GED Social Studies : Question Types

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Social Studies

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Example Question #1 : Text Analysis

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

When considered from a historical standpoint, most academics believe that St. Paul was far more important to the development of the western world than Jesus Christ. Christianity of course emerged from the teachings of Jesus Christ, but it spread due to the dedicated work of St. Paul.

St. Paul was, in his own time, a famously devout Jew. He lived a pious life dedicated to God. One day, according to Paul, Christ spoke to him and showed him the way. From that moment on, Paul would travel back and forth across the Western World spreading the word of Christ and trying to convert anybody who would listen. Paul’s messages reached Rome, Greece, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even further afield. Without Paul’s influence, it is likely that Christ’s religion would have remained a niche branch of Judaism, rather than being established as the dominant western religion in its own right. Paul would continue his proselytizing right up until he died—condemned to death by the Romans for preaching a heathen religion.

The main idea of this passage is that __________

Possible Answers:

St. Paul took many risks in order to spread the word of Christianity.

Christ is an overrated figure as far as historical importance goes.

the rise of Christianity in the west owed more to the work of St. Paul than to Christ.

the rise and fall of the Roman Empire can be traced through the emergence of Christianity as the dominant religion in the Empire.

most people were reluctant to adopt Christianity until they were convinced otherwise by St. Paul.

Correct answer:

the rise of Christianity in the west owed more to the work of St. Paul than to Christ.

Explanation:

The main idea of this passage is to emphasize the importance of St. Paul in spreading Christianity around the Western World. According to the author, "St. Paul was far more important to the development of the western world than Jesus Christ." Although the author talks about how Paul died for his faith, the main idea is not that Paul took many risks in order to spread Christianity.

Example Question #1 : Ged Social Studies

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

The religion of Christianity began as a religion of suffering, pity, and forgiveness. This was Christ’s dominant message: the majority of people live to suffer, and we must take pity on those who are suffering and forgive those who cause it. Thus Christianity, by its basic tenets, was not meant as a religion of power. It was a religion for the powerless, the common man. It was meant to provide meaning to suffering and to give a form of power (power over one's own emotions) to the powerless.

For the first few hundred years after Christ’s death, Christianity lived up to this message. It was widely embraced by the common people around the western world, in particular the Roman Empire, and by and large they were persecuted for it. This was the whole point: you will suffer for me and I will reward you when I return. As generations went by and Christ failed to return, the message was violently corrupted. Constantine the Great, a Roman Emperor in the fourth century, adopted Christianity as the official religion of his army and later of his empire. In doing so, he took Christianity from a fringe religion, with a growing flock of dedicated believers, to the official religion of the world’s largest empire. In so doing he also militarized the cross. He took the religion of Christianity away from suffering, pity, and forgiveness and imbued it with qualities that were never supposed to be there: dominance over your enemies; power; warfare; wealth. This would have untold consequences for the history of the western world and the history of the Christian faith. No longer did its believers have to cower in fear of their enemies, but also no longer were they truly adhering to the teachings of Christ.

The author of this passage is primarily concerned with __________

Possible Answers:

the violence that has been done in Christ’s name.

the degree to which Christianity affected the western world.

the inadequacy of Christ’s followers.

the ease with which Christianity spread around the Roman Empire.

the corruption of the Christian message by Constantine the Great.

Correct answer:

the corruption of the Christian message by Constantine the Great.

Explanation:

The author of this passage is primarily concerned with describing the corruption of the Christian message by Constantine the Great. The author spends the first part of the passage detailing how Christianity was meant to be understood, according to Christ’s teachings. He then goes on to show how this message was corrupted and manipulated by Constantine.

Example Question #1 : Text Analysis

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

Communism is an economic system where the government controls property and the means of production. Its primary intention is to promote economic equality and normalize the standard of living. In theory, a perfect communist system would result in no man having more or less than his neighbor and would involve everyone doing an equal amount of work for an equal incentive—the good of the collective whole. Yet, every time pure communism has been attempted on a large scale in human history it has resulted in widespread famine and poverty. Why might this be? Well, the simplest answer is human nature. The positive aspects—our competitive nature, our desire to better ourselves and our families lives—and the negative—our inability to work hard without incentive, our desire to manipulate one another—all combine to favor an economic system that is based on competition and individually-motivated reward.

The author of this passage is primarily arguing _______________.

Possible Answers:

for a nation-building experiment in Communism on a smaller scale

against the idea that Communism can be enforced on a smaller scale

that Communism fails because it goes against basic human nature

that Communism fails because it always results in widespread famine and poverty

against the complete rejection of Communism

Correct answer:

that Communism fails because it goes against basic human nature

Explanation:

The author of this passage is primarily arguing that Communism can never work because it goes against human nature. This can be clearly seen after the author asks “why might this be?” and goes on to list how Communism goes against our positive and negative aspects. That Communism fails because it always results in widespread famine and poverty is closer to how it fails than why it fails.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Main Idea

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

The religion of Judaism—for many hundreds of years after it had adopted monotheism—did not really deal with the notion of heaven and hell, or the afterlife. It was a fringe matter for theologians, but far from central to the practice of the religion. This all changed when a series of devastating wars and diseases dramatically reduced the population of the Jewish nation. Suddenly the belief in the afterlife, and the attention it was given by theologians, exploded. After all, these people had to have died for something, right? So, out of war and tragedy, grew one of the most influential ideas in human history—a monotheistic god who would guide all his people to life after death.

