Demystifying the GED Science Test

Demystifying the GED Science Test

When we all look back on the year 2020, we’ll remember it most for a pandemic that affected education in a major way.

The makers of the GED have also been forced to adapt to the unique time in which we’re living. With restrictions affecting the capacity of testing centers, they realized an additional testing option was needed to accommodate all those students that haven’t been able to get access.

Taking the GED in 2020

If you’re looking to get your GED this year, you will be pleased to know that there is now an online version that you can take without leaving your home. 

If preparing for all four GED tests seems to be a bit daunting, just remember that you don’t have to handle it all alone: the help and direction of an experienced GED tutor will prove critical to your success. Since the test can now be administered remotely, it’s only appropriate that your GED tutoring also take place online. Thanks to the development of powerful online learning platforms, test prep tutors can guide your GED classes just as effectively as they could if they were right next to you.


After getting an overview of how to get your GED, you’ll want to sign up for the personalized MyGED online program so you can schedule tests, view score reports, order transcripts, and obtain your diploma. From that point you’ll start drilling down on the GED sections one-by-one, beginning with the GED Science test.

Now you may think that it involves lots of complex questions about scientific knowledge—after all, each of us has had to become familiar with the science of the prevention of viral infection over the course of the last several months. Well, you’ll be glad to know that the GED 2020 is not a test of your memory! To gain clarity on what the test is really all about, you’ll want to secure the services of an expert tutor who can demystify the GED Science test and guide you through the entire preparation process for taking and passing the test.

Prepare for a relatively long test with a wide variety of questions

In your first GED prep session, your tutor will set the stage by getting you acquainted with the format of the GED Science test.

Other sections have a greater overall length, but the Science section is the longest one without a built-in break.

Over the course of 1 hour, 30 minutes, you will be faced with questions covering material from Life Science (40% of the content), Earth and Space Science (20%), and Physical Science (40%).

In that 90 minutes, you will be given 30-35 questions in a broad range of formats:

  • Multiple-choice: Click to choose from one of four choices (A through D).
  • Fill-in-the-blank: Type a word, a phrase, or numbers in a box. No answer choices to pick from here—you have to come up with one yourself.
  • Drag-and-drop: Move numbers, symbols, or expressions across the computer screen. An example of this type would be placing the steps of an experiment in the correct sequence. 
  • Drop-down: Select from menus embedded in text on the computer screen. This is often used when correct scientific term based upon the information provided. 
  • Select-an-area: Click on graphics on the computer screen to indicate the correct location or region.
  • Short answer: Write a paragraph or two of explanatory response to passages and/or graphics.

Because the GED Science test includes data and infographics, you will be permitted to use a calculator and given access to the calculator reference sheet. Keep in mind that the TI-30XS MultiView in the only model of calculator approved for use on the GED. A virtual version will be available on the computer when you take the test, but your tutor will definitely recommend that you purchase your own calculator so that you can get accustomed to its many features. At the very least, it will give you a head start on preparing for the GED Math test!

It’s not a test of your raw scientific knowledge

Although the test certainly uses scientific content, it’s not what you may recall from high school science class. You won’t have to remember the periodic table or how to convert between U.S. and metric units.

This is not a test of your capacity to memorize a list of scientific facts or perform complex calculations. Rather, it’s a test of your reading and analysis skills when given scientific information in written and infographic form. 

Now that doesn’t mean that scientific knowledge is useless on the test. Strong foundational knowledge will make you more confident when handling the material on the test, so your GED tutoring may also include lessons on the basics of life, earth, space, and physical science.

If you’re wondering about what GED science study materials to use, look for books that have practice tests, as those will offer you the most effective training. Some publishers also have personalized GED courses and additional practice material online. Such courses—or even your own self-study—may involve taking GED science notes and learning science vocabulary.

What’s most important is understanding scientific writing and interpreting data presentations

What is on the GED Science Test? Essentially, it consists of questions that are primarily based on your understanding of Science Practices:

  • Comprehending scientific presentations to interpret passages and graphics
  • Using the scientific method to design investigations, reason from data, and work with findings
  • Reasoning with scientific information to evaluate conclusions with evidence
  • Applying concepts and formulas to express scientific information and apply scientific theories
  • Using probabilities and statistics in a science context

In addition to providing insight into the variety of GED science questions you’ll face on the test, your tutor will familiarize you with the most relevant foundational concepts. In particular, a skilled GED tutor will hit on the process of the scientific method. Understanding its steps will give you an edge in comprehending the texts presented on the test and constructing responses to questions about experiments and scientific studies.

There are two short-answer questions that require higher-level thinking skills

One area of the GED Science test that justifiably seems mysterious at first is the short-answer question. 

While most of the questions are the usual styles, the two short-answer questions call for a written response based on one or two passages, a graphic, or a combination of those. By typing in a text box, you will write a summary, create an experiment design, or explain how evidence supports a hypothesis or conclusion. 

Yes, that may seem like an intimidating requirement of the test. More so than the rest of the test, the short-answer questions require the higher-level thinking skills of analysis and synthesis.

Let’s say, for example, that you are asked to design a controlled experiment to test a hypothesis: your answer should include details on experimental setup, procedure for data collection, and criteria for evaluating the hypothesis. While it will take some time to become comfortable with the short-answer format, you can lean heavily on your tutor to teach you how to craft quality responses.

You should plan on taking about 10 minutes to construct 1-2 paragraphs with complete sentences and well-developed ideas.  An effective answer should not be based on your opinions or personal experiences, but rather will use specific information from the source materials to answer the questions.

Each short-answer response is worth up to 3 points, so take the time to understand the question, plan your response, and select the appropriate evidence to back up your argument. 

A comprehensive preparation process involves plenty of practice

The main focus of your preparation will be getting yourself accustomed to the test’s format and flow.

You want to know the best way to study for the GED Science test? Work on practice tests and review them thoroughly with your tutor. Once you have prepared for a while in that manner, you may wonder if there is an official GED Science practice test can take.

Thankfully, there is such an assessment that will reveal whether you are ready to try the actual GED. The final step in your preparation shall be to take the GED Ready Official Practice Test, which is available through the MyGED portal.

A score of at least 75% of the questions correct rates you as “Green,” meaning you are highly likely to pass the actual GED subject test. Make sure you go over those results with your tutor to make the final determination on whether you are ready to take the GED Science test.

You may qualify to take the GED online

The Online Proctored GED Test, which is currently available in select states in the U.S. and U.S. territories, enables students to take the GED Science test from home while securely monitored by an online proctor (video below courtesy of GED Testing Service).

The test content is the same as the in-person version, and the cost is the same as well. To qualify for online testing, you must meet two requirements: (1) Your state participates in online testing; and (2) You’ve scored “Green” on the GED Ready Practice Test within the past 60 days.

If you qualify, here are some online testing essentials to keep in mind:  

  • You’ll need a computer, webcam and reliable internet—no tablets or phones.
  • You’ll need to take your test in a private room with a closed door.
  • Before scheduling and paying for the test, it’s important to run a system check to be sure that your computer meets the requirements.

The GED website features a page with all the information on the new online tests, including links to an informative video and two instructional webinars.

Take care to avoid fraudulent sites that may try to mislead you into paying for a fake GED online test. The online GED test is monitored the entire time by a real, live proctor and can only be accessed through your MyGED account. 

The Science test is one of four you’ll have to pass to get your GED

If you are planning on taking the GED test at a physical location, you can search for nearby test centers directly from your MyGED account. Once you know which GED testing location works best, you can explore the available dates on the website for that particular facility.

Registration costs vary from state to state, with the most common GED test costs being $30 per subject test.

Make sure you check for updates to GED test dates, as certain test centers may not be open due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Scoring on the GED Science Test

The number of points you earn on your GED Science test is translated into a scaled score ranging from 100-200.

GED Score Breakdown

Understanding the different tiers of passing GED Science scores will give you something to shoot for as you go through the test prep process. To earn your high school equivalency, you’ll need to get a score of 145 or higher on all four subjects.

If you get a GED score below 145, you’ll have to retake all four tests regardless of how you perform on the others.

A score of 165-174 is considered GED College Ready: if you ever choose to enroll in college, you may qualify for waivers from placement testing or developmental education requirements.

A score of 175-200 qualifies as GED College Ready + Credit, meaning you have demonstrated skills that could earn you up to 10 college credit hours.

Powerful GED Prep Resources

Once you have passed your Science test, you can turn your attention to any of the other GED sections: Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Reasoning Through Language Arts.

You’ll be ahead of the game by that point, though: not only will you be familiar with both the preparation process and testing experience, but you’ll also have a reliable tutor already in place. Few people are built for self-guided learning, so it’s natural to feel lost as you begin the path toward obtaining your GED

That’s why it’s important to reach out to an experienced early on to get the GED help you need to complete your journey to greater educational and occupational opportunities. 

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