GED: The Language of the Test, List 3

These words are likely to appear in question stems, answer options, and test directions on the GED Test. Master these important terms to ensure you understand the language of the test.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. clarify
    make clear and comprehensible
    Clarify means "to make clear." A writer might include examples to help clarify a point. Language that is used to clarify is usually easy to understand and explanatory in tone.
  2. disagree
    be of different opinions
    To disagree is to have a different opinion than someone else. People can disagree about a particular issue and passages disagree when they come to opposite conclusions.
  3. introduce
    bring before the public for the first time
    To introduce is to present something for the first time. This word may refer to the first few paragraphs of a passage, where the main ideas are introduced for the first time, establishing what the passage is about. Over the course of a passage, new ideas or characters may be introduced. The way things are introduced can be a clue as to how the author feels about them.
  4. accurate
    characterized by perfect conformity to fact or truth
    When something is accurate, it is correct. Accurate data is important when performing scientific experiments, accurate calculations are required to complete math problems, and accurate statements reflect true facts.
  5. approximate
    not quite exact or correct
    When you approximate something, you make an educated guess about its size or amount. An approximate number is one that is close to the real value, but may not be exact. On standardized tests, especially on math or science tests, you may be asked to give approximate answers, which means you will be expected to round. A question might ask something like "Approximately how many times greater is quantity X than quantity Y?"
  6. vary
    be subject to change
    When something doesn't stay the same, we say that it varies. To vary is to change. In a scientific experiment, the quantity that varies, or changes, is called a variable.
  7. likely
    having a good chance of being the case or of coming about
    Likely is one of those words test writers love to use. It usually shows up in the expression most likely. For example, you may see a question like "On which of the following points would the authors of both passages most likely agree?" You can't talk to the authors and definitely find out the answer, so you are expected to make an educated guess based on the evidence in the passages.
  8. paragraph
    one of several distinct subdivisions of a text
    A paragraph is a few sentences about one particular aspect of the general topic in a reading passage. You can easily spot a paragraph, because it is usually indented. Questions on the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts Test may refer to a particular paragraph in a passage or ask you to look at specific lines within a paragraph.
  9. include
    have as a part; be made up out of
    When you include something, you incorporate it into a larger something. You may be asked why an author most likely chose to include certain details in his or her argument; it will be your job to infer why that decision was made. The opposite of include is exclude, which means "rule out" or "prevent from joining."
  10. example
    an item of information that is typical of a class or group
    An example is something used to prove a point. When making arguments, authors typically use examples to support their claims.
  11. relationship
    a state involving dealings between people, parties, or ideas
    Some questions on the GED may ask you about how two different things relate to or interact with each other. For example, a question could ask: "Which statement best describes the relationship between the passages?"
  12. phrase
    an expression consisting of one or more words
    A phrase is a bit of text that is made up of more than one word. A phrase can be as short as two words or it can be much longer. A question could begin, "The author most likely uses the phrase 'X Y Z' in order to...?" You will most likely see this word in questions that quote the phrase you are being asked to analyze.
  13. description
    a statement that represents something in words
    A description uses language to illustrate the characteristics of a person or thing. Descriptions in literary texts can paint a picture in a reader's mind of what something looks or feels like. Descriptions usually include adjectives or adverbs.
  14. difference
    the quality of being unlike or dissimilar
    Difference has many meanings, but they all describe things that are not the same. When comparing two ideas or passages, you might be asked to identify similarities and differences. On the GED Mathematical Reasoning Test, the number that is the result of a subtraction problem is called "the difference" because it is the difference between two values.
  15. similar
    having the same or nearly the same characteristics
    This is another word that will come up when you are comparing things. Two things are similar when they are almost the same. When you notice that two things are similar, you are identifying similarities.
  16. reveal
    make known to the public information previously kept secret
    When you reveal something, you make known something that was hidden, unknown, or secret. Reveal can be used as a synonym for show. If you are asked what a particular action reveals about a character or what part of a graph reveals about a set of data, you need to identify what the action or graph shows.
  17. examine
    consider in detail in order to discover essential features
    To carry out an in-depth discussion or investigation of something is to examine it in detail. Other words related to examine include study, investigate, and analyze.
  18. explicit
    precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable
    Explicit points are made directly; you won't have to read between the lines to find them in a reading passage. If a question asks you about what a writer has explicitly stated, you better head back to the passage to find it. It will be right there in front of you. Explicit is the opposite of implicit, meaning "suggested or implied, but not stated directly."
  19. implicit
    suggested though not directly expressed
    Can you see the word imply in the word implicit? That can help you remember that implicit is an adjective to describe something that is not directly (or explicitly) stated. You may have to figure out the implicit message conveyed by a passage or author.
  20. portion
    something determined in relation to a thing that includes it
    A portion is a part or section of something. Questions on the GED may refer to "the underlined portion" of a passage.
  21. propose
    present for consideration, examination, or criticism
    On a standardized test, the word propose isn't about asking someone to marry you! To propose is to suggest an idea. Propose isn't as strong as assert or contend. You propose something when you have an idea you're not sure of and you are testing it out. For example, a scientist may propose a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis through experimentation.
  22. author
    a person who writes professionally
    An author is a writer, and you will spend some of your time on the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts Test trying to figure out what messages different authors are trying to express through their writing. Be careful not to confuse an author with a narrator, the fictional person telling a story.
  23. tone
    a quality that reveals the attitudes of the author
    Tone refers to an author's attitude or point of view toward his or her subject. A line, paragraph, or an entire passage could be described as communicating a gloomy tone, an optimistic tone, a playful tone, a critical tone, etc. You get the idea.
  24. intention
    an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions
    An intention is the result you mean to happen from an action you take. Other words that are related to intention are purpose and reason.
  25. graphic
    a visual image
    Graphics, including charts and graphs, are images that convey data or other kinds of information. On the GED Test, you will see charts and graphs on the Mathematical Reasoning Test and you also may see graphics on the Science Test and the Social Studies Test.
Created on March 25, 2021 (updated March 25, 2021)

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