The author of this passage is primarily concerned with ___________________.

Possible Answers:

outlining the history of the Jewish people

the rise of monotheism

discussing the effects of war on societal development

explaining the ancient polytheistic beliefs

identifying the beginning of a Jewish belief in the afterlife

Correct answer:

identifying the beginning of a Jewish belief in the afterlife

Explanation:

The author of this passage is primarily concerned with identifying the beginning of a Jewish belief in the afterlife. He notes in the opening line that for hundreds of years the religion of Judaism did not really address the notion of the afterlife. He then goes on to talk about how this all changed when a large proportion of the Jewish population suddenly died or was killed in battle. This, the author claims, was the beginning of the Jewish belief in the afterlife. Although the author does suggest that war plays a role in societal development, this is not the main idea of the passage—nor is it to explain the rise of monotheism or the history of the Jewish people.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Main Idea

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage. 

The city of Dubrovnik has a rich and complicated history. For centuries it served as a halfway point between the Ottoman Empire and the Christian nations of Europe. After the Ottoman Empire invaded and conquered much of the Balkans, trade between the Empire and Christian Europe was largely forbidden, except through the independent city-state of Dubrovnik (at the time called Ragusa). Considering the massive amount of trade that poured through Dubrovnik on the way from the East to the Italian city-states and the nations of Northern Europe, it is no surprise that the city grew immensely wealthy and developed an autonomous character.

The main idea of this passage centers around __________________.

Possible Answers:

Dubrovnik’s ability to defend itself and remain independent

the intellectual and scientific spirit of the city of Dubrovnik

the massive territorial expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century

Dubrovnik’s history and its concentration of wealth and trade

the tensions that existed between the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe

Correct answer:

Dubrovnik’s history and its concentration of wealth and trade

Explanation:

The main idea of this passage is that Dubrovnik has a unique history built around it’s status as an autonomous city-state where trade and wealth was concentrated. Although the tensions between the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe are mentioned this is done more to demonstrate why Dubrovnik became a trading center. Dubrovnik’s ability to defend itself is not mentioned as a reason why it developed an independent character, nor is the intellectual or scientific spirit of the city.

Example Question #3 : Question Types

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

The feudal system arose during the Dark Ages of European history. After the fall of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century, there was a massive power vacuum in central and western Europe. This vacuum that was swiftly filled by invading barbarian tribes and settlers from further East. Wave after wave of people arrived in the fertile lands of central and western Europe and encouraged those who lived there either to seek protection or perish at the hands of the endless hordes of migrating people. This need for protection created the feudal system. A common family would pledge to work the lands of a Lord or Knight, and that person would in turn promise to defend the family whenever the land was invaded. This grew into a system fairly close to slavery, called serfdom, where the common man had no choice but to toil endlessly to further someone else’s wealth or perish out in the wider world by himself. It was born out of the violence and mass migration of the Early Dark Ages.

The author of this passage is primarily concerned with ________________.

Possible Answers:

describing the situation that led to the rise of the feudal system

explaining why the feudal system was ineffective

decrying the Fall of the Roman Empire

delineating the strengths of the feudal system

highlighting the horrors of the Dark Ages

Correct answer:

describing the situation that led to the rise of the feudal system

Explanation:

The first line reads "The feudal system arose during the Dark Ages of European history." From there the author proceeds to talk about how the violent circumstances in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire led to the creation of the feudal system. The author is focused on describing the situation that led to the rise of the feudal system, as can also be seen in the last line "it was born out of the violence and mass migration of the Early Dark Ages." Although the author suggests that the fall of the Roman Empire created a dangerous power vacuum he is not primarily concerned with decrying this state of affairs. Similarly, he does talk about the horrors of the Dark Ages, but this is done primarily to show why the feudal system was allowed to rise.

Example Question #1 : Ged Social Studies

The following question refers to the information contained in this passage.

When considered from a historical standpoint, most academics believe that St. Paul was far more important to the development of the western world than Jesus Christ. Christianity of course emerged from the teachings of Jesus Christ, but it spread due to the dedicated work of St. Paul.

St. Paul was, in his own time, a famously devout Jew. He lived a pious life dedicated to God. One day, according to Paul, Christ spoke to him and showed him the way. From that moment on, Paul would travel back and forth across the Western World spreading the word of Christ and trying to convert anybody who would listen. Paul’s messages reached Rome, Greece, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even further afield. Without Paul’s influence, it is likely that Christ’s religion would have remained a niche branch of Judaism, rather than being established as the dominant western religion in its own right. Paul would continue his proselytizing right up until he died—condemned to death by the Romans for preaching a heathen religion.

