PLEASE NOTE: The GED Science Short Answer questions were discontinued at the beginning of 2018. Click here for our GED Science Practice Questions.
The “Design an Experiment” short answer question is one type of question that may show up on your GED Science Test. For this short essay question you will be given 10 minutes to type your answer, which will be scored on a scale of 0 to 3.
A stimulus passages will be provided that tells you the goals for an experiment and a list of available materials that may be used. Your task is to write out a plan for the experiment, explaining how it will be setup, how the data will be collected, and how the hypothesis will be evaluated.
When you setup the experiment and explain its design, you will be describing the scientific method. The “scientific method” follows these steps:
- Ask a question, and make a hypothesis.
- Test the hypothesis with an experiment.
- Analyze the results, and draw a conclusion.
GED Science Short Answer Template
Since you only have 10 minutes, it’s important that you organize your time well. Let’s divide your response into three short paragraphs that correspond with our steps above. Here is a template for these paragraphs:
In the introduction, you have showed that you understand the hypothesis being tested, and that you understand what materials you will be using to set up your experiment. You are demonstrating that you thoroughly understand the prompt. In the second paragraph, you will describe the set-up and steps of your experiment.
This paragraph will explain what you plan to do with each of the materials from the first paragraph, and (most importantly), explain why you have chosen to set it up in this manner. You are describing all the steps to set up the experiment, right up until you are ready to collect data.
GED Science Short Answer Tips
Since you are designing an experiment, it is a good idea to use vocabulary words associated with high school science classes. You will see many of these words incorporated into the template above. If they are relevant to the prompt and to the specific experiment you are creating, then look for opportunities to demonstrate your scientific knowledge by incorporating them into your essay. The definitions are below:
Scientific Method — The sequence of steps followed in investigating a phenomenon.
Data Analysis — Making sense of observations and data collected during an experiment using measures such as mean, median, mode, and range, and by looking at the relationships between the independent and dependent variables
Control Group — An experimental group without the independent variable.
Independent Variable — Something that is controlled by the scientist.
Dependent Variable — Something that is measured in an experiment by the scientist.
Hypothesis — A proposed explanation for a phenomenon that has not been proven.
Direct Correlation — With two variables, X and Y, this occurs when X increases as Y increases
Indirect Correlation — With two variables, X and Y, this occurs when X increases as Y decreases
Line Graph — A type of graph used when data has taken place over time, showing how results change over a period of minutes, hours, days, etc.
Scatterplot — A scatterplot is a type of graph with an X axis and a Y axis, used to draw a series of dots, each representing an observation. It can be used to show a direct or indirect correlation between the two variables.
Extraneous Data — Data that seems to be inconsistent or contradictory.
GED Science Short Answer Practice
Now try answering a practice question: Experiment Design Practice Question.