Most of the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) exam is multiple-choice, but there is also one “Extended Response” question. This question requires you to write a short essay in response to two passages of text. The passages will present two different viewpoints on a topic. You must read both of the passages and then decide which argument is best supported. Your essay should include evidence from the passages that shows that one of the authors better argues the issue.
Please note that you are not to write about which opinion is correct or which opinion you believe to be true. You are only asked to analyze each passage and support an argument of which passage best supports its claims. You will have 45 minutes total to read the prompt and the viewpoints given, and to draft your essay.
Essay Quick Tips
- Use paragraphs beginning with topic sentences to separate major ideas and to better organize your argument.
- Utilize logical transition words to seamlessly move from one paragraph to the next.
- Use correct spelling and proper grammar.
- Vary your sentence structure and incorporate appropriate, advanced vocabulary words.
- Stay on topic! Produce an outline prior to beginning your essay to organize your thoughts.
Your GED essay will be evaluated across three areas:
- Analysis of Arguments and Use of Evidence.
- Development of Ideas and Organizational Structure.
- Clarity and Command of Standard English Conventions.
The task may seem intimidating, but you more than likely already have these skills! Your essay will receive three scores — one for each of the listed areas.
Since you have 45 minutes, you must make sure to effectively utilize your time; this is best accomplished by practicing essays under the same 45 minute time limit.
Rely upon these timing guidelines as you write your GED essay:
- PLAN — Spend 10 minutes reading the source material and organizing your essay response.
- PRODUCE — Spend 30 minutes writing your (ideally) 5-paragraph essay.
- PROOFREAD — Save 5 minutes for re-reading what you wrote and making necessary changes and improvements.
Remember, since you are typing your essay on the computer screen, proofreading and editing can be done much more quickly than if you were reading over a handwritten essay! Five minutes may not seem like much, but you should be able to read the entire essay over at least once and correct any obvious spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Pro-tip: Don’t start writing until you have every paragraph planned out! Outlining your argument is the best method for producing a coherent and cogent response.
Since the GED RLA extended response is graded by the ACS (Automated Scoring Engine), it is relatively easy to score well if you rely upon a good template from which to organize your essay. Here are a few quick tips regarding clarity to help you score as highly as possible on the GED RLA Extended Response:
Paragraph 1 — Introduction
Start with a 1-sentence general statement regarding the topic. Show that you understand the argument(s) by identifying the topic and its significance, and then presenting a bold and concise thesis statement; this can also be your major claim with regard to the arguments. Consider the following example thesis:
Though the first argument highlights important considerations regarding (the topic of) ________, ultimately the second argument is better supported and more convincing.
Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 — Body Paragraphs
When you plan your essay, you should devise your thesis (choosing which side you found to be best-supported), and carefully lay out three major reasons why it is best-supported.
Use specific examples to support your point of view. Pull selections from the argument you are stating is best supported, and explain why they are good supporting examples, or why they make valid points of consideration.
Each body paragraph should only focus on one major idea, and the 1–2 selections from the passage that support that idea. Try to keep the paragraphs between 4–6 sentences so that they are succinct, direct, and clear. Avoid excessive wordiness; sometimes more is not better!
Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
In 2–3 sentences, wrap up your thoughts, reiterating the correctness of your thesis (why the argument you chose is better supported), and perhaps leave the reader with an idea of WHY they should give more consideration to the topic. You can also use the conclusion to offer a degree of concession to the other argument, perhaps admitting that there are one or two good qualities to the other argument, before reiterating that the argument you selected is ultimately better supported and more convincing.
Finally, don’t worry about choosing the “wrong” side. It doesn’t matter which side you choose, or which argument you choose to say is better-supported, just be sure that you can quote specific examples from the source texts to support your ideas!
Now, review our sample prompt and practice writing an essay!
GED Essay Prompt >>
Follow these tips how to write a GED® test, TASC, or HiSET essay. These tips are part of our online HiSET-TASC-GED video classes and they are designed to help you to pass the HSE (High School Equivalency) exam.
You will have no more than 45 minutes to create your essay on a given topic or question, and you can use 200 to 400 words.
Your essay needs to be a story that reveals your thoughts and opinions on the given subject. People who will assess your essay will determine if you possess good writing skills in English, and whether you can actually arrange and sustain your thoughts in a clear way. And here you can read also about GED courses.
When reading the essay subject, you really should take the time to pull together your thoughts. By concentrated thinking and arranging your ideas rationally, you will be able to express your thoughts far better on paper. When you start writing, concentrate on the guidelines that you came to understand in English class.
You need to write full sentences, you must use the right punctuation and capitalization, and decide on suitable word solutions. A good illustration of a GED/HiSET/TASC test preparation question might be: What exactly is the best way to spend a day off for you?
When you start writing an HSE essay, you ought to adhere to a five-paragraph framework. First, you write your introduction paragraph. The following three paragraphs form your essay’s essential program, and it is here where you sustain your discussion with information and facts. Every sustaining fact must include its own paragraph, and if you have many more arguments, try to bring them together in just a few groups of points.
Your essay ends with your conclusion. Generally speaking, you should write each paragraph in this way that it contains no less than three sentences.
In the introduction part, you state your viewpoint on the presented subject. You do not have to include each and every reason why you believe this way, but you should provide an idea of the facts or arguments that you will make use of to support your assertion in the main section of your essay. To grab reader attention is a good idea to start the first sentence by re-expressing the subject.
I’ll give you an example: “Enjoying the beautiful day with my brother building up sandcastles and eating ice cream is going to be the best way to spending my day off.” Right after this sentence, produce three lines that will support your viewpoint, and lastly come up with a transition sentence that directs the reader to the main part of your essay.
An illustration of a transition sentence might be: “As an example, I could get started in the morning with strawberry pancakes, and by dusk, I will be washing out the beach sand from my feet.” This transition sentence includes that in the main body of your essay you are going to outline all the activities that you enjoyed from sunrise to sunset.
In order to take care of the flow of your essay, use the first paragraph to develop the first notion pointed out in your introduction. Begin this first paragraph with a subject sentence that explains why you decided on your position and consequently give certain illustrations and facts that support your thoughts. When writing the GED essay exam, it is perfectly okay to use personal experiences to support your thoughts and opinions.
With regard to a subject like “how to spend a day off”, supplying vibrant information helps very well in making your essay alive. Following this explanation, you should write a new transition sentence to direct your readers to the next paragraph of your essay. You must repeat this set up two more times.
This is the final paragraph, and here you need to summarize all your thoughts. This conclusion paragraph will offer your readers a recap of your specific subject matter and a review your sustaining information and facts. Try to write this last paragraph in the same way as your introduction paragraph.
Start off with an additional sentence that grabs the attention of your readers, and reminds your readers of your topic sentence. After that, you should write a short overview of your key points (the three main paragraphs), and you will need to end with a closing sentence that concludes your complete essay.
By the time you completed writing your essay, you should go back to the beginning and read your essay carefully again, as you quite easily could have forgotten a comma or have misspelled a word while writing your essay. While rereading your essay, pay close attention to whether your essay provides well-targeted points, is organized in a clear manner, presents specific information and facts and comes with proper sentence construction, and has no grammar or spelling mistakes.
Follow these guidelines and you can successfully take the TASC-HiSET-GED essay exam, check also other articles about online HSE programs, and use our online GED-HiSET-TASC classes to get all set.