GED Science Short Answer Sample Responses

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

These are sample responses for our GED Science Short Answer practice questions. The sample response for Question #1 is a level 3 response, which is the highest score you can get. The sample response for Question #2 is a level 2 response. Below each of these examples is an evaluation which explains the scoring in detail.

GED Science Short Answer Sample Response 1

The glaciers of the world are shrinking at an increasing rate. As the graph indicates, the cumulative volume change of the world’s glacier mass has more than doubled its decline between 1990 and 2010. It is reasonable to infer that the volume change has continued to drop at an increasing rate since 2010. The decrease in glacier-size is partially to do with natural climate change. For example, the “ice-floods” mentioned in the passage would be unlikely to form today. However, the passage states that the “grand continuous mantles of ice” that make up parts of Greenland and Alaska are continually decreasing, leading to the assumption that the decrease in glacier size is continuous and potentially irreversible.

The melting may partially account for the fact that some glaciers are closer to sea level than others. The passage mentions that the “largest of the Sierra glaciers on Mount Shasta descends to within 9500 feet of the level of the sea.” It may be true that as glaciers descend they melt at a faster rate. This may in part account for the higher glacier melting rates worldwide. However, overall, the data presented suggests that the overall trend of the world’s glaciers is to decrease in size, with no concrete evidence that such decline can be forestalled or prevented.

Sample Response #1 Evaluation:
This response would have received a (3). The author states a clear position of the topic in the first sentence and then supports that main idea with several details from the passage, including data from the graph and two quotations. The logic is clear and the paragraphs flow nicely with no awkward transitions. There are no major grammatical or spelling errors, which indicates the author proofread the response before submitting it. This well-developed response fully develops the prompt with complete support from the passage and graphic, and thus earns all three possible points.


GED Science Short Answer Sample Response 2

Darwin combated the belief that great changes would be necessary to explain the origin of species. He didn’t fully understand the idea of variability, but he contributed to it a lot. Darwin though that it was necessary to comprehend his idea of different species. As the passage states, “His theory of natural selection is based on the fact of variability.” Darwin showed that variability was based on a gradation of tiny variations, one building upon the other. He noticed a “good many small fluctutions” that other scientists had not paid attention to. Darwin was ahead of his time and paved the way for future genetic scientists.

Sample Response #2 Evaluation:
This response would have received a “2.” It does a good job of using detail from the passage to prove a main point: Darwin contributed to variability. However, it does so in a somewhat clunky manner. It would have been better if the author had analyzed the quotations used from the passage in more detail, and organized his or her thoughts in multiple paragraphs. In addition, the word “fluctuations” is misspelled, which indicates a lack of proofreading. This response is only 5 sentences, which is not by itself a problem, but a slightly more developed response would have probably scored slightly higher.