GED Practice Exam 2: GED Language Arts, Reading (page 2)
To simulate the test conditions, use the time constraints of the official GED Language Arts, Reading Test. Allow 65 minutes to complete all 40 items.
Remember, on the official GED, an unanswered question is counted as incorrect, so make a good guess.
Directions: Read each question carefully and determine the best answer. Record your answers by circling the answer letter choice. You may also use the answer sheet to bubble in your answer.
Note: On the GED, you are not permitted to write in the test booklet. For this posttest, practice by making any notes on a separate piece of paper.
Questions 1 to 5 refer to the following excerpt from a poem.
- Now came on a new order of the ages
- That in the Latin of our founding sages
- (Is it not written on the dollar bill
- We carry in our purse and pocket still?)
- God nodded His approval of as good.
- So much those heroes knew and understood—
- I mean the great four, Washington,
- John Adams, Jefferson, and Madison—
- So much they knew as consecrated seers
- They must have seen ahead what now appears:
- They would bring empires down about our ears
- And by the example of our Declaration
- Make everybody want to be a nation.
- And this is no aristocratic joke
- At the expense of negligible folk.
- We see how seriously the races swarm
- In their attempts at sovereignty and form.
- They are our wards we think to some extent
- For the time being and with their consent,
- To teach them how Democracy is meant.
- "New order of the ages" did we say?
- If it looks none too orderly today,
- 'Tis a confusion it was ours to start
- So in it have to take courageous part.
- No one of honest feeling would approve
- A ruler who pretended not to love
- A turbulence he had the better of.
- Everyone knows the glory of the twain
- Who gave America the aeroplane
- To ride the whirlwind and the hurricane.
- Some poor fool has been saying in his heart
- Glory is out of date in life and art.
- Our venture in revolution and outlawry
- Has justified itself in freedom's story
- Right down to now in glory upon glory.
—From "For John F. Kennedy His
Inauguration," by Robert Frost.
- What is the Latin of our founding sages referred to in line 2?
- the Constitution
- the motto on the dollar bill
- the Declaration of Independence
- the Magna Carta
- the Gettysburg Address
- What is the example of our Declaration referred to in line 12?
- the IRS
- the U.S. Treasury
- the Constitution
- the Declaration of Independence
- the Gettysburg Address
- The word sovereignty in line 17 most likely means
- Who is/are the twain referred to in line 28?
- Mark Twain
- Abraham Lincoln
- railroad engineers
- the Wright brothers
- the U.S. Navy
- The poem's tone is
- The narrator is probably
- a baseball fan.
- a Frenchman.
- an American citizen.
- not well read.
- indifferent to politics.
- Why does the poet refer to Jefferson and others as consecrated seers?
- to make fun of them
- because they were blind
- because they are dead
- to suggest that they were prophets
- to remind us that we should vote
- They must have seen ahead what now appears is an example of
- dramatic tension.
- iambic pentameter.
- double entendre.
Questions 9 to 16 refer to the following passage.
My instructions were to present myself at an office in Broadway, opposite St. James's underground station, which I duly did. As a reader of Ashenden I was naturally excited at the prospect of entering the portals of the British Secret Service (or SIS as it was usually called), though I assumed that at this first preliminary encounter I should not be admitted to the actual headquarters, but only to some shadow set-up, or facade, used to try out aspirants before actually taking them on. I may add that everyone I saw and everything that happened seemed to support such an assumption. It was only later that I came to realize I had been in contact, not with a hurriedly improvised dummy, but the real thing.
While I was awaiting my own clearance at the main entrance, I was able to observe the people coming and going. A good proportion of them were in the services, with the Navy preponderating. I only saw one, as I thought, false beard—a luxuriant tangled growth, whose wearer turned out, on closer acquaintance, to be a former trade-unionist and Marxist, allegedly from the boiler-maker's union. He was responsible for providing expert guidance in industrial matters; and his beard, he assured me, was genuine, though he admitted that he had allowed it to proliferate since joining SIS, as he had also his use of strong language, and tendency to bang the table to emphasize a point.
