GED Social Studies Study Guide

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GED Social Studies Review

When you think of social studies, what comes to mind? To most, it may simply be history. However, as a subject, social studies encompasses a much wider expanse of material than history alone. Take a closer look at the subject and you’ll find not just history but other related subjects, such as geography and economics. Social studies effectively functions as a study of the world around us, the people living in our world, and how their environments have shaped each distinct culture as well as the other way around.

As such, it is easy to see why social studies are an important element of high school curriculum, as well as why it is included on the GED test. Whether you’re choosing to continue your education or jump directly into the workforce upon receiving your certification, you will need to have at least basic social studies knowledge. If higher education is your main goal, know that social studies courses will most likely be part of your general education requirements. Failing to show the possession of basic knowledge in the subject also risks you having to take remedial courses in order to catch up with your peers.

As it stands, because Social Studies is such a broad topic, the types of material covered on the GED subsection are just as vast. If you’re concerned over how you will prepare for this important exam, we’re here to help. We have prepared this GED Social Studies study guide specifically to inform you about everything you’ll need to know to adequately get ready for this important exam. On this page, you’ll find detailed information about what subjects will be presented to you on the test, how it will be formatted, and much more. If you want more comprehensive help, we also offer a GED Social Studies practice test and GED Social Studies flashcards for your studying needs.

What Will Be on the GED Social Studies Subsection?

The Social Studies portion of the GED exam is typically 50 questions in length, all of which are multiple choice. 70 minutes is the frame of time you’ll receive to finish this portion of the exam. The subjects you’ll find on the exam include Economics, History, Civics and Government, and Geography. Economics appears on the test at a rate of 20 percent. History splits into both Canadian or United States history—depending upon your location—and world history. World history appears at a rate of 15 percent, and United States/Canadian history at 25 percent. Civics and Government has a rate of 25 percent. Geography shows up the least out of any singular subject on the test, with a 15 percent appearance rate.

Around half of the questions you’ll encounter on the test are completely independent and will rely on your own preliminary knowledge. However, just as with the Language Arts portion of the test, you will also receive graphics, documents, and other materials along with your exam questions. These materials will form the basis of the questions you’ll be answering, and can accompany a maximum of three questions at once. While preparing for this test will take some studying on your part, the purpose of this GED Social Studies study guide is to give you an idea of what you can expect to see on the exam. That said, you won’t find any material at a higher skill level than anything learned by the average high school senior. Each question you answer will pertain to at least one area of knowledge we’ll be describing below.


The Economics section of the GED test covers the construction and function of world monetary systems. This encompasses not just the basic elements of capitalism and other economic systems, but how they affect the world at large as well as the other way around.


History, in basic terms, is the study of how events have unfolded over time and the continuous impact they leave upon our world as a result. You will be expected to answer questions about world history as well as—depending upon your country of residence—Canadian or United States history. We recommend you familiarize yourself with your country’s founding documents, as they are likely to become relevant for questions under this particular subject umbrella, as well as the next.

Civics and Government

The Civics and Government section of the GED test seeks to examine your knowledge of society. This means you will see questions pertaining to how society works—namely, the concept of being a citizen in today’s society, what that means, and what responsibilities are associated with it. You will also be expected to know how your government works, about the different systems residing within it, and what powers each section of government has.


The Geography portion of the GED Social Studies section involves location and culture. More specifically, it will assess your knowledge of the different countries on Earth and the different peoples and cultures residing within them. You must also demonstrate an understanding of how cultures are shaped by their geographical surroundings, as well as the other way around.

In addition to these four main subjects, you will also find two supplementary subjects that blend with the above four in multiple ways.

Dynamic Responses in Societal Systems

This supplementary category translates to differences between human cultures and societies, and the ways in which these different elements interact with one another and, ultimately, shape history and one another over time. This section ties closely with Civics and Government and Geography. You will be expected to think about and demonstrate your understanding of the ways in which governments and cultures interact with one another as well as their surrounding environments in order to meet their own unique and respective needs.

Development of Modern Liberties and Democracy

‘Development of Modern Liberties and Democracy’ tackles the growth of democracy as a concept and system, especially with respect to how it impacts today’s world and governmental proceedings. You will be expected to answer questions about individuals and historical occurrences that have made a large impact upon how we perceive democracy, the formation and operations of our current governmental system, and more. This section spans from the beginnings of society to modern times, and can be found throughout various questions featured on this subsection of the test, regardless of their knowledge category.

It is our hope that this guide will help you in forming the best possible study plan to suit your needs and help you ace this important exam. We at Mometrix Study Preparation care about your future and your success, which is why we stock our site with every tool you’ll need to perform well. If you would like further help with studying for the GED Social Studies subsection, feel free to explore the rest of this page and our website. We have a GED Social Studies practice test and GED Social Studies flashcards specifically to assist in your efforts.

Good luck, and happy studying!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: May 13, 2019