GED Science Short Answer Practice Questions

NOTE: The GED Science Short Answer questions were discontinued at the beginning of 2018. Click here for all of our current GED Science resources.

Let’s put your Short Answer skills to the test with these GED Science Short Answer practice questions! Before you get started, remember the tips and strategies that we reviewed. Here are your goals for these practice questions:

  • Read the passage and the question prompt carefully.
  • Discuss 2-3 details from the passage in your response.
  • Write in a clear, concise style that is easy to understand.
  • Quickly proofread your essay for grammatical errors.
  • Spend about 10 minutes on each question.

Now it time to start practicing! We have two Short Answer practice questions for you to try. After reading each question we suggest that you type out your answer, and then review the sample responses.

GED Science Short Answer Practice Question 1

The glaciers of Switzerland, like those of the Sierra Nevada, are mere remnants of mighty ice-floods that once filled the great valleys and poured into the sea. So, also, are those of Norway, Asia, and South America. Even the grand continuous mantles of ice that still cover Greenland, parts of Alaska, and the south polar region are shrinking. Every glacier in the world is smaller than it once was. In contemplating the condition of the glaciers of the world, we must bear in mind while trying to account for the changes that the same sunshine that wastes them builds them. Every glacier records the expenditure of an enormous amount of sun-heat in lifting the vapor for the snow of which it is made from the ocean to the mountains. The number of glaciers in the Alps is approximately 1100, of which 100 may be regarded as primary, and the total area of ice and snow is estimated at 1177 square miles, or an average for each glacier of little more than one square mile. The average height above sea-level at which they melt is about 7414 feet. The Grindelwald glacier descends below 4000 feet, and one of the Mont Blanc glaciers reaches nearly as low a point. The largest of the Sierra glaciers on Mount Shasta descends to within 9500 feet of the level of the sea, which is the lowest point reached by any glacier within the bounds of California, the average height of all being around 11,000 feet.


Explain how glaciers are changing throughout the world. Include multiple pieces of evidence from the text to support your answer. Type your response. This task may take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

View Sample Response for Question 1 >>


GED Science Short Answer Practice Question 2

Before Darwin, little was known concerning the phenomena of variability. The fact, that hardly two leaves on a tree were exactly the same, could not escape observation: small deviations of the same kind were seen everywhere, among individuals as well as among parts of the same plant. Larger aberrations were for a long time regarded as lying outside the range of ordinary phenomena, and believed to be disconnected to the process of heredity.

Darwin was the first to take a broad survey of the whole range of variations in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. His theory of natural selection is based on the fact of variability. In order that this foundation should be as strong as possible he collected concrete facts from first-person observation as well as studied the data available in published material, and tried to arrange this information in a more scientific way. He succeeded in showing that variations may be grouped along a line of almost continuous gradations, beginning with simple differences in size and ending with significant deviations. He was struck by the fact that, as a rule, the smaller the deviations, the more frequently they appear, very abrupt breaks in characteristics being a rare occurrence. He often pointed out, that there are a good many small fluctuations.

Darwin strongly combated the belief that great changes would be necessary to explain the origin of species. Some authors had propounded the idea that highly adapted organs, for example the wings of a bird, could not have been developed in any other way than by a comparatively sudden modification. Such a conception would allow for great breaks or discontinuity in the evolution of highly differentiated animals and plants, shortening the time for the evolution of the whole organic kingdom and getting over numerous difficulties inherent in the theory of slow and gradual progress. It would, moreover, account for the genetic relation of the larger groups of both animals and plants.ew

Explain how Darwin contributed to our understanding of variability. Type your response. This task may take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

View Sample Response for Question 2 >>