The underlined word “proselytizing” most likely means __________

Possible Answers:

mission.

demonizing. 

labor. 

reasoning.

converting. 

Correct answer:

converting. 

Explanation:

In context, the author is talking about St. Paul’s work to convert the people of the Western World to the Christian faith. The author says “Paul would continue his proselytizing right up until he died—condemned to death by the Romans for preaching a heathen religion.” This also provides a clue that the word “proselytizing” must mean something like “preaching,” so the correct answer is “converting.”

Example Question #4 : Question Types

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

The vast number of the Greek colonies, their widespread diffusion over all parts of the Mediterranean, which thus became a kind of Grecian lake, and their rapid growth in wealth, power, and intelligence, afford the most striking proofs of the greatness of this wonderful people. Civil dissensions and a redundant population were the chief causes of the origin of most of the Greek colonies. They were usually undertaken with the approbation of the cities from which they issued, and under the management of leaders appointed by them. But a Greek colony was always considered politically independent of the mother-city and emancipated from its control. The only connection between them was one of filial affection and of common religious ties. Almost every colonial Greek city was built upon the seacoast, and the site usually selected contained a hill sufficiently lofty to form an acropolis.

The underlined word "lofty" most likely means __________.

Possible Answers:

rocky 

windy

ashamed 

high

proud

Correct answer:

high

Explanation:

In context the author is talking about how Greek colonies were generally founded where there was a hill sufficiently "lofty" to build an acropolis. The use of the word "sufficiently" and the fact that the hill was used to build a monument meant to tower over the community suggests that "lofty" means high

Example Question #1 : Word Meaning

The biggest threat to humanity in the twenty-first century is almost certainly the rising demand for and use of the Earth’s dwindling natural resources. Currently China, and to a slightly lesser extent India, are hurtling through their own Industrial and economic revolutions, powering this change with a greater and greater consumption of natural resources. This transition is already well under way in parts of South America and Africa as well, and will most likely accelerate in the next few decades. Put simply, the planet cannot sustain this growth.

The people of the Western world have lived a privileged life of abundance and materialism for over a hundred years now, and if the whole world wants to live like a middle-class American then the demand for resources will outstrip supply very quickly. What is needed then is a change, a global change, in what is considered an acceptable and sufficient standard living. We all need to downgrade our expectations and our desires, to accept less for the greater good. Human history suggests this is highly unlikely: competition and warfare has always driven our relationships with one another, and it is quite likely that we will fight endless wars over the rights to oil, water, gas, and so on; but, human history also shows a constant trend of human ingenuity prevailing over all manner of natural and man-made disasters, so there is cause for optimism too. We cannot say with certainty which way mankind will go, competition or cooperation; we can only try to do our part and hope for the best.

The underlined word, "abundance" is used to describe a situation in which __________.

Possible Answers:

people have exactly what they need and no more

people have much less than they need

people have much more than they need

people want what other people have

people are desperate to see change in their environment

Correct answer:

people have much more than they need

Explanation:

"Abundant" means existing in very large quantities, plentiful. In context, the author says that "the people of the Western world have lived a privileged life of abundance and materialism for over a hundred years now, and if the whole world wants to live like a middle-class American then the demand for resources will outstrip supply very quickly." So, the people of our society have been "privileged," and if everyone in the world wants to be equally "privileged," and they have a similar level of "abundance," then the demand for resources will outstrip the supply. This information tells you that "abundance" must mean having more than is needed.

Example Question #1 : Ged Social Studies

Adapted from A Smaller History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest (1897) by William Smith.

The physical features of the country exercised an important influence upon the political destinies of the people. Greece is one of the most mountainous countries of Europe. Its surface is occupied by a number of small plains, either entirely surrounded by limestone mountains or open only to the sea. Each of the principal Grecian cities was founded in one of these small plains; and, as the mountains which separated it from its neighbours were lofty and rugged, each city grew up in solitary independence. But at the same time it had ready and easy access to the sea, and Arcadia was almost the only political division that did not possess some territory upon the coast. Thus shut out from their neighbours by mountains, the Greeks were naturally attracted to the sea, and became a maritime people. Hence they possessed the love of freedom and the spirit of adventure, which have always characterised, more or less the inhabitants of maritime districts.

The underlined word, "maritime," most nearly means __________.

Possible Answers:

debauched

trading

seafaring

independent

swimming

Correct answer:

seafaring

Explanation:

When talking about how the Greeks became a "maritime" people, the author says "Thus shut out from their neighbours by mountains, the Greeks were naturally attracted to the sea, and became a maritime people." So they were "attracted to the sea" and "became a maritime people" this suggests "maritime" means seafaring in this context. In general, "maritime" is slightly more broad: it means related to the sea, but it is often used to mean seafaring

← Previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors