GED Vocabulary Building

I think that I’ve got to take a break from GED poetry for a while. It’s hard, right? One of the things that makes poetry hard, and some of the other reading on the GED is vocabulary. I’ve given some vocabulary advice for the GED test before, but I thought it would help to give some more advice on how to build your vocabulary…learn more words before you take the GED test. Continue reading

GED Tip: Vocabulary

One of the things that seems real hard for me on the GED is that they always have long words that I don’t know. Since I grew up speaking Spanish, maybe my English vocabulary isn’t that good. That’s okay. I needed to figure out ways to deal with a strange word. If you’re just reading at home, you can have a dictionary, right? But not on the GED test. So what can you do? Continue reading

GED Reading: Strange Words

Hola everyone. I’ve been thinking about something that causes me trouble, not just on the GED, but all the time! You know, sometimes people here in the states talk so strangely. Even though I think I’m pretty good at understanding English, I can barely understand a word some people are saying! Sometimes Dwayne is like that. He talks some sort of elite speech or something, and I just don’t get it. It doesn’t make any sense.

What’s more frustrating is when I have to read English in a book with strange accents I’ve never heard before. A lot of books have different kinds of writing for the dialogue… you know, when people talk. Like different dialects. They can be so confusing. Here’s a GED practice question that shows what I mean. The passage is from “Pollyanna,” by Eleanor Hodgeman Porter. Continue reading

GED Reading Questions from Carlo

Carlo writes:
Hi Maria. I got a question. On the GED Test I had a couple of questions that I didn’t understand. Could you help me with these questions. I will type the poem and questions. Thank
What Are the Fish At The Aquarium?
At the Aquarium
SERENE the silver fishes glide,
Stern-lipped, and pale, and wonder-eyed!
As through the aged deeps of ocean,
They glide with wan and wavy motion.
They have no pathway where they go, 5
They flow like water to and fro,
They watch with never-winking eyes,
They watch with staring, cold surprise,
The level people in the air,
The people peering, peering there: 10
Who wander also to and fro,
And know not why or where they go,
Yet have a wonder in their eyes,
Sometimes a pale and cold surprise.
Max Eastman. At The Aquarium, 1883:
MODERN AMERICAN POETRY
Louis Untermeyer, ed. 1919
What feelings does the speaker attribute to the fish by calling them “wonder-eyed” (line 2)?
(1) fear of the crowds
(2) sadness at the plight
(3) interest in their surroundings
(4) anxiety about their fact service
(5) happiness with each other’s company
Why do people appear “level… in the air” (line 9) to the fish?
(1) lying down on the beach
(2) waving frantically at the fish
(3) walking away from the water
(4) swimming around the ocean
(5) standing outside the fish tanks

Carlo writes:

Hi Maria. I got a question. On the GED Test I had a couple of questions that I didn’t understand. Could you help me with these questions. I will type the poem and questions. Thanks.

Okay! Let’s go through the GED reading questions. Here’s the poem Carlo is asking about:

What Are the Fish At The Aquarium?

At the Aquarium

SERENE the silver fishes glide,
Stern-lipped, and pale, and wonder-eyed!
As through the aged deeps of ocean,
They glide with wan and wavy motion.
They have no pathway where they go,
They flow like water to and fro,
They watch with never-winking eyes,
They watch with staring, cold surprise,
The level people in the air,
The people peering, peering there:
Who wander also to and fro,
And know not why or where they go,
Yet have a wonder in their eyes,
Sometimes a pale and cold surprise.

Max Eastman. At The Aquarium, 1883: MODERN AMERICAN POETRY Louis Untermeyer, ed. 1919

That’s the poem. The important part, of course, is the questions… There are two questions to answer, and here’s the first one:

What feelings does the speaker attribute to the fish by calling them “wonder-eyed” (line 2)?

(1) fear of the crowds
(2) sadness at the plight
(3) interest in their surroundings
(4) anxiety about their fact service
(5) happiness with each other’s company

This one is a vocabulary question. What does “wonder-eyed” mean? It’s important to look at the context of the poem… it’s overall meaning. If you know what “wonder” is…. a feeling of amazement, kind of, like that things are WONDERful… then that will help eliminate some answers at least… “fear” isn’t wonderful, or “sadness,” or “anxiety.” That leaves two answers… “interest” or “happiness.”

So, what’s the poem say about the fishes? What’s the context? It’s at an aquarium. Can you kind of picture what an aquarium looks like? Like, the Monterey Bay Aquarium… that’s a big one. There are different ones, especially by the coast, and you go there to look at all the sea creatures, kind of like  a zoo, for fishes, sharks, octopuses… If you’ve seen one on TV or can connect it to your life, then you can picture the fish in your mind, and that can help. Well, what I’m getting out of this poem is that it’s got two parts. The first part is about the fishes swimming in the aquarium. They swim around, and they watch the people. The second part is about the people… how they look to the fishes, watching them. So, which feeling seems to fit most with what the poem’s about? Interest in their surroundings (what’s going on around them), or happiness with each other’s company? Since the poem talks about the fish watching people, but doesn’t really talk about what the fishes think about each other, I’ll have to say (3) interest in their surroundings. The fish are interested in the people that walk around outside the tank.

Here’s the next question:

Why do people appear “level… in the air” (line 9) to the fish?

(1) lying down on the beach
(2) waving frantically at the fish
(3) walking away from the water
(4) swimming around the ocean
(5) standing outside the fish tanks

Here’s where it helps to try to picture what’s happening. Say you’re a fish. You’re in, like, a big tank, looking out at the people. What do they look like? They’re not lying down on the beach, or swimming around the ocean. They might wave or walk away, but that doesn’t seem to go with what the poem’s saying. “Level” seems to mean that they’re not really moving. Think about what it says the people are doing: “peering, peering.” That means, they’re looking at the fish. So, if they’re looking at the fish, they must be standing outside the fish tanks. I’d go with (5) standing outside the fish tanks. It just makes the most sense!

I know the language of a poem can make it seem kind of difficult. Trying to picture it really helps, for me! Good luck on your GED, and let me know if you have any other GED questions.

For more information about the GED and GED test preparation, visit the GED Academy at http://www.passGED.com.

GED Reading Practice Question 7: Reading and Literature Terms

You know, one thing about the GED reading test that you need to know is literature terms. If you come across a term you don’t know, you can still try to figure out the question, but it really helps to know the terms! This GED reading practice question is more about literature terms than actually reading. It’s another question from the Study Guide Zone, which has a big, long text, questions, and some brief answers…so I’m giving explanations of how I’d answer the questions. Well, forget the big, long text, because for this question, you don’t even need to read it. If you understand the question, you can get the answer. Continue reading

GED Reading Question from Blessing

Blessing wrote me to ask:

What is the trick for one to do well in the reading part of GED?

So, I’ve got a few suggestions to help you do well in reading for the GED… by the way, some of these also help for the science and social studies tests, because being able to answer the questions has a lot to do with how well you can understand the reading. Continue reading