How to Expertly Prepare for GED Social Studies

Planning on getting your GED? Chances are you are concerned about the Reasoning Through Language Arts and the Mathematical Reasoning sections. That’s what your high school education was all about, right? Those of you who experienced high school curriculum within the past decade or so almost certainly felt the increased emphasis on math and language arts.

What about the other GED sections, though? After all, high school wasn’t just about reading, writing, and mathematics. Well, there is a Science Test, but that falls in line with the shift in America’s curriculum toward STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. That leaves one lonely subject that has been somewhat neglected in recent years: social studies.

Don’t worry about one thing: the GED Social Studies Test isn’t about a bunch of historical facts. That’s not to say that knowing your history isn’t essential; in fact, the more you know, the more the content will make sense to you. Most importantly, though, is your ability to assess, analyze, and interpret information. To fine tune those skills, you’ll need both a study plan and someone to guide you.

Assess Your Situation and Formulate A Plan of Attack

After doing some preliminary research on 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 Social Studies test.

If preparing for all four GED tests seems to be a daunting task, 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.

An important note: for the GED 2020, there’s an exciting new development in play: an online version of the test that you can take without leaving your home. The makers of the test realized that with restrictions affecting the capacity of testing centers, they needed an additional option to accommodate all those students that haven’t been able to get access to brick-and-mortar testing facilities.

Since the GED can now be administered remotely, it’s only appropriate that your 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.

Now is the time to secure a tutor who can provide you with a complete breakdown of the Social Studies section and guide you through the entire preparation process for taking and passing the test.

Familiarize Yourself with the Content and Format of the Test

When you enter your first session with your GED tutor, your initial question will almost surely be, “What’s on the GED Social Studies test?” Although the test uses social studies content, it’s not what you may think.

For one thing, you won’t have to remember any state capitals or the name of any U.S. presidents: this is not a test of your capacity for memorization. Nor will you have to provide any complex analysis of economics, government, or political theory: it’s not a test of your writing ability.

Rather, it’s a test of your reading and analysis skills when given passages detailing historical events and arguments and infographics presenting social science data.

What Does the GED Social Studies Test Cover, Exactly?

The GED Social Studies test covers material from Civics and Government (50% of the content), U.S. History (20%), Economics (15%), and Geography and the World (15%).  Questions in the exam are primarily based on your understanding of Social Studies Practices:

– Determining central ideas, inferences, hypotheses, and conclusions
– Analyzing words, events, and ideas in social studies contexts
– Analyzing author’s purpose and point of view
– Evaluating author’s reasoning and evidence
– Analyzing and integrating relationships within and between social studies materials
– Interpreting data and statistics in graphs and charts
– Finding the center (mean, median, and mode) in a statistical data set

All the information you’ll need to answer the questions will be given to you in the form of reading passages and data representations.

That’s not to say that raw historical knowledge won’t benefit you at all. On the contrary—the more you know about historical context, the deeper your understanding of the passages. However, the GED won’t ask questions about anything not already covered in the provided material.

What Question Types Should I Study?

At a length of 70 minutes, the GED Social Studies test is the shortest of all the GED sections. In that time, which does not include a break, you will be given 30-35 questions to answer. All the GED Social Studies questions are multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, and drop-down:

  • 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 pieces of information in the correct categories or sequence. 
  • Drop-down: Select from menus embedded in text on the computer screen. This is often used when determining whether one value is greater than, less than, or equal to another value. 

Because the test includes data and infographics, you will be permitted to use a calculator and be given access to the calculator reference sheet. Only one calculator is approved for the GED: the TI-30XS MultiView. A virtual version of the official calculator will be available on the computer, but your tutor will surely 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!

Trust Your Tutor to Guide You

The main focus of your preparation will be acquainting yourself with the test’s format and flow by taking practice tests. Your GED tutoring may also include lessons on history and government, as strong foundational knowledge will make you more confident when handling the material on the test.

As for social studies study materials, look for books that have practice tests, as those will offer you the most effective training. Some companies also have personalized GED courses and additional practice material online. Such courses—or even your own self-study—may involve taking GED social studies notes and learning GED social studies vocabulary.

How Should You Study for the GED Social Studies Test?

Work on practice tests and review them thoroughly with your tutor. Once you have studied for a while in that manner, you may naturally ask, “Should I take a GED Social Studies practice test?” Yes, you certainly should!

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 Social Studies test.

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 restrictions.

Investigate Your Options with the New Online GED

A good GED tutor will know that the GED tests are now being offered in an online format. This was not an option until May 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the powers that be to get creative in order to accommodate those who were not able to get access to any approved locations.

With the Online Proctored GED Test, which is currently available in select states in the U.S. and U.S. territories, students can take the GED Social Studies test from home while securely monitored by an online proctor.

The test content is the same as the in-person version, and the cost is the same as well.

Qualifying for Online GED Testing

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 meet these requirements, 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.

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

Know how to interpret your scores and determine your next step

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

Understanding the different tiers of passing GED Social Studies scores will give you something to shoot for as you go through the test prep process.

What Do My GED Scores Mean?

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.

Build A Smart GRE Prep Plan

Once you have passed your GED Social Studies test, you can turn your attention to any of the other sections on the GED: Mathematical Reasoning, Science, 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 directionless as you begin the path toward obtaining your GED. Reach out to an experienced tutor to get the GED help you need to complete your journey to greater educational and occupational opportunities.

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