—From The Infernal Grove,
by Malcolm Muggeridge.
- The narrator is describing
- an interesting trip to London.
- how he got lost on the London underground.
- his involvement with trade unions.
- how he joined the British Secret Service.
- the headquarters of the CIA.
- The author was surprised to discover that
- the people he met were Russian spies.
- his interviewer was wearing a false beard.
- he was really in the headquarters of the SIS.
- he was hired on the spot.
- he was not late for the interview.
- The narrator most likely
- did undercover espionage.
- never rode the subway.
- had a beard.
- was married.
- spent time in Afghanistan.
- The phrase a hurriedly improvised dummy refers to
- a Russian spy.
- another SIS agent.
- President Clinton.
- department store decorations.
- a fake headquarters building.
- The former Marxist
- refers to the author.
- interviewed the author.
- was shot in Istanbul.
- had a black beard.
- had a good sense of humor.
- The word proliferate in this context means
- pay taxes.
- This passage is most likely from
- a drama.
- an autobiography.
- a sonnet.
- a long time ago.
- the newspaper.
- This is an example of
- no narrator.
- second-person narrator.
- third-person narrator.
- third-person omniscient.
- first-person narrator.
Questions 17 to 25 refer to the following excerpt.
GEORGE: O.K… O.K., whatever you say… [They both sit on the couch. He tries to kiss her. She moves away] Look, we've had a nice evening; let's not spoil it, huh?…
[He again turns her head and tries to nuzzle in and she turns away from him, not with distaste but with momentary lack of interest; in a mood to pursue what they were talking about.]
BENEATHA: I'm trying to talk to you.
GEORGE: We always talk.
BENEATHA: Yes—and I love to talk.
GEORGE: [exasperated; rising] I know it and I don't mind it sometimes… I want you to cut it out, see—the moody stuff, I mean. I don't like it. You're a nice-looking girl… all over. That's all you need, honey. Forget the atmosphere—they're going to go for what they see. Be glad for that. Drop the Garbo routine. It doesn't go with you. As for myself, I want a nice—[groping]—simple [thoughtfully]—sophisticated girl… not a poet—O.K.? [She rebuffs him again and he starts to leave.]
BENEATHA: Why are you angry?
GEORGE: Because this is stupid! I don't go out with you to discuss the nature of "quiet desperation" or to hear all about your thoughts—because the world will go on thinking what it thinks regardless—
BENEATHA: Then why read books? Why go to school?
GEORGE: [with artificial patience; counting on his fingers] It's simple. You read books—to learn facts—to get grades—to pass the course—to get a degree. That's all—it has nothing to do with thoughts. [A long pause]
BENEATHA: I see. [A longer pause as she looks at him] Good night, George. [George looks at her a little oddly, and starts to exit. He meets MAMA coming in]
GEORGE: Oh—hello, Mrs. Younger.
MAMA: Hello, George, how are you feeling?
GEORGE: Fine—fine, how are you?
MAMA: Oh, a little tired. You know them steps can get you after a day's work. You all have a nice time tonight?
GEORGE: Yes—a fine time. Well, good night.
MAMA: Good night. [He exits. MAMA closes the door behind her.] Hello, honey. What you sitting like that for?
BENEATHA: I'm just sitting.
MAMA: Didn't you have a nice time?
MAMA: No? What's the matter?
BENEATHA: Mama, George is a fool—honest. [She rises]
MAMA: [Hustling around unloading the packages that she has entered with. She stops.] Is he, baby?
BENEATHA: Yes. [Beneatha makes up TRAVIS' bed as she talks]
MAMA: You sure?
MAMA: Well—I guess you better not waste your time with no fools. [Beneatha looks up at her mother, watching her put groceries in the refrigerator. Finally she gathers up her things and starts into the bedroom. At the door she stops and looks back at her mother]
MAMA: Yes baby?
