Exam Overview Study Guide: Pre-Ged Language Arts, Writing (page 3)
About the GED
For more than 65 years, people have been taking the GED tests. It was first created to give World War II soldiers the chance to earn their high school equivalency diplomas and be able to attend college once they returned home from the war. A high school diploma is crucial to entry into college and many areas of the workforce. The GED tests assess knowledge and skills that are generally gained during four years of high school. The test is currently given in all 50 states and a number of other countries around the world. In fact, it is the most widely accepted high school equivalency program available.
Over the years, the GED tests have changed to reflect changes in education. Today, the GED has five parts:
- Social Studies
- Language Arts, Reading
- Language Arts, Writing
This book will help you prepare for the Language Arts, Writing portion of the GED.
Although you will only receive a single score for the GED Language Arts, Writing Test, there are two sections. Part I assesses your ability to revise and edit written documents. Part II requires you to write an essay. Your scores on each of these two sections is weighted, then combined and reported as one score.
Part I of the Test
On Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing Test, you will be asked to proofread real-life documents, such as informational text and workplace documents. The content areas you will need to understand in order to succeed on the test are shown below, along with the approximate percentage of questions that will address each.
- Sentence Structure–30%
The subject matter of the documents in this portion of the test will likely be ideas that you are familiar with. Each document will contain between 12 and 22 sentences, or about 200 to 300 words. The following types of documents are typically included in this portion of the test:
- Workplace or community documents. These include business letters, office memos, job applications, and company reports that you might encounter.
- "How to" documents. You may be asked to read a set of instructions or directions covering common tasks, such as how to apply for a job or write a resume, and driving directions.
- Informational material. Look for position papers, essays, or articles dealing with topics such as protecting the rainforests or addressing the needs of an expanding community.
Each of the documents you will encounter on the test will contain various types of errors. The 50 questions on Part I will require you to revise or correct sentences, or to reorganize them to clarify meaning. At times, the sentence in a particular question will not contain any errors, and the correct choice will be no revision is necessary or no correction is necessary. Once all corrections have been made to a document, it will be an example of good writing.
You will have a total of 75 minutes to complete this part of the test. Each correct answer is worth one point; incorrect or skipped answers are worth zero points. As you work through this book, you will see that there is a chapter dedicated to reviewing each of the areas covered in Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing Test: organization, sentence structure, mechanics, and usage.
Within each of these chapters, you will find review questions that test your understanding of each of the topics presented, along with detailed answer explanations. At the end of each chapter, you'll find a quiz that includes a reading passage followed by 10 multiple choice questions, similar to what appears on the official GED test. Carefully read the passage, and for each question select the choice that best answers it. Then read the answer explanations to learn why each correct answer is best. If you are unsure of an answer, or if the correct answer choice does not make sense, go back and review the passage and the corresponding section of the chapter.
Part II of the Test
On Part II of the GED Language Arts, Writing test, you will be given 45 minutes to plan, write, and revise an expository essay. Your goal is to explain or give your opinion about the provided writing prompt. The prompt topic will likely be something that you have a general knowledge of, so no prior research will be needed before the exam.
Your essay should explain, clarify, or inform readers about the topic, using your personal observations and experiences as support. Your writing will be done on two lined pages in the provided answer booklet. Scratch paper for planning and drafting your essay will be provided; however, only the information written in the answer booklet will be scored. Essay readers will assign your work a score of 1–4 (with 4 being the highest score possible) as follows:
- score 1: an inadequate essay
- score 2: a marginal essay
- score 3: an adequate essay
- score 4: an effective essay
Writing an Effective Essay
For an essay to be considered effective, it must meet several criteria. An effective essay:
- makes it easy for the reader to understand and follow the writer's ideas.
- has a clearly focused main idea that addresses the prompt.
- is clearly and logically organized.
- uses specific details and examples to develop the topic.
- uses correct sentence structure and grammar.
- includes varied and appropriate word choice.
Your score on this section of the test will represent 35% of your total GED Language Arts, Writing Test score. Two readers will score your essay, and their independent scores will be averaged to determine your final score. If your essay score is 2 or higher, it will be combined with your score for Part I of the test. However, if your essay score is 1.5 or lower, the entire test (Parts I and II) must be retaken.
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