GED Science Short Answer Guide: Experiment Design Question

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:

  1. Ask a question, and make a hypothesis.
  2. Test the hypothesis with an experiment.
  3. 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:

The goal of this experiment is to answer the question, ______________? One hypothesis is that _____________. In order to test this hypothesis using the scientific method, the following materials are required: ________, _________, __________, _________, and _________.

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.

To set up the experiment, first we must set up the independent variables. The independent variables are __________ and _________ for this experiment. To do this, _____________. Next, ________________. The third step is to ______________. The reason to set up the experiment in this way is ____________.Finally, we should _________________. Now we are ready to begin our 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.

Data from the experiment will be collected in the following manner: _____________ every ________(amount of time). This data is essential since it is recorded from the dependent variable/s of ___________and __________. These data values will be organized into a _____________ (data table, graph, scatterplot, chart, etc.) with ____________. By organizing it in this way, we can best analyze ____________, and test our hypothesis of ______________. If a direct correlation is found between _____________ and ___________, then we can draw the conclusion that _____________. If an indirect correlation is found between ___________ and ___________, or the data is inconsistent and extraneous, then that conclusion does not hold up and another hypothesis should be tested.


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.