BENEATHA: Thank you.
MAMA: For what?
BENEATHA: For understanding me this time.
—From A Raisin in the Sun,
by Lorraine Hansberry.
- Why is George NOT interested in talking?
- He has a headache.
- It's time for him to leave.
- He's angry with his mother.
- He wants to be romantic.
- He actually does want to talk.
- Beneatha wants to talk
- about their relationship.
- about the future.
- because she's angry.
- because she loves to talk.
- about the weather.
- George wants a girl who
- reminds him of Greta Garbo.
- is poetic.
- dances well.
- cooks like his mom.
- is not moody.
- Why does Beneatha say that George is a fool?
- He doesn't share her love of talking.
- He isn't well educated.
- He is too short for her.
- She is angry that he left.
- It is not stated.
- Beneatha feels that Mama has understood her because
- she offers Beneatha some deep wisdom.
- Beneatha loves Mama.
- she has been willing to listen and talk.
- Mama keeps the house clean.
- she has not been understanding in the past.
- Mama's opinion of George
- is very low.
- is very high.
- is to avoid him at all costs.
- is that Beneatha should marry him.
- is not stated.
- This passage is an example of
- While Beneatha is talking, Mama is
- mopping the floor.
- putting on makeup.
- ignoring her.
- unloading packages.
- about 5 feet tall.
- Beneatha and George will probably
- never speak again.
- make up again.
- become professional musicians.
- never forgive Mama.
- always be fighting.
Questions 26 to 32 refer to the following passage from Huckleberry Finn, where Huck is disguised as a girl.
I had got so uneasy I couldn't set still. I had to do something with my hands; so I took up a needle off of the table and went to threading it. My hands shook, and I was making a bad job of it. When the woman stopped talking I looked up, and she was looking at me pretty curious and smiling a little…
The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and I didn't feel a bit comfortable. Pretty soon she says,
"What did you say your name was, honey?"
Somehow it didn't seem to me that I said it was Mary before, so I didn't look up—seemed to me I said it was Sarah; so I felt sort of cornered, and was afeared maybe I was looking it, too. I wished the woman would say something more; the longer she set still the uneasier I was. But now she says:
"Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when you first come in?"
"Oh, yes'm, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah's my first name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary."
"Oh, that's the way of it?"
I was feeling better then, but I wished I was out of there, anyway. I couldn't look up yet.
Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard times was, and how poor they had to live, and how the rats was as free as if they owned the place, and so forth and so on, and then I got easy again. She was right about the rats. You'd see one stick his nose out of a hole in the corner every little while. She said she had to have things handy to throw at them when she was alone, or they wouldn't give her no peace. She showed me a bar of lead twisted up into a knot, and said she was a good shot with it generally, but she'd wrenched her arm a day or two ago, and didn't know whether she could throw true now. But she watched for a chance, and directly banged away at a rat; but she missed him wide, and said "Ouch!" it hurt her arm so. Then she told me to try for the next one. I wanted to be getting away before the old man got back, but of course I didn't let on. I got the thing, and the first rat that showed his nose I let drive, and if he'd a stayed where he was he'd a been a tolerable sick rat. She said that was first-rate, and she reckoned I would hive the next one. She went and got the lump of lead and fetched it back, and brought along a hank of yarn which she wanted me to help her with. I held up my two hands and she put the hank over them, and went on talking about her and her husband's matters. But she broke off to say:
"Keep your eye on the rats. You better have the lead in your lap, handy."
So she dropped the lump into my lap just at that moment, and I clapped my legs together on it and she went on talking. But only about a minute. Then she took off the hank and looked me straight in the face, and very pleasant, and says:
"Come, now, what's your real name?"
"What's your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or Bob?—or what is it?"
I reckon I shook like a leaf, and I didn't know hardly what to do. But I says:
"Please to don't poke fun at a poor girl like me, mum. If I'm in the way here, I'll—"
"No, you won't. Set down and stay where you are. I ain't going to hurt you, and I ain't going to tell on you, nuther… What's your real name, now?"
