GED® RLA: How to Study

Preparing for the GED Reasoning through Language Arts test doesn’t have to be hard, and it can even be fun! Unlike the GED Math test, the RLA doesn’t require any specific content knowledge: you don’t need to know what an allegory is, or be able to identify the past participle of to be. This is mainly a test of reading comprehension, and so the best preparation is to read, read, and read some more. Still, there are a few other things you can do to get ready for this language arts test. Here are our top tips for preparing for the GED Reasoning through Language Arts test.

  • Register at This is the official GED site. Create a free account as soon as possible, and then spend some time exploring the site. You will find the latest information about the exam, as well as resources to help you prepare. This leads to our second tip…
  • Take a practice test! For a small fee, you can take an official practice test on the GED website. These tests are half as long as the real test, and they include questions that used to be on the real test. Most students find that their scores on the practice test are very similar to their official scores. So, if you score a 145 or better on your practice test, you’re probably ready for the real thing! Taking a practice test can also show you where you need to improve (which you can do for free with our GED RLA lessons and practice quizzes).
  • Read! Daily reading, even if only for fifteen minutes, is the most important thing you can do to prepare for the Reasoning through Language Arts test. Read about something you’re already interested in, or look for a fun work of fiction. If you don’t know where to start, visit your local public library and ask for some help finding a book. Of course, we have a wide selection of free GED reading practice tests.
  • Read with purpose! While you are reading, think about the questions that show up on the GED: What is the main idea? What supporting evidence is given? Is it fact or opinion? What is the author’s tone? Who is the audience? As much as possible, try to be an active reader.
  • Don’t worry about memorizing vocabulary. The GED only includes questions about vocabulary in context, meaning that you can figure out the meanings of the words by how they are used in the sentence. Therefore, there is no point in memorizing long lists of words. If you are interested in building your vocabulary, we have some short vocabulary quizzes. You will not see questions like these on the test, however, so don’t stress out if many of the words are unfamiliar. The best way to build vocabulary is to read a broad range of texts.
  • Focus on a few key grammar issues. You don’t need to know all of the specific rules of English grammar. GED RLA grammar questions are almost all on a few topics, including punctuation, capitalization, and pronouns and antecedents. If you can spot obvious errors in these areas, you will be just fine on testing day.
  • Plan for the essay. Writing a short essay is part of the GED RLA. Many students, especially those who are not native English speakers, find this part of the test to be very stressful. However, you don’t actually have to write an essay to pass the test. The essay only counts for about six points of your final grade, so if you do well enough on the rest of the test, it won’t matter if you get zero points on the essay. If you think that writing the essay will diminish your performance on the rest of the test, skip it!

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