GED: Language Arts Reading Test — Subjects to Know

The GED Language Arts Reading Test will test how well you understand selections from different types of literature — such as fiction, poetry, and drama — and from nonfiction — such as nonfiction prose and documents commonly found in the workplace or community.

This portion of the GED exam is 1 hour and 5 minutes long and contains 40 multiple-choice questions. Here are some key considerations about the reading exam:

  • Expect reading selections to be between 200 and 400 words long.

  • Expect each sentence to be followed by four to eight questions.

  • Expect a brief, easy-to-read question (purpose question) before each selection to help you in understanding the reading.

  • Expect to be able to answer the questions based on the reading. (A previous knowledge of literary works is not necessary.)

You should know how to read, understand, and answer questions from the following areas (previous knowledge of these types of literature is not necessary):

Literary texts (composes 75% of the test)

  • Fiction selections will be from fiction before 1920, fiction from 1920 to 1960, and fiction after 1960. The selections will be parts of short stories or novels.

  • Poetry will include short poems or parts of longer poems.

  • Drama will include parts of plays.

  • All literary selections will be written by well known and respected writers.

Nonfiction texts (Composes 25% of the test)

This section will include selections from two of the three following areas.

  • Nonfiction prose will include short essays or speeches, or parts of longer nonfiction works.

  • Reviews will include critical reviews of plays, books, films, music, or other forms of art.

  • Workplace and community documents will include such documents as guidelines for employee behavior, excerpts from manuals, legal documents, and so on.