GED Social Studies Practice

(The following social studies practice questions are valid until 2014, when a radically different GED test will be unveiled.)

The sites of towns and cities were artfully selected, near navigable rivers and their confluences, as at Marietta, Cincinnati, and in Kentucky opposite the old mouth of the Scioto. Points for defense were chosen and fortified with scientific precision. The labor expended upon these multitudinous structures must have been enormous, implying a vast population and extensive social, economic, and civil organization. The Cahokia mound, opposite St. Louis, is 90 feet high and 900 feet long.

The Mound-builders made elegant pottery, of various design and accurate shapes, worked bone and all sorts of stones, and even forged copper. There are signs that they understood smelting this metal. They certainly mined it in large quantities, and carried it down the Mississippi hundreds of miles from its source on Lake Superior. They must have been masters of river navigation, but their mode of conveying vast burdens overland, destitute of efficient draft animals as they apparently were, we can hardly even conjecture.

The Mound-builders, as we have said, were related to the antique populations of Mexico and Central America, and the most probable explanation of their departure from their Northern seats is that in face of pestilence, or of some overpowering human foe, they retreated to the Southwest, there to lay, under better auspices, the foundations of new states, and to develop that higher civilization whose relics, too little known, astound the student of the past, as greatly as do the stupendous pillars of Carnac or the grotesque animal figures of Khorsabad and Nimrud.

1. Based on the information provided in this passage, the most likely reason that the Mound-builders retreated from the North is:

A. disease
B. lack of jobs
C. desire to find warmer climates
D. dislike of wild animals

2. Based on the information in this passage, one can assume the Mound-builders were:

A. unintelligent and arrogant
B. intelligent and skillful
C. unhappy and discontent
D. excited about moving

3. The Mound-builders were drawn to which geographic feature:

A. valleys
B. deserts
C. rivers
D. oceans

4. Which of these statements is accurate according to the information provided in the first paragraph?

A. The Mound-builders consisted of only a dozen members.
B. The Mound-builders were a group of wealthy people with many slaves.
C. The Mound-builders were a large and highly-organized population.
D. The Mound-builders had architects who designed their temples.

5. Which of these abilities can we assume was not present among the Mound-builders?

A. river navigation
B. land travel
C. pottery design
D. glass blowing

Two days before, Congress had chosen George Washington commander-in-chief, and on July 2d he arrived at Cambridge. Washington was forty-three years old. Over six feet in height, and well-proportioned, he combined great dignity with ease. His early life as surveyor in a wild country had developed in him marvellous powers of endurance. His experience in the French and Indian War had given him considerable military knowledge. But his best title to the high honor now thrust upon him lay in his wonderful self-control, sound judgment, lofty patriotism, and sublime courage, which were to carry him, calm and unflinching, through perplexities and discouragements that would have overwhelmed a smaller or a meaner man.

Washington fought England with his hands tied. The Continental government was the worst possible for carrying on war. There was no executive. The action of legislative committees was slow and vacillating, and at best Congress could not enforce obedience on the part of a colony. Congress, too, afraid of a standing army, would authorize only short enlistments, so that Washington had frequently to discharge one army and form another in the face of the enemy. His troops were ill-disciplined, and scantily supplied with clothing, tents, weapons, and ammunition. Skilled officers were few, and these rarely free from local and personal jealousies, impairing their efficiency.

6. This passage asserts that George Washington was:

A. A strong and capable leader
B. A weak and ineffective commander-in-chief
C. A stubborn and ungrateful servant of the people
D. A fearful and disloyal man

7. According to this passage, which of the following statements is true?

A. Congress provided Washington with everything he needed to fight England.
B. Congress made it very difficult for Washington to fight England.
C. Skilled military volunteers were easy to find.
D. Congress forced colonies to participate in the war.

8. According to the first paragraph, the author of this passage would believe which of the following statements about George Washington?

A. He was ashamed of his height.
B. He was too short and extremely overweight.
C. His physical appearance was of no consequence.
D. His physical appearance contributed to his success.

