Education.com

# Social Studies Exam Tips and Strategies: GED Test Prep (page 4)

By LearningExpress Editors
LearningExpress, LLC

### Bar Graphs

A bar graph is one way to present facts visually. A bar graph features a vertical axis (running up and down on the left-hand side of the graph) and a horizontal axis (running along the bottom of the graph). The graph represents quantities in strips or bars. To construct a bar graph from the table, "World Energy Consumption, 1970–2020,"mark the five-year increments on the bottom horizontal axis and the units of energy consumed (by increments of 100 quadrillion Btu) on the vertical axis. By representing the table's data in a bar graph, you can visualize the world's energy consumption trend more easily.

### Line Graphs

Line graphs compare two or more things and help you visualize trends at a glance. Like the bar graph, a line graph features a horizontal and vertical axis. Look at the graph, "Immigrants Admitted: Fiscal Years 1900–2000." The vertical axis marks the number of immigrants (in thousands). The horizontal axis measures each decade between 1900 and 2000. A point for each year is plotted on the coordinate plane and a line connects each point. By using a line graph, you can readily see immigration trends over the century.

Exercise 2

Look at the line graph, "Immigrants Admitted to the United States," and then answer the following questions.

1. What was the general trend of U.S. immigration between 1950 and 1990?
2. In which decades was the lowest point of U.S. immigration in the last century?
3. When did the highest point occur?

### Circle Graphs

Circle graphs, also called pie charts, display information so that you can see relationships between parts and a whole. The entire circle in the graph represents 100% of something. The graph divides the whole into parts, or pie slices. To understand a circle graph, read the title of the graph. What does the graph represent? Read all other headings and labels. What does each portion of the circle represent? Now you are ready to see how the parts of information relate. Review the following circle graph and then answer the practice questions.

Exercise 3

Use the circle graph "The Federal Government Dollar" to answer the following questions.

1. What percentage of the federal budget comes from social insurance receipts and corporate income taxes?
2. What is the biggest source of income for the federal government?
3. Which program receives the largest share of the national budget?
4. What proportion of the budget goes to paying off debt?

### Maps

Maps are printed or drawn representations of a geographic area. Social scientists use different types of maps to understand the natural or cultural facts about an area. Maps can visually display many kinds of information, such as the physical features of the land, political boundaries between nations, or population densities.

Topographic maps show the physical features of land, including land elevations and depressions, water depth, rivers, forests, mountains, or human-made cities and roads.

Political maps display political divisions and borders.

Special-purpose maps can depict a wide range of information about an area, from average rainfall, crop distribution, or population density, to migration patterns of people.

To read a map, carefully review each of the following:

• Title—describes what the map represents
• Legend, or key—a table or list that explains the symbols used in a map
• Latitude and longitude—latitude refers to the lines on a map that are parallel to the equator; longitude refers to lines parallel to the prime meridian that run north to south through Greenwich, England. These lines help locate specific areas on a map.
• Scale—shows the map's proportion in relation to the area it represents. For example, on a topographic map, the scale might show the distance on the map that equals a mile or kilometer on land.

Exercise 4

Review the special-purpose map below, paying careful attention to its details, and then answer the practice questions.

1. What is the title of the map?
2. What do the four shades of gray indicate in the legend?
3. How much did the population change in this decade in the state of California?
4. Which states experienced the largest population change in this decade?
5. Which areas experienced a loss?

### Political Cartoons

A regular feature in American newspapers since the early nineteenth century, political cartoons use satirical humor to comment on a current event. Their purpose is to express an opinion—the political point of view of the cartoonist or the newspaper or magazine in which they appear. A cartoon will often focus and simplify a single issue or event so that readers can easily grasp its message. Cartoons employ few words, often just enough to make their point clear. They sometimes use caricature, a technique in which the cartoonist deliberately exaggerates the features of well-known people (often politicians) to make fun of them.

Because of their emotional appeal, political cartoons can be effective tools in swaying public opinion. The power of political cartoons was demonstrated in 1869 when Harper's Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast used his art to help end the corrupt Boss Tweed Ring in New York City. Nast first introduced symbols that we still use today: the elephant for the Republican Party and the donkey for the Democratic Party.

### Interpreting Political Cartoons

To understand and interpret a cartoon, you can use the same critical thinking skills that you employ when finding meaning in a written text. This political cartoon is from December 9, 2002. It refers to the United States's demand for weapons inspections in Iraq. Review the cartoon and ask yourself these basic questions:

• What are the details or symbols used in the cartoon? Did the cartoonist use a caricature?
• What is happening in the cartoon?
• What comparisons or contrasts are depicted in the cartoon?
• Political cartoons express an opinion. What is the point of view of the cartoonist?
• What is the historical context of the cartoon? Historical cartoons may be more difficult for today's readers to interpret. You will need to consider the conditions of the time period in which the cartoon was created.

Exercise 5

Now use the political cartoon to select the best answer to the following question.

Which statement best describes the main idea of the cartoon?

1. The U.S. government believed in 2002 that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.
2. The United States believes in a pacifist approach.
3. In 2002, the U.S. government was hypocritical in its demand that Iraq disarm its weapons of mass destruction.
5. George Bush personally inspected Iraq for weapons of mass destruction.

### Photographs

Photographs are powerful visual documents of personal or public life. In addition to recording a specific time period or event, they are effective tools of persuasion. In the nineteenth century, William H. Jackson's photographs of the Yellowstone region were influential in persuading the U.S. Congress to designate the area a national park, journalist Jacob Riis's photographs of New York City slums led to needed social reform, and Lewis Hine's shocking images of children working in factories resulted in the passage of child-protection legislation in 1916. Photographs are also an important part of the historic record. Photographers like James Van Der Zee, who chronicled life in Harlem for 60 years, contribute information about a past culture.

When you look at a photograph, use the same critical thinking skills you would when reading a written passage or other type of graphic. Does the photograph express a main idea or theme? What is the supporting evidence? Ask yourself the following questions:

• What is happening in the photo?
• What details can I learn from the image?
• What do I think is the message that the photographer is trying to express?
• Is there a caption or title to the photo?
• What is the historical context of the image?

Look at the following photograph of working children in an Indiana factory at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Exercise 6

Which of the following conclusions can you draw from the photo?

1. Laws in the early 1900s protected children from long working hours.
2. The photographer believed that children could make significant contributions to the economy.
3. Children in 1908 worked in occupations where they would not be permitted today.
4. The Progressives fought to create labor laws that would protect children.
5. Children should work to contribute to their families.

150 Characters allowed

### Related Questions

#### Q:

See More Questions

### Today on Education.com

#### WORKBOOKS

May Workbooks are Here!

#### ACTIVITIES

Get Outside! 10 Playful Activities