You will need to click on your choice of spot on the screen. This will enable you to mark the location of your answer.

[Note: There are no longer any short answer questions on the GED Social Studies Test. These were discontinued in 2016.]

Subject areas covered

This section of the test assesses your ability to read, understand, and interpret information related to social studies. It also requires you to solve problems in the social studies area. This is an approximate breakdown of question content types:

Civics and government: 50%
U.S. History: 20%
Geography and the world: 15%
Economics: 15%

Skills you need

Within these areas, you will be asked to do the following:

  • Read and understand the material.
  • Make inferences based on what you read. An inference is something you determine by reading the material, even though it is not explicitly stated.
  • Tell the definition of a word as it is used in a passage. You can often do this just by reading the surrounding material.
  • Find evidence in the text to support your answers.
  • Find the main idea of a passage.
  • Tell about people, events, processes, environments, and places in a passage and how they connect to each other.
  • Be able to tell the differences and connections among facts, opinions, hypotheses, and unsupported claims in a passage.
  • Be able to spot bias and propaganda in material you read.
  • Place events in chronological order based on your reading.
  • Tell the point of view of the author and identify historical causes for it.
  • Compare various accounts of the same historical event, noting the differences among them.
  • Be able to use and explain information presented graphically (in charts, graphs, etc.) as well as translate text into graphic form.
  • Make judgments about an author’s credibility.