"George Peters, mum."
"Well, try to remember it, George. Don't forget and tell me it's Elexander before you go, and then get out by saying it's George Elexander when I catch you. And don't go about women in that old calico. You do a girl tolerable poor, but you might fool men, maybe. Bless you, child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way. And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy. And, mind you, when a girl tries to catch anything in her lap she throws her knees apart; she don't clap them together, the way you did when you catched the lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I contrived the other things just to make certain…"
—From Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.
- The real name of the little girl in the bonnet is
- Huckleberry Finn.
- Sarah Williams.
- Mary Williams.
- Sarah Mary Williams.
- George Peters.
- Huck tried to thread a needle because
- he was going to help the woman with her sewing.
- he wanted to learn how to sew.
- the woman had asked him to.
- he was trying to hide how nervous he was.
- No reason is given.
- How did the woman become suspicious that Huck was NOT a girl?
- Huck's accent didn't sound right.
- Huck didn't look like a girl.
- She had peeked under the bonnet.
- She was a keen observer of details.
- It was just a lucky guess.
- What does the woman understand that Huck does NOT understand?
- that little girls don't dress the way he thinks
- that the difference between the sexes is more than clothing
- that you can't deceive a woman
- that he can't escape his past, no matter where he runs
- nothing; they are completely equal
- Who is narrating this passage?
- Mark Twain
- Tom Sawyer
- Samuel Clemens
- Becky Thatcher
- Huckleberry Finn
- The narrator's diction shows that he
- is dressed like a girl.
- is uneducated.
- doesn't like the woman.
- is confused.
- can't make up his mind.
- According to this passage, a male will probably
- move a needle toward the thread.
- move the thread toward the needle.
- catch lead with his right hand.
- throw things very stiffly.
- kill rats better than females.
Questions 33 to 36 refer to the following passage.
The film Amadeus presents a masterful treatment of the most important element of dramatic plot. Indeed, conflict is more than present—it abounds nearly to distraction!
On the surface, we find the most pertinent conflict in the tension between Mozart and Salieri. Here we find Salieri's understandable frustration at Mozart's meteoric rise to fame and success. Yet we also discover that Salieri struggles with the very gift itself which Mozart takes for granted: the ability to create music of such sublime beauty and versatility. Salieri would do anything to have such a gift—and yet he finds that very gift wasted on a "moral dwarf" who doesn't appreciate it at all.
As we go below the surface, however, we begin to discover that there are many layers of tension. Mozart may not worry about the jealousy of Salieri—indeed, he is quite unaware of it, which proves his undoing—but he has some issues of his own to deal with. His father's constant demands and unattainable standards of perfection provide Mozart with enough conflict to fuel a drama in its own right. But then we must add in the tension that he experiences with his wife, who wants nothing more than to keep him alive and healthy long enough to raise his son.
Below this we find more tensions. Mozart, it turns out, has some jealousies of his own—such as the favor of Emperor Joseph. Chief among these jealousies, it turns out, is Mozart's insistence upon doing what he wants. He couches this demand, of course, in terms of protecting his art and obeying his creative muse, but the real truth becomes apparent as the film progresses: Mozart wants to do what Mozart wants to do. This particular conflict comes to a head when the Emperor forbids him to produce an opera about Figaro, yet Mozart goes right ahead and does so nonetheless.
- The purpose of this passage is to
- explain the life of Mozart.
- address areas of conflict in Amadeus.
- discover who really killed Mozart.
- summarize the plot of Amadeus.
- persuade readers to watch Amadeus.
- Which of the following areas of conflict is NOT present in Amadeus?
- Salieri is jealous of Mozart's gifts.
- Mozart is jealous of Salieri's position.
- Mozart's wife is jealous of Mozart's family time.
- Emperor Joseph is resisting Mozart's plans.
- Mozart wants to have things his own way.
