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Molly Kiefer

20 Common GED Vocabulary Words You Should Know

One of the easiest ways to raise your overall score on the GED is to improve your vocabulary. “But the GED only has a few vocab questions,” you might say. And you’re right, there is no specific vocab test on the GED, although you will see a few word usage questions sprinkled throughout the Reasoning Through Language Arts Section.

So why is vocabulary so important to your GED score?

Basically, the more words you know the more likely you are to understand what each question is asking. No matter how good you are at Math, Social Sciences, or Language Arts, it’ll be very hard to get the right answers if you don’t fully understand the questions.

To help you out, here’s a list of 20 important words that you’re likely to see in all five sections of the GED.

common GED vocabulary -magoosh

GED Vocabulary Words

Maybe you know all of these words already, maybe you don’t. Maybe you thought you knew these words, but you just want to double check now that the chance to finally say goodbye to high school is on the line.

The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which defines words as clearly and simply as possible. Between each word and its definition you will see a letter (or letters) in parenthesis. These are the abbreviated versions of each word’s part of speech.

A word’s part of speech tells you about how the word is used. In this vocabulary list you will see three different parts of speech: Verbs (abbreviated as “v.”), nouns (abbreviated as “n.”), and adjectives (abbreviated as “adj.”). Nouns are words for people, places, or things. Verbs are words for actions. Adjectives are words that describe nouns.

After each part of speech is the word’s definition, followed by an example of how to use the GED vocabulary word in a sentence.

Okay, let’s get started!

Word List

Analyze (v.) – to carefully examine the parts of something in order to understand it better

When you have a crush on someone, it is normal to analyze everything they say for signs that they like you.

Concept (n.) – a general idea

Babies have no concept of right and wrong.

Consistent (adj.) – 1. Unchanging, especially in a positive way
2. In agreement with something

You might get fired if you aren’t consistent about showing up for work on time.


Reality is not always consistent with our expectations.

Data (n.) – Information, especially facts or numbers

An important part of any scientific experiment is collecting data on the thing you are studying.

Derive (v.) – To get (from something else)

When solving a math problem you are asked to derive an answer from a given equation.

Distribution (n.) – The way something is spread over an area

The distribution of buildings is less dense in the countryside than in the city.

Estimate (v.) – To make a rough judgment of something based on the information available (n.) – A best guess

It’s approximately 400 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles so I estimate the drive will take about 6 hours.


The drive only took 5 hours, so my estimate was close, but not correct.

Evidence (n.) – A sign that shows something is true; proof

Fossils are good evidence that dinosaurs once existed.

Factor (n.) – 1. Something that affects a situation
2. (Math) A number that another number is divisible by
(v.) (Math) To find all the factors of a given number

SAT scores are not the only factor that colleges look at when deciding which students to accept.


If you are asked to factor 12, you should write down each factor of 12: 1, 2, 6, 3, 4, and 12.

Formula (n.) – A rule or way of doing something, usually expressed in mathematical symbols.

The formula for the area of a triangle is ½(length x height).

Function (n.) – 1. The purpose for which something exists or is used
2. (Math) the relation of an input to an output, written in mathematical symbols
v. To work in the proper way

The function of my glasses is to help me see.


The function f(x)= √x gives you the square root of any number you plug in for f(x).


You should take the car for a test drive before buying it to make sure it can still function.

Identify (v.) – 1. To know or say who or what something is
2. To have strong ties to (something)

You can usually identify when milk has gone bad, based on its smell.


Children of immigrants will often identify with the cultures of both the country they grew up in and their parents’ home country.

Indicate (v.) – To show

Safe drivers will use their turn signal to indicate that they plan to change lanes.

Interpretation (n.) – An explanation of the meaning of something

The movie critic had a much more thoughtful interpretation of the film than I did.

Method (n.) – A way of doing something

In the United States there are many different methods of birth control to choose from.

Period (n.) – 1. A length or portion of time
2. A punctuation mark used at the end of a sentence.

Most high schools divide the school day up into different class periods.


You can fix a run on sentence by replacing the comma with a period.

Principle (n.) – A guiding rule or belief

The most basic principle of democracy is the right to vote.

Significant (n.) – large enough to be noticed or have an effect

Getting enough sleep can have a significant effect on your energy and mood.

Theory (n.) – An idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events

I don’t agree with the theory that when a boy is mean to a girl it’s because he has a crush on her.

Variable (adj.) – likely to change often
(n.) (Math) A symbol that represents one or more numbers

The weather in the Midwest is extremely variable; it can be sunny one minute and raining the next.


The variable in the equation x=1+3 is x.

Now That You Know Your GED Vocab…

The best way to move these GED vocabulary words into your long-term memory is through repetition. Just come back and review this post in a few days, or add them to a set of homemade flashcards, or check out these free GED practice tests to see if you can recognize this vocab in the wild. And don’t forget to sign up for your test!

Improve your GED math score with Magoosh!
About Molly Kiefer

Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


2 Responses to “20 Common GED Vocabulary Words You Should Know”

  1. Marion Lansford says:

    These definitions, parts of speech indicators, and examples
    are not accurate, and they are confusing.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Marion!

      I’m sorry to hear that these words are confusing.

      I went through and checked these words on wordnik.com and Merriam-Webster, and they all seem to be correct. The examples are also correct.

      Are you seeing something different? Or is there something specific I can help you with? 🙂 Just reply, and I’d be happy to!

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