Language Arts / Writing

Part I

The Language Arts, Writing testing portion is divided into two parts. Part I covers sentence structure, organization, usage, and mechanics. Students are provided with passages which they are then asked to correct or improve according to Edited American English standards, or equivalent standards in the French version of the test offered in Canada.

30% of Part I covers structure, 15% organization, 30% usage, and 25% mechanics. Common questions include asking students to identify where punctuation should be placed and how sentences in a paragraph should be arranged for maximum clarity. Common misspellings, subject-verb agreement, and capitalization are also covered. Students receive 75 minutes to complete the 50 questions comprising Part I.

Part II

Part II of the Language Arts, Writing test requires the student to write an essay. Students have 45 minutes to complete the essay, though anyone who finishes Part I early can add the remaining time from that portion to their essay writing period. A passing essay must have at least 5 paragraphs and must contain a clearly defined introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction must contain a thesis statement as well as preview sentences of the body. The body should contain three paragraphs, each containing separate yet related ideas that develop the main idea. The final paragraph must adequately and coherently summarize the whole essay.

All essay subjects are assigned. The topics selected do not require any special knowledge or advance reading on the student's part; instead, they focus on general interest topics that most people are familiar with and comfortable discussing, verbally or in print. Example subjects include the influence of violent music on teenagers, the advantages or disadvantages of a "child-free" lifestyle, and the importance of receiving a diploma in modern society.

Part II is the only test within the GED testing battery that is not scored by computer. The essay is read by two reviewers within the state or testing district where the test has been taken. These reviewers each assign the essay a score between 1 (worst) and 4 (best); the scores are then averaged to find the final score. If a student receives an average score of less than 2, Part I is not scored and the student has to take both parts of the Language Arts, Writing test again. In some districts, a student must pass the essay before they are allowed to take any other tests in the battery.