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The GED Language Arts Reading Test: Just the Facts

Each reading passage is a self-contained unit that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The passages range in length from 200 to 400 words. Excerpts from poetry are 8 to 25 lines in length. Each passage is followed by 4 to 8 multiple-choice questions.

A purpose question provides information that orients the examinee to the text. The purpose question helps set the stage for the passage and provides a purpose for reading the text

Thinking Skills on the Language Arts Reading Test

The GED Language Arts Reading Test requires students to demonstrate a wide range of skills:

  • Comprehension skills (20%) assess the student’s ability to understand the basic meaning and intent of a passage.
  • Application skills (15%) assess the student’s ability to use information in a new context or situation.
  • Analysis skills (30-35%) assess the student’s ability to break down information into its parts. On the Reading Test, this requires understanding the writer’s craft—for example, why a writer chose certain words or created a specific mood.
  • Synthesis skills (30-35%) assess the student’s ability to make connections among various parts of the text or to integrate information from outside the passage with information from within the passage.

Teaching Tip:
Because the purpose question is set above the passage, it may look like a title. Have your students read the purpose question and the passage. Then ask them to answer the purpose question. This will help them learn to use the purpose question as intended.