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Reasoning Through Language Arts

Reading comprehension and writing are all about communication, and chances are good you’ve already done plenty of both in your life. The Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) test assesses your ability to understand what you read and how to write clearly.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You should be familiar with reading and writing concepts, including grammar.
  • You’ll need to read excerpts from a variety of informational and literary sources and show your understanding, draw conclusions, and write clearly.
  • Your writing will demonstrate your ability to analyze two passages, decide which argument has more convincing evidence and explain why the evidence supports your choice.
  • Use the free Language Arts Study Guide to start studying. It will help you understand the skills being tested. Log in to start using the study guide.
  • The GED Ready® practice test for RLA can help you determine if you are ready to take the actual test. Log in to give it a try.
  • Log in to learn how to write a perfect extended response with video instruction and examples.

Try a Sample Question

This question requires you to comprehend Anne’s request and to make an inference about her character based on this understanding. You need to engage in thought processes to look beyond what is directly stated in the excerpt.

Read the excerpt, and answer the question that follows.

Excerpt from Anne of Green Gables

by L.M. Montgomery

1 Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door. But when her eyes fell on the odd little figure in the stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair and the eager, luminous eyes, she stopped short in amazement.

2 “Matthew Cuthbert, who’s that?” she exclaimed. “Where is the boy?”

3 “There wasn’t any boy,” said Matthew wretchedly. “There was only her.”

4 He nodded at the child, remembering that he had never even asked her name.

5 “No boy! But there must have been a boy,” insisted Marilla. “We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy.”

6 “Well, she didn’t. She brought her. I asked the stationmaster. And I had to bring her home. She couldn’t be left there, no matter where the mistake had come in.”

7 “Well, this is a pretty piece of business!” exclaimed Marilla.

8 During this dialogue the child had remained silent, her eyes roving from one to the other, all the animation fading out of her face. Suddenly she seemed to grasp the full meaning of what had been said. Dropping her precious carpetbag she sprang forward a step and clasped her hands.

9 “You don’t want me!” she cried. “I might have expected it. Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last. I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall I do? I’m going to burst into tears!”

10 Burst into tears she did. Sitting down on a chair by the table, flinging her arms out upon it, and burying her face in them, she proceeded to cry stormily. Marilla and Matthew looked at each other helplessly across the stove. Neither of them knew what to say or do. Finally Marilla stepped lamely into the breach.

11 “Well, well, there’s no need to cry so about it.”

12 “Yes, there is need!” The child raised her head quickly, revealing a tear-stained face and trembling lips. “You would cry, too, if you were an orphan and had come to a place you thought was going to be home and found that they didn’t want you. Oh, this is the most tragical thing that ever happened to me!”

13 Something like a reluctant smile, rather rusty from long disuse, mellowed Marilla’s grim expression.

14 “Well, don’t cry any more. We’re not going to turn you out of doors tonight. You’ll have to stay here until we investigate this affair. What’s your name?”

15 The child hesitated for a moment.

16 “Will you please call me Cordelia?” she said eagerly.

17 “Call you Cordelia! Is that your name?”

18 “No-o-o, it’s not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”

19 “I don’t know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn’t your name, what is?”

20 “Anne Shirley,” reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, “but oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can’t matter much to you what you call me if I’m only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name.”

21 “Unromantic fiddlesticks!” said the unsympathetic Marilla. “Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You’ve no need to be ashamed of it.”

22 “Oh, I’m not ashamed of it,” explained Anne, “only I like Cordelia better. I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia-at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an e.”

23 “What difference does it make how it’s spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

24 “Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer.”

In this excerpt, Anne asks Marilla to call her “Cordelia.” What does this request reveal about Anne?

In this excerpt, Anne asks Marilla to call her “Cordelia.” What does this request reveal about Anne?