How to Score High on GED Language Arts Writing

The Language Arts Writing section of the GED tests your ability to organize an expository essay logically, with clear sentence structure and correct English usage. To earn a high score, and even ace this section of the GED, use this guide below.

The multiple choice part of this section has 50 questions that you must compete in 75 minutes. Eighty percent of the questions will ask you to correct or revise specific parts of a text, such as a sentence or phrase. The remaining 20% of the questions are about construction shifts--questions that ask you to make revisions in organization and overall structure of a text or paragraph.

When you study for the GED language arts exam, allocate your time proportionally. Don't spend the bulk of your time on concepts that make up a small portion of the GED writing test.

Master the basics of usage and mechanics. You will be expected to know the rules for subject-verb agreement, agreement in number, how to use verb tense consistently, and how to use pronouns unambiguously. The GED will also test your grasp of English punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Learn to distiguish commonly confused words pairs, such as accept/except, or their/there/they're.

The GED sentence structure questions often feature run-on sentences, fragments, and faulty modification and parallelism. Use your ear to gauge when something sounds off, or when the sentence is ambiguous as to who or what is doing something, or who or what possesses some attribute. The correct answer will be grammatical and clear. For example, "Coming from under the fridge, John saw ants." Does this sentence mean that John was under the fridge, or the ants? How could you rephrase it to make it clearer?

GED organization questions test your ability to divide or combine paragraphs, use appropriate topic sentences, and use good transitions. To answer these questions correctly, you must understand the logical structure of the text; think about what the author is trying to achieve.

The second part of the GED language arts writing test is an expository essay in which you explain your view on a subject. The essay prompts give you much freedom; you won't need any specialized knowledge to answer the essay question. Possible topics could be "Describe a goal you want to achieve," or "Which book has most influenced your outlook on life?"

The GED essays are scored by two graders on a scale of 1 to 4. You pass if the average of the two scores is at least 2. GED essay graders consider five criteria when evaluating your essay. They check that:


To earn a high score on the GED language arts writing exam, you should complete several practice sets of GED material. Have a teacher or tutor read your practice essays and give you feedback. The more you study, the higher your GED score will be.

© Had2Know 2010

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