What's on the TASC: Social Studies

The TASC Social Studies Test evaluates your ability to understand, interpret, and apply information. You will have 75 minutes to answer 47 items. Most items on the TASC Social Studies Test will be multiple-choice, though you may also see multiple-answer, drag-and-drop, and constructed-response items.

Content Areas of the TASC Social Studies Test

Civics and Government (25%) topics include modern and historic governments, constitutional government, levels and branches of the U.S. government, the electoral system, and the role of the citizen.
U.S. History (25%) topics stretch from colonialism and the American Revolution through the Civil War and Reconstruction into the modern era of industrialization, immigration, two world wars, the Great Depression and New Deal era, the Cold War, and the movements for equal rights.
Economics (20%) topics include economics concepts