By Leonard Williams
If you're planning to take the GED® test soon, it's essential to understand the Extended Response (ER) sections of the test, since many test candidates find these to be the most difficult aspects of the GED test. Understanding what this part of the GED test expects-and how it's scored-should make passing the GED test easier, help drive your GED test training, and improve your GED test results.
500,000 People Will Pass the GED This Year.
You’re here because you want to be one of them. The one-of-a-kind best-selling GED Academy learning program can get you there, fast and easy.
The GED certificate, the common term for the GED certificate, is the adult's alternative to a high school diploma. The GED certificate is awarded after passing tests in Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA), mathematical reasoning, science, and social studies. Learn more: How can I get my GED certificate?
Most of the GED test is multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank. However, part of the GED test requires the candidate to write two original essays: one in the RLA content area, and one in social studies. These questions will require you to write clear and easy-to-understand essays, with a main idea and details that support your point of view with evidence from the provided source documents. To get a GED certificate, you must pass the GED test ER components.
A total of 45 minutes is allowed for the RLA Extended Response, while 25 minutes are slotted for the social studies ER. Passing the GED test requires that you get a minimum passing score on the essays.
GED Test Extended Responses are scored by an Automated Scoring Engine (ASE).
The Automated Scoring Engine (ASE) is specially calibrated to duplicate the human scoring process; this training is based on a computer evaluation of the characteristics of hundreds of test-taker responses that align with all possible score points on the rubric. Additionally, people always read a sample of the responses to ensure quality, and responses flagged as being unusual are automatically forwarded to scorers for evaluation.
GED test Extended Response scoring is based on three areas, and measures the overall impression of the essay:
- Analysis of Arguments and Use of Evidence
- Development of Ideas and Organizational Structure
- Clarity and Command of Standard English Conventions
Here's a good way to understand these requirements. The essay is scored on whether it responds to the prompt. Does it talk about the topic it's supposed to? It also needs organization. Does it have a beginning, a middle, and an end? And it needs details. Does it give examples? The essay is also scored on grammar, punctuation, word choice, and sentence structure. Is it readable and understandable? The grammar and spelling doesn't have to be perfect. The most important measure is whether the essay is easy to understand, makes sense, and clearly answers the prompt.
Prompts differ from test to test, cover a variety of topics, and are not released in advance of the test.
So, what's the best way to prepare for the GED test Extended Responses? Practice. To get GED test practice for the essays, practice writing two-page essays in the 45-minute time period. You may want to get prompts from free online GED test study resources. Taking a GED certificate practice test that includes sample GED test essay prompts is very helpful. Your GED test prep should include GED test essays scored by a teacher and GED test practice scoring your own essays, if possible.
Remember, you'll need to support your main idea with your knowledge and examples from the source in the prompt. You'll also want to make sure every sentence in your essay relates to your topic and main idea. Start off your essay with a beginning paragraph that gives your main idea. In two or three middle paragraphs, talk about specific points in your main idea. Use details like stories, descriptions, facts, and events to get your idea across. Include a conclusion that tells why what you're writing about is important!
Once you write a few essays, ask for critique and guidance to determine how well your essays are organized, whether they focus on your subject, and whether they include details that support your main topic. You'll also want to know that your grammar and use of English mechanics are sound.
- The University of Texas-Austin, Continuing Education Department, provides fantastic hints to help GED certificate candidates get ready for the Extended Responses. http://www.utexas.edu/cee/dec/scoring/hints.shtml
- The American Council on Education develops GED tests and provides information online about testing, official GED test locations, GED test scores, GED certificate sample test questions and prompts, and GED certificate transcripts. The website is here.
- For more detailed testing advice about the GED test, including the essay exam and scoring, visit the GED Academy.