A Quick Guide to Writing an Extended Response for the GED Language Arts Test
Many students fear the writing part of the GED test. And we understand. After all, it takes effort and time to organize your ideas, fix sentence structures, and ensure that grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling are correct. With only 45 minutes to complete your essay, how will you be able to finish your piece? Thankfully, there are ways to make this part easy for you. You don’t have to be a gifted writer to write succeed in writing a winning essay for the Extended Response portion of the GED writing test. There are tips to succeed in writing your essay.
What’s in the GED Writing Extended Response Portion of the Test?
The Extended Response part of the GED Language Arts test assesses your ability to develop an argument and support this with strong evidence. You will be asked to read two passages with opposite perspectives on a topic. You will be required to read these two passages and choose the position which you think is better supported.
This test will check how well you create arguments and use evidence. Also, it would also test your clarity and command of Standard English language.
Quick Tips to Remember When Writing Your Essay:
- Take a deep breath. Nervous about the test? Ease anxiety by taking deep breaths before writing your essay. Being stressed while writing might keep your focus away from the task and affect the quality of your essay.
- Read the two passages carefully. Make sure you understand each passage before choosing your position.
- Make an outline. Don’t write right away. Create an outline first. Choose a position that you can easily defend based on what you’ve read, then list down the main points to support this position.
- Your essay should have:
- 1. An introduction that states your main argument
2. At least 3 paragraphs with your supporting evidence
3. A conclusion that restates your main argument and main points.
- Focus on the first and last paragraphs first. This will help you stick to your argument and main points.
- Be clear. The paragraphs in between your first and last paragraphs should clearly explain your main points. Start each paragraph by stating the main point that you want to talk about.
- Proofread your work. Check your work for grammar and spelling errors. Improve sentence structures with the time that’s left.
Keep in mind that the saying, “practice makes perfect” applies here. Mastering essay writing takes a lot of practice and reading. Begin practicing your writing as well improving your comprehension skills with our Free GED Practice Tests for Language Arts. We also recommend reading high-quality newspapers, publications, and literary pieces to help build your English writing skills.
The Extended Response section of the GED can be very intimidating. But as momma used to say, “practice makes perfect.” The more familiar you become with the writing process, the better your chances of passing! Use our practice GED essay topics to help perfect your writing skills!
How to practice for the Extended Response section
- Set a timer for 45 minutes. This is how long you have to write your essay during the actual GED exam. It is best to practice under conditions that mimic the real test.
- Whenever possible, type your practice responses. During the GED, all your essays will be written on the computer.
- Always outline your answer first. Taking a few minutes at the beginning to structure your essay can save you valuable writing time later.
- Vary your response topics. The GED asks test-takers to write on a variety of subject matter. Prepare yourself by finding different prompts that stretch your writing abilities.
- Keep in mind that successful prompts generally contain 4-7 paragraphs with 3-7 sentences each. Whenever you practice, aim for essays that are in the 400-500 word range.
- Use specific evidence from the text when writing. Doing so creates a stronger essay by showing you read and understand the information presented.
For a more in-depth view of extended responses, check out the RLA Guide for Adult Educators. This is a complete overview of how to write a GED essay, as well as how the essay will be scored. Guidelines are given so that you can follow as closely as possible to a real testing situation.
Where to find practice GED Essay topics
When looking for GED essay topics online, keep in mind that not all sites reflect updated GED information. Many sites still list pre-2014 GED requirements for written responses. Writing topics that ask you to respond with a personal opinion are no longer featured on the current GED.
A quality GED essay topic always provides 2 articles written with opposing opinions. Your task is to read both articles, then determine which opinion is best supported throughout the text. Your personal opinion is never asked for or shared in your response.
GED Testing Services
Start here first! GED Testing Service is always a great place to find quality GED essay topics. This site has 5 different reading passages. Covering a range of topics, these passages provide conflicting arguments on issues such as cell phone usage, game-based learning, parenting, internet use and hosting the Olympics. Like many essay prompts, analyze the passages, then develop an essay based on which position is best supported by the text.
GED Practice Questions
In this prompt, two articles highlight differing perspectives on police militarization. In addition to regular essay instructions, a sample response is provided for review. The sample essay is a good example of what GED essays should look like. Compare your essay with the sample to see which areas need improvement.
GED Test for Dummies
Taken directly from their book, Dummies authors present arguments for and against making cyberbullying a criminal defense. After reading both arguments, write your essay explaining which opinion is best supported. Always use specific evidence found in the text to validate your essay.
For tips on how to determine which argument is stronger, Dummies also provides step-by-step guided instruction in essay writing.
How to Pass the GED
The topics here vary from Miranda Rights to Santa Claus. For each GED essay topic, two opposing opinions are shared. You write on the one that is better represented. In addition to the prompts, the site explains the process that goes into writing a 5-paragraph GED essay for the Extended Response section.
Another bonus: essays for BOTH sides of the argument are provided. Each essay is outlined and thoroughly explained according to the site’s guidelines. For a comprehensive view of how to compose an essay, this is a great site to visit.
ACE Leon Evidence-Based Writing Prompts
Although these prompts are not framed in the true GED extended response format, they still offer a great way to practice. There are over 7 different writing topics to choose from. Because this is evidence-based writing, structures are in place to help guide your responses.
Create your own GED essay topics
If you get to a point where you can’t find any more practice writing prompts, consider making up your own. GED essay topics generally reflect current events. Find an article that expresses an opinion on any topic, and write an essay analyzing that information.
Practicing the components of quality essay writing is helpful no matter what topic you focus on. Just make sure you cite evidence from the article in your essay!
We have lots more GED information waiting for you! Check out any of our great Magoosh blogs for loads of GED tips, guides and resources.
About Beth Gonzales
Beth is an educator and freelance creative designer who devises innovative and fun-loving solutions for clients. She works with families, students, teachers and small businesses to create and implement programs, campaigns and experiences that help support and maximize efforts to grow communities who critically think, engage and continue to learn.
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