A Quick Guide to Writing an Extended Response for the GED Language Arts Test
Many students fear the writing part of the GED test. And we understand. After all, it takes effort and time to organize your ideas, fix sentence structures, and ensure that grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling are correct. With only 45 minutes to complete your essay, how will you be able to finish your piece? Thankfully, there are ways to make this part easy for you. You don’t have to be a gifted writer to write succeed in writing a winning essay for the Extended Response portion of the GED writing test. There are tips to succeed in writing your essay.
What’s in the GED Writing Extended Response Portion of the Test?
The Extended Response part of the GED Language Arts test assesses your ability to develop an argument and support this with strong evidence. You will be asked to read two passages with opposite perspectives on a topic. You will be required to read these two passages and choose the position which you think is better supported.
This test will check how well you create arguments and use evidence. Also, it would also test your clarity and command of Standard English language.
Quick Tips to Remember When Writing Your Essay:
- Take a deep breath. Nervous about the test? Ease anxiety by taking deep breaths before writing your essay. Being stressed while writing might keep your focus away from the task and affect the quality of your essay.
- Read the two passages carefully. Make sure you understand each passage before choosing your position.
- Make an outline. Don’t write right away. Create an outline first. Choose a position that you can easily defend based on what you’ve read, then list down the main points to support this position.
- Your essay should have:
- 1. An introduction that states your main argument
2. At least 3 paragraphs with your supporting evidence
3. A conclusion that restates your main argument and main points.
- Focus on the first and last paragraphs first. This will help you stick to your argument and main points.
- Be clear. The paragraphs in between your first and last paragraphs should clearly explain your main points. Start each paragraph by stating the main point that you want to talk about.
- Proofread your work. Check your work for grammar and spelling errors. Improve sentence structures with the time that’s left.
Keep in mind that the saying, “practice makes perfect” applies here. Mastering essay writing takes a lot of practice and reading. Begin practicing your writing as well improving your comprehension skills with our Free GED Practice Tests for Language Arts. We also recommend reading high-quality newspapers, publications, and literary pieces to help build your English writing skills.
The following is an example of a high-scoring essay response to our free practice GED Essay Prompt. Below our GED sample essay is a brief analysis justifying its perfect score.
The issue of how the police should interact with communities is a very hot-button topic. Some believe that criticizing the actions of the police hurts their ability to do their job, while others argue that the police have overstepped their authority and often cause more harm than good. Both arguments presented address this issue head on; however, it is the argument against the militarization of the police published by the ACLU that is the best supported and ultimately the most convincing argument.
While the second argument lacks specific statistics, or numerical data, the ACLU’s argument informs the reader that there were 80,000 military raids by police last year. Such an extraordinary figure surprises the reader and supports the idea that perhaps military-style raids have become too commonplace in society. The essay successfully uses statistics again when it cites a recent report stating, “of all the incidents studied where the number and race of the people impacted were known, 39 percent were Black, 11 percent were Latino, 20 were white.” This supports the idea that the militarization of police has had a disproportionately negative impact on African-American communities — further adding to the thesis that overall, the militarization of the police is detrimental to society.
Another reason why the ACLU’s argument is better supported than Mr. Hagner’s argument is because it addresses the idea of possible ethical corruption — an idea that Hagner’s essay ignores. The ACLU states, “Companies like Lockheed Martin and Blackhawk Industries are making record profits by selling their equipment to local police departments that have received Department of Homeland Security grants.” Here the ACLU implies that the reason for the militarization is simply profit; if this is true, then there is perhaps no actual real-world need for the militarization of the police at all. Ethically, companies are simply looking to make money from the police, rather than helping them to do their job.
Finally, the ACLU’s argument is much more convincing than Mr. Hagner’s argument because it uses much more impactful diction. The forcefulness of the language here, for example, when the ACLU calls the drug war “wasteful and failed” highlights the high-stakes nature of this issue. It appeals to the emotions of the reader, who is most likely a tax-payer and someone who has a vested interest in not having their money wasted by the government. The tone of this essay is much more impassioned than the tone of the second, and it helps to draw the reader in and engage them on an emotional level. The author implies that the reader may not be safe, since “heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night.”
In summary, the ACLU’s argument is better supported by statistics and data, accusations of ethical corruption, and forceful language that engages the reader. Mr. Hagner’s argument has some merit, and it does a good job organizing points with a numbered list, but ultimately it is too dry in tone and does not include any data or quotes from authority figures to back up its claims. The ACLU’s argument winds up being more convincing: the militarization of police is something we should all be concerned about.
Sample Essay Analysis
This essay is very well-organized. It uses 5 paragraphs and lays out the structure in the following manner:
- Paragraph 1 — Introduction (why the ACLU position is better-supported)
- Paragraph 2 — Reason #1 — Statistics (two examples given from passage)
- Paragraph 3 — Reason #2 — Ethics (one example given from passage)
- Paragraph 4 — Reason #3 — Vocabulary (two examples given from passage)
- Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
In the introduction, the author thoughtfully introduces the topic of police militarization and explains why it is relevant to today’s society. Both arguments are introduced, and the thesis is clearly placed at the bottom of the paragraph so it is easy for the reader to find. The thesis clearly states which argument the author believes is better supported; the language is confident.
Each of the next three body paragraphs is well organized. Each paragraph starts with a transition word or phrase and includes one example that supports the thesis. The body paragraphs cite specific examples from the passage, and then explain how those examples support the important point. The author uses three difference examples: statistics, ethics, and vocabulary, to prove why the ACLU’s argument is better supported. These examples are different from one another and show that the author understands what makes an argument weak or strong.
Finally, the concluding paragraph makes a minor concession to the opposing side, praising the numbered list that appears therein, before reiterating and restating the thesis from the Introduction.
The essay avoids any grammar or spelling errors and the sentence structure is clear and varied with the appropriate usage of commas and other punctuation. Clear command of the English language is demonstrated. As a result, this essay would earn a perfect score.
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