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What Kind of Economics Questions Are Found on a GED Test?

by Lori Garrett-Hatfield

The GED (General Educational Development) test has been used since World War II to help adults and out-of-school youth gain their high school equivalency and either continue their education or enter the world of work. The GED test has five subtests, once of which is Social Studies. Knowledge of the contents of the Social Studies section and the questions likely to be on it will help students achieve a passing score.

The GED Social Studies Test

The Social Studies portion of the GED consists of 50 questions, which the student must complete in 70 minutes. The Social Studies test covers questions in United States history, civics and government, economics, geography and world history. Approximately 20 percent (or 10) of the questions on the Social Studies test are on economics, so it is important that students know and understand the topics covered on that portion of the test. The economics questions can be broken down into three categories: basic economic principles, economics in the United States, and economics in other countries.

Basic Economic Principles

According to Education.com, every student should know certain basic economic principles. There will be questions about the law of scarcity, or the law of supply and demand: Businesses must make a profit, or they will no longer remain in business. There may be questions on equilibrium, shortages, and surpluses of goods and services: Workers must bargain with employers for pay and benefits. There may be questions about unions, layoffs, unemployment, strikes and collective bargaining. Questions about basic economic principles use a lot of vocabulary, so students need to be familiar with key economic terms. Here’s an example of a question from this section: In a recession, the ___________ rises.

Economics in the United States

In a market economy such as the United States, economic cycles are common. There may be questions on the Social Studies test about recession, depression, inflation and deflation. Students may also encounter questions about unemployment and underemployment. In the United States, the Federal Reserve controls the exchange rate from the government banks to the local banks. There may be questions, according to Education.com, about the other functions of government concerning the United States’ economy, the environment, working conditions and advertising. Here’s an example of a question from this section: In the American economic system, most decisions are made by the ____________.

Economics in Other Countries

The world has three major economic systems, according to Education.com: capitalism, socialism and communism. The Social Studies test will have questions about how these three systems are similar and how they are different. The questions on the test may use the terms market economy, traditional economy, and command economy instead of capitalism, socialism, and communism, but the definitions are roughly the same. Also, there may be questions about the European Union and the G8, which are countries grouped together for economic purposes. Questions on this part of the economics test may include a graph or a chart. Here’s an example of a question from this section: When consumer demand decides what will be produced, this is an example of what kind of economy?

About the Author

Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.

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