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How to Prepare for and Pass the GED Social Studies Exam

August 10, 2020

If you’re wanting to know how to pass the social studies section of the GED test, you’ve come to the right place. The social studies portion of the GED test is designed to check your knowledge of history, government, economics, and geography. These are divided up in the following ways:

  • Civics and Government (50% of the section)
  • U.S. History (20%)
  • Economics (15%)
  • Geography and the World (15%)

To pass the social studies section of the test, you won’t be required to memorize facts about each subject. Instead, it will be more about social studies as it relates to real-life applications, including: 

  • Analyzing history and interpretations of events
  • Reading to understand social studies subjects
  • Interpreting graphs and numbers related to social studies

Below, we’ll answer major questions about passing the social studies section. This should demystify the subjects you’ll be tested on and help you study for them in the simplest way. 


What Do I Need to Know about Government?

Don’t worry. You don’t need to master complex political issues or memorize every fact about our government. Just get very familiar with the structure of our government, such as its different branches.

Do I Have to Memorize Historical Dates and Names?

No, the exact dates don’t matter as much as being able to interpret events and ideas. The same applies to geography. Study the overview of these subjects, but really practice how to think about them—and form your own opinions.

At the same time, you should be able to discuss specific events related to U.S. history, including: 

  • The Louisiana Purchase
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • The Civil War
  • NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
  • And others

In order to read and understand history well, you should also practice these skills: 

  • Recognize an author’s point of view or bias and the possible reasons for it
  • Be able to separate fact, opinion, and propaganda
  • Use evidence to reach possible conclusions
  • Explore the relationships between events, people, places, and processes

How Can I Study for the Subject of Economics?

Again, to pass, you don’t have to worry about a lot of memorization. You also don’t have to understand the theories of economics, such as how to avoid recessions. Focus instead on important skills, such as: 

  • Reading graphs and numbers
  • Differentiating between correlation and causation and between dependent and independent variables
  • Applying data found in graphs, maps, tables, and charts
  • Using statistical terms like median, mean, and mode

Use Practice Tests for Success

Take practice tests for each test subject. If you’re worried about passing the social studies portion of the test, look at social studies practice material. Practice tests and material are a vital part of this studying process: 

  1. Use practice tests to figure out which subject areas or skills are hardest for you
  2. Study the material for your weakest areas
  3. Retake the practice exams until you’re confident you can pass the real thing

You can access study guides and practice tests by creating a free account with GED Testing Service—the official practice site for the GED test. When you study and are prepared to pass, you may feel less anxious before the test and more confident during testing.




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