How to Score High on GED Language Arts Reading

The GED Language Arts Reading subtest measures your ability to interpret literary writing (75%) and non-fiction (25%). To score high on this section of the GED, you must sharpen your critical reading and thinking skills. You must also practice reading quickly and carefully, since there are 40 questions and only 65 minutes to complete the test.

The four main question types on the GED reading test are comprehension, analysis, application, and synthesis. Comprehension questions test your basic knowledge of the passage contents, while analysis questions ask you to break down complex ideas into simpler components.

Application questions ask you to apply your understanding of the text to a different situations. Synthesis questions ask you to combine ideas from different sources to form more complex ideas.

Since literary works account for 3/4 of the reading material, you should get into the habit of reading quality works of fiction, poetry, and drama. If you are taking a GED prep class, don't skip any of the required reading. To study for the non-fiction passages, read well-written biographies, history books, and science articles.

If you are studying on your own, make a reading list. Choose selections of poetry that are 25 lines or less, works of drama, and fiction from 3 periods: before 1920, 1920-1960, and after 1960. Literary texts on the GED will include traditional American and British works, and pieces from writers with diverse backgrounds.

The non-fiction text may be excerpts from letters, manuals, or reviews of the arts. Practice critical reading in your daily activities and at work so that you are sharp for test day. Read publications such as The New Yorker or The Economist.

Work on practice problems from official GED study guides. Set the timer for 65 minutes and try to complete 40 questions. It may take several weeks of practice to build up your speed if you are a slow reader, so be patient. Set weekly or monthly goals for yourself.

While you are read, keep a pencil handy to underline key ideas and jot down summaries of whole paragraphs and complex ideas. The act of writing will help you retain more information and improve your focus.

If a passage is very wordy or technical, read for the main ideas. Avoid getting bogged down in the details. You will perform better if you read the entire text before answering the questions, rather than using a read-as-you-go approach.

© Had2Know 2010

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