The GED® Science Test focuses on the fundamentals of science reasoning, striking a balance of deeper conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply these fundamentals in realistic situations. In order to stay true to this intention, each item on the Science Test is aligned to one science practice and one content topic.

The science practices can be described as skills that are key to scientific reasoning in both textual and quantitative contexts. The science practices are derived from important skills enumerated in the Career and College Ready Standards as well as in The National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education. 

The Science Test also focuses on three major content domains:

  1. Life science
  2. Physical science
  3. Earth and space science

The science content topics, which are drawn from these three domains, provide context for measuring a test-taker’s abilities to apply the reasoning skills described in the practices. The content topics focus on science that reflects both that which is taught in many high school-level science courses and that which is most relevant and useful for an adult population. To measure this content at a range of levels of complexity, several different item types are used in the test, including multiple choice, short answer, drag-and-drop, hot spot, and fill-in-the-blank. 

Given these priorities, the GED® Science Test adheres to the following parameters:


The science content topics describe key concepts that are widely taught in a variety of high school-level courses and are relevant to the lives of GED® test-takers. The content topics are designed to provide context for measuring the skills defined in the science practices.

The science practices maintain a close relationship with the science content topics. More specifically, the primary focus of the GED® Science Test continues to be the measurement of essential reasoning skills applied in a scientific context. However, test-takers should still be broadly and generally familiar with each of the basic concepts enumerated in the science content topics and subtopics, and they should be able to recognize and understand, in context, each of the terms listed there. Nevertheless, test-takers are not expected to have an in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of each subtopic. Rather, the stimuli about which each question pertains provides necessary details about scientific figures, formulas, and other key principles. For example, a question may include answer options and stimuli that contain specific terms drawn from the content subtopics; however, test-takers are never asked to formulate their own definition of a term without the item providing sufficient contextual support for such a task.


These themes have been selected to ensure that the test covers a wide range of important scientific topics, but they are also intended to function like a lens by drawing focus to a distinct subset of ideas within each content topic. That is, items from any of the three content domains of life science, physical science, and Earth and space science can pertain to one of these two themes, but content that falls outside the spheres of these themes do not appear on the GED® Science Test.