9. What was one of Washington's greatest challenges in fighting the war against England?

A. lack of voters
B. lack of military and supplies
C. inability to make decisions
D. inadequate drinking water

10. What is the most likely meaning of the first sentence of the second paragraph that reads, "Washington fought England with his hands tied"?

A. Washington's hands were bound behind his back with rope.
B. Washington found it very easy to fight the war against England.
C. Washington had a difficult time fighting the war against England.
D. Washington wished that his hands could be bound together while he was fighting.

While the Romans were conquering the ancient world they had begun to quarrel among themselves. Certain men resolved that Rome should not be managed any longer by the noble senators for their own benefit or for the benefit of rich contractors and merchants. They wished to have the idle crowds of men who packed the shows and circuses settled as free farmers on the unused lands of Italy.

Among these new leaders were two brothers, Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, sons of one of Rome's noblest families. The other nobles looked upon them with hatred and killed them, first Tiberius and afterward Caius. These murders did not end the trouble. The leaders on both sides armed their followers, and bloody battles were fought in the streets. Generals led their armies to Rome, although, according to the laws, to bring an army into Italy south of the Rubicon River was to make war on the republic and be guilty of treason. Once in the city these generals put to death hundreds of their enemies.

11. Which of the following was the belief held by brothers Tiberius and Caius Gracchus?

A. Rome should continue to be ruled by senators.
B. Italy's unused land should be populated by free farmers.
C. Italy has too much wasted land and it should be destroyed.
D. Romans were lazy and had to be instructed on how to spend their time.

12. Based on the passage above, it can be assumed that Rome had always been ruled by:

A. ethical and unselfish men
B. corrupt senators with selfish motivations
C. fair and just emperors
D. honest and qualified senators

13. What crime was considered to be an act of treason?

A. leading an army into Italy south of the Rubicon
B. leading armies to battle
C. speaking against the senators
D. fighting battles in city streets

14. Which of the following sentences summarizes the above passage?

A. Rome experienced many years of peace and serenity while conquering the ancient world.
B. Rome was a great city that had few problems.
C. The senators of Rome were honest men who were treated unfairly by citizens.
D. Rome experienced many years of turmoil and chaos while conquering the ancient world.

15. Based on the passage above, how did Romans view the act of killing?

A. as a dire consequence of treason
B. as a means of dealing with enemies
C. as a polite way to handle strangers
D. as a necessary punishment for criminals

16. Which amount could you not determine from the chart?

A. the difference in the amount the U.S. gives to the service sectors of France and Italy
B. the total contributions made to all industries in Germany and Ireland
C. the total contributions made to the U.S. manufacturing sector by Norway
D. the average amount given to the service sector of Germany, Ireland, and Italy

17. If a student wanted to express the amount of money given to the service sector of each country as a percentage of the total given to all industries of that same country, what type of chart should he use to best accomplish this?

A. bar chart
B. line graph
C. scatter graph
D. pie chart

18. A student analyzes the above chart. She discovers that the total contributions made to manufacturing and services in France totals 25,209 while the contributions made to all industries in France shows a total of 42,879. How can this difference be logically justified?

A. Someone made a mistake when creating the chart.
B. The U.S. contributes to additional sectors that are not shown on this chart.
C. The chart does not account for the difference in monetary conversion.
D. European countries are embezzling money.

19. Why is there such a drastic difference in contributions between German manufacturing and Norwegian services?

A. There is not enough information to determine a reason for the difference.
B. Germany is larger than Norway.
C. The U.S. prefers Germany over Norway.
D. Norwegian workers are more dedicated than German workers.

20. Assume that the only other industry to which the U.S. contributes money is the health care industry. Using the chart above, how would you determine the amount the U.S. contributes to France's health care industry?

A. 27,651÷5 + 3,745
B. 42,879 + 18,956 + 6,253
C. 42,879 - (18,956 + 6,253)
D. 42,879 - 3(6,253)

Answer Key

Last Updated: 05/21/2014