- The last paragraph is intended to
- spoil the plot of the movie.
- make the reader wonder who Mozart really was.
- analyze the moral character of Mozart.
- cast doubt on Salieri's role in Mozart's career.
- show that Emperor Joseph was wrong.
- Conflict is an important element in
- plot structure.
- dramatic tension.
- the life of Mozart.
- the life of Salieri.
- the life of Emperor Joseph.
Questions 37 to 40 refer to the following contract.
The Contractor promises and agrees with the Owner as follows:
- Contractor shall provide all materials necessary to complete said construction in the most timely manner, in accordance with all relevant building codes and industrial standards.
- Contractor shall follow all blueprints, architectural renderings, and other pertinent documents as provided by Owner to the best of his or her abilities. Any deviation from said documents shall be approved and authorized by Owner prior to Contractor beginning work.
- Owner shall vacate premises at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to commencement of construction, and the premises shall remain vacated for at least twenty-four (24) hours after construction has been completed. Contractor shall permit Owner access to goods stored on premises during construction, with the stipulation that Owner shall provide notice at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance, and Owner shall remain on premises no longer than necessary to retrieve or store goods.
Risk of Loss
Owner assumes all risk of destruction, loss, or damage to the property due to fire, vandalism, or act of God before, during, and after construction. Contractor assumes all risk of destruction, loss, or damage to his or her own equipment before, during, and after construction. This equipment includes but is not limited to all construction tools, motor vehicles, personal equipment, and moveable goods used by him or her and/or his or her employees. Contractor further assumes all responsibility for any harm or injury to his or her employees before, during, and after construction.
Firm and Fixed Pricing
Contractor agrees that the price stated in paragraph 6, subsection 3, shall be firm and fixed, and that he or she shall neither increase nor decrease the final cost of all aspects of construction detailed in paragraph 5, subsections 1 through 12.
- According to the contract, who will be responsible if a construction worker is injured on the job?
- the worker
- not specified
- What will happen if the price of lumber doubles in the coming months?
- The price of the job will remain the same.
- The price of the job will increase.
- Contractor will renegotiate with Owner.
- The job will be put on hold.
- It is not specified.
- When can Owner move back to the premises of this contract?
- once the building inspector has given the OK
- after Contractor has completed the work
- 24 hours after construction is completed
- 36 hours after Contractor has closed
- not specified
- How long does Contractor have to complete this work?
- 24 hours
- 48 hours
- six months from starting
- It is negotiable with Owner.
- It is not specified.
- b. Frost is referring to the Latin motto E pluribus unum, which is found on the dollar bill. The Latin phrase means out of one, many.
- d. The Declaration referred to is the Declaration of Independence. Frost is addressing a number of American documents that summarize elements of American history.
- a. The word sovereignty means self-rule. A sovereign nation is independent from other nations. The poet makes this clear in the context of the poem, which is discussing American's independence.
- d. Frost is referring to the Wright brothers as the twain who invented the airplane. The word twain means two.
- e. This poem was written on the occasion of President Kennedy's inauguration. Frost is recounting some of the nation's history, urging the new president to continue that tradition.
- c. The narrator makes it clear that he is enthusiastic about America's history, but he also lets us know that he supports the election of the new president. This permits us to infer that he is an American citizen.
- d. The phrase consecrated seers suggests that Jefferson and Madison were prophets, and that they were looking forward to the sort of things that the poet envisions in America's future.
- b. This line is an example of iambic pentameter: five feet, each with one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.
- d. The narrator is describing his first visit to the headquarters of the British Secret Service, and how he became a spy.
- c. The author thought that the building where he was interviewed was a fake, not the genuine headquarters for the British Secret Service. He tells us that he was surprised when he discovered that it was the real thing.
- a. The narrator is telling us how he became involved with the British Secret Service. We can safely infer, therefore, that he did espionage work. He may have been in Afghanistan, but we are not told that in this passage.
- e. The improvised dummy would be a false representation of the real headquarters building, put together in a big hurry to mislead job applicants.
- d. The former Marxist is the man who the narrator thinks is wearing a false beard. The beard, however, turns out to be real, as the author later discovers.
- b. The word proliferate means to spread and grow richly. In this context, the word refers to the man's black beard—which he had allowed to grow and expand.
- b. This is a selection from an autobiography. You can tell because it is a story about someone's life, and the person telling the story is the subject as well.
- e. The selection is told in the first person. The narrator is a character within the story, and refers to himself directly as I and me.
- d. George is trying to nuzzle with Beneatha on the couch, but she just wants to talk. This frustrates George, who eventually does become angry—but before he was angry he just wanted to be romantic.
- d. The one thing that Beneatha and George seem to agree on is that she loves to talk. What she wants to talk about is not stated; in fact, it is possible that any topic will do.
- e. George states that he wants to be with a woman who is not moody. He does mention Garbo and poetry—but in a negative light, as qualities that he is not interested in.
- a. Beneatha becomes angry when George does not share her view of talking and reading and education. She thinks that she is more sophisticated than George, but in reality, she just loves to talk and he doesn't.
- c. Mama actually offers no wisdom, other than the most obvious advice. Beneatha, however, feels that Mama has been understanding simply because Mama has listened to her talking.
- e. Mama does tell Beneatha that she should avoid fools, but she does not actually say that George is a fool. In fact, she makes no assessment of George at all; she just lets Beneatha do the talking.
- b. This is a passage of dialogue: two or more characters talking together.
- d. Mama is unloading packages that she carried with her on stage. We know this from the stage directions that are given in her lines.
- b. The nature of the disagreement in this scene is not very serious in the long run, and it is probable that Beneatha and George will make it up later.
- a. The person dressed up like a little girl is actually Huck Finn. He tells the woman that his name is Sarah Williams, then Sarah Mary Williams to cover the first lie—then lies a third time by claiming that his name is George Peters.
- d. Huck tells us that he was so nervous that he couldn't sit still. He wanted to do something with his hands, so he tried to thread a needle.
- d. The woman first detected that Huck was not a girl when he threaded the needle. From then on she was paying attention to little details that made her more certain—details she spells out in the passage.
- b. The woman understands that there are deep differences between the sexes, differences far more significant that simple clothing. She shows Huck that boys act like boys without even knowing it—even when they try not to.
- e. The story is told in the first person by Huckleberry Finn himself.
- b. Huck's language shows that he has not been educated. His grammar and sentence structure are not formal, and his use of slang suggests that he has not gone to school.
- a. The woman tells Huck that women will thread a needle by moving the thread toward the needle, while men do it the other way around. According to her observations, a male will move the needle toward the thread.
- b. The review is addressing the areas of conflict that are dealt with in the film Amadeus. This is stated indirectly in the first two sentences.
- b. Each of the tensions listed is dealt with in the review, except for number 2. According to the article, Mozart is not jealous of anything to do with Salieri; it is the other way around.
- c. The last paragraph takes a scrutinizing look at the character of Mozart—specifically his tendency in the film to demand his own way. It does not draw any conclusions, however— such as who was at fault.
- a. Conflict is an essential element in plot structure. There needs to be some form of conflict between the protagonist and someone else—usually the antagonist—for there to be a plot.
- b. The answer can be found in the last sentence of the Risk of Loss section. The Contractor is stated as the party responsible for worker safety.
- a. The answer can be found in the section called Firm and Fixed Pricing. The Contractor has agreed that the price will not increase or decrease, regardless of external conditions—such as the price of lumber.
- c. The answer can be found in item number 3 of the section on Contractor's Obligations. That paragraph states that the Owner must vacate the premises 24 hours prior to construction, and cannot return until at least 24 hours after completion.
- e. This detail is not specified in this passage. There is no reference to any time frame for construction, only time frames for when the Owner can use the premises.
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