GED Reading Practice Questions

Hey there… a great way to study for the GED test is to take practice questions, right? The problem with GED practice questions, is sometimes you take them, and then you don’t understand the answers. You only get better if you learn the answers, and how to get them.

I found a site that has some free GED reading practice questions: http://www.studyguidezone.com/ged_reading.htm. It’s great that there’s 10 free GED questions. But the answers seemed kinda short for me. I mean, do the answers teach me to figure out how to find the right answer by myself?

So, I thought I’d take these GED practice questions and give better answers. I mean, try to explain how I’d do the question, if I were taking the test.

The first question is:

1. What does the passage imply about the Southern colonies?
A: They did not attend the Second Continental Congress.
B: They did not approve of George Washington.
C: They were equivocal on the issue of slavery.
D: They were more reluctant than the Northern colonies to join the coalition of states.

The first thing I say, read the GED question first before you read the text! I mean, look how long the passage is. On the GED, you won’t have a whole lot of time. Now that I read this question, it’s asking about Southern colonies. So I want to look through the passage as quickly as possible (skimming and scanning!) to find where it talks about that.

I see the words “Southern colonies” right away… in the first paragraph:

The Second Continental Congress was held May 10, 1775 in Philadelphia. George Washington became the commander of the Americans, mainly because it was felt he would be able to bring the Southern colonies into the fold.

So what is it saying? People thought George Washington could “bring the Southern colonies into the fold.” What does that mean? It’s what’s called an “idiom.” That means, if you speak English as a second language, like me, it might be hard to understand, because it’s one of those weird sayings that gets into the language. It’s not literal… you can’t tell what it means just from the words. A lot of people know what it means, but that’s because they just know. Here’s a page that list more than 2000 idioms, for people like me who didn’t grow up knowing English: http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/

Well, that’s something to study, but if you don’t know what bringing someone “into the fold” means, what are you going to do on the GED test? I’d say, use elimination. That’s a GED test strategy where you figure out what answers are WRONG.

The first answer is the Southern colonies did not attend the Second Continental Congress. Well, that seems wrong. I mean, it doesn’t seem to say that, does it? It doesn’t say whether the Southern colonies were there at all, but the Congress did things to represent all the colonies… so I’m guessing the Southern colonies were there, or at least some of them?

The second one says that they didn’t approve of George Washington. Well, I don’t know. That would mean “bringing into the fold” was like pushing them away, and that doesn’t sound right. I mean, “bringing into the fold” sounds like its bringing something closer, and why would you want to make the Southern colonies upset if you were trying to get them to go along with the revolution? That doesn’t make sense to me.

The third answer talks about slavery. I’m not sure what “equivocal” means, but the part that talks about the Southern colonies doesn’t talk about slavery. So that’s not the right answer. You might THINK it’s right because you know that in the Civil War, the North and South fought about slavery, but there’s nothing about slavery where they’re talking about the Southern colonies in the passage. The GED asks you to think about what you’re reading, so if it’s not in the reading, it’s not right.

That leaves one answer. They were reluctant to join… that means, like, less willing. That goes along with what I was thinking about “bringing into the fold,” that it means bringing something closer. If they didn’t really want to join the other colonies, but George Washington could get them to join, then this is the right answer. That’d be my choice.

Ugh! That page with all those idioms doesn’t have “bringing into the fold” on it. I found an explanation of it en español, though, here: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=329796

Fold en este caso es redil. Se refiere a la metáfora bíblica de las ovejas perdidas que el pastor devuelve al redil. Suele usarse en casos de grupos divididos que vuelven a reconciliarse, pero a veces también es de compañías que hablan de comprar a una compañía ajena e incluirla en un mismo grupo comercial.

Basically, he’s saying “fold” is like a group of sheep. And in the Bible, Jesus is said to be like a shepherd, bringing all the sheep together. So “bringing into the fold” is bringing together with others. That means George Washington would bring the Southern colonies together with the other colonies. And he wouldn’t have to do that, unless they were reluctant or unwilling to join. See? I was right. But I figured out the answer when the words were confusing, and you can do the same thing.

I hope this helps you on your GED test. I’m going to give my answers to all ten of the GED practice questions in the next ten weeks, so hopefully you can get some good GED test-taking skills! Let me know if it’s confusing, and I’ll try to answer any of your questions.

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