How To Pass GED Reading

If you want to pass the Reading portion of the GED Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) subtest, you’ll have to demonstrate that you can read and comprehend both literature and informational texts.

The GED RLA subtest assesses both your writing and reading competencies in one subtest. This subtest (module) is the longest of the four GED modules and will take some 2.5 hours to complete.


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This includes both the writing and the reading sections, and for the GED® Reading portion, you are given 95 minutes.

To deal with the first part of the RLA Reading subtest (the section where your skills to read closely are assessed), you’ll have 35 minutes, and for the second part (the literary text portion), you are given 60 minutes.

It is key that you’ll understand perfectly well what skills are required to deal successfully with the GED Reading component. Please note that your reading competencies are measured in the GED Science subtest as well.

GED Reading Level

As said before, you will have to demonstrate that you’re capable of reading and understanding both literary and informational texts. Your reading competencies need to be on par with what is required to successfully attend college-level coursework and enter the workforce and attain a successful career.

This means that your reading skills have to be at a level comparable to graduating high school seniors. The GED diploma is a reliable high school equivalency (HSE) credential, so your reading capabilities need to be at that level as well.

On the GED Reading portion, you’ll have to read texts in lengths up to 900 words, answer questions about the passage, and draw logical conclusions based on what you have read.

Literary texts or stories cover some 25 percent of the GED RLA Reading portion, whereas the remaining 75 percent cover informational passages.

On the GED RLA Reading portion, you’ll be asked to interpret some passages that may include frame, fiction, or nonfiction. Poetry is not included in the GED Reading portion.

The four GED subject tests (modules) are scored on a 100-200 scale, and the passing score on each module is 145. Check here to learn all about how the GED exam is scored.

As stated earlier, you’ll have 95 minutes to deal with the GED reading portion. There are some 45 multiple-choice questions, and usually, the questions will be asked in the same order that the information will appear in the passage.

GED Reading Comprehension

Your reading comprehension skills indicate to what extent you are able to understand what the author is telling you. Your reading comprehension skills are assessed in both the GED Science subtest and the GED Language (RLA) subtest.

Reading comprehension causes more difficulty than verbal comprehension since if you don’t quite understand what a person is saying, you’ll be able to ask for clarification. However, when you’re reading a passage, the writer is usually not present to give any clarification.

So on the GED Reading portion, you’ll have to produce answers about the given passages. If you can’t find the right word or have minor problems with standard English grammar, that’s fine. That will not affect this portion of the test. You’ll just have to read the text and understand what the author is saying and what’s happening.

GED Reading Tips

Check out the following tips that include important elements to help you earn far better scores on the GED Reading section.

  • Subject matter shouldn’t confuse you – The GED Reading texts are generally taken from social studies, humanities, fiction, or similar topics. You may be familiar with the topic, or it may be entirely foreign to you. When you feel nervous or overwhelmed about the passage’s details, focus on the things you DO understand: the author’s opinion, the topic, the passage’s main idea, and so on. Keep in mind that everything you require to answer the questions correctly is presented right there in front of you, in the text!
  • Read slowly – Many GED test-takers read too fast. Reading fast only helps people who understand what they’re reading. When you don’t know the topic you’re reading, reading fast is pretty useless. You should try to understand what the author is saying. If you do not, read the passage slowly over again.
  • Predict the answer – Before looking at the answer options, use the given text to predict the correct answer. Then check if your prediction matches any of the answer choices. If you work this way, you’ll save lots of time as you won’t have to weigh any other answer choices. Just match your correct answer prediction and move ahead!
  • Complicated questions? Rephrase! If you come across unclear or confusing questions, try to rephrase those questions in more simple terms. Try to think like when you would explain the questions to small kids. What are the questions really trying to ask?
  • Use always the elimination principle – You shouldn’t try to guess one correct answer option out of four answer choices. You should rather analyze each answer option and determine which options are obviously incorrect, and eliminate these choices. Then, narrow the choices down until you have only one or two options, and this also applies, of course, to the writing portion of the GED RLA subtest.
  • Answer the question – Though this may seem obvious, it often happens that GED test-takers will get misled. The correct answer option is always answering the specific question that’s being asked. Students often choose an answer option just because it contains a true statement or because it rephrases some facts from the text. Keep in mind that an incorrect answer choice may well be factually correct but doesn’t answer the specific question. So it’s the wrong answer choice!
  • Scope matters – On the GED Reading section, wrong answer options often are out of scope, so focus on that element! A passage’s scope is only what the author is focusing on in the text. So look at what the author’s focusing on. Incorrect answer options often contain information that the author doesn’t really focus on.
  • Look for the author’s “Tone” – In GED passages, often, authors do not have a strong “tone” or “voice.” So it is important that you can “read between the lines” to understand if the author has certain feelings about the addressed topic. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes, the author doesn’t have an opinion! Sometimes, the provided passage is more informational or neutral, and that’s fine.
  • Pause to summarize – When you’re reading a passage, stop after each paragraph and try to understand, synthesize, and summarize the things you’ve just read. Maybe jotting down short notes may be helpful as well to stay focused. Don’t finish the entire passage before you start thinking everything over critically. Make your reading “active” by asking yourself lots of critical questions as you’re going along. This will definitely help keep you stay focused and retain lots of details. To learn more about what the GED exam is comprised of, check out this page.

GED Reading Practice Tests

By the time you think you understand the basics of what you must know to be successful on the GED Reading portion, you should really drill down further your knowledge and take multiple GED reading practice tests available for free on this website.

Keep in mind, however, that our free practice tests and lessons do not represent all topics of the GED test. They let you determine if this method suits you well, and if it does, we suggest you register with Onsego GED Online Classes, a full, accredited, affordable program that will help you get all set for the real thing fast.

Practice makes perfect, remember? So, to get all set for the GED Reading portion, you should take as many practice tests as you possibly can, and by doing so, you’ll also get familiar with the GED testing format.

This way, you’ll get familiar with this part of the GED Reasoning’s key concepts through the Language Arts subtest. Taking multiple practice tests will make you familiar with all the concepts that you’re expected to understand.

These key concepts relate to the passage’s central idea and theme, comprehending, identifying, and summarizing the text’s main idea and recognizing the supporting details.

You must show that you’re able to make the correct inferences based on the provided details and identify the details that support the theme or main concept of the passage. You’ll also have to demonstrate you’re capable of making hypotheses and/or generalizations based on the passage’s details.

You’ll also have to understand the structure of a passage, how paragraphs, sentences, and the entire text are related, and how they contribute to the development of the passage’s main idea. For more GED RLA practice tests, check here.


The GED RLA Reading portion is not really complicated or too hard, but you must be able to understand and identify the plot, characters, and theme of a passage and understand what it’s all about.

As stated earlier, you’ll have to read a few passages that are around 400 to 900 words in length. Then, you’ll have to answer about each of the passages.

Most of the questions (75%) are about informational texts, while some 25% of the Reading questions are about stories and/or literary passages.

The main topics in the provided texts relate to social studies, science, or the workplace. The idea of these texts is to provide you with real-world articles or letters and measure to what extent you understand what you’re reading. The passages might also include graphics or diagrams.

So the GED Reading porting (in combination with the Science subtest) assesses if you are able to read short passages and understand what they say. Are you capable of finding details in the text? Can you discover the author’s main idea? Are you capable of comparing what, for example, two passages are saying?

Well, with some decent preparation and taking multiple practice tests, you can acquire the skills you need to attain a good score on the Reading portion of the GED Reasoning through Language Arts subtest.

Last Updated on February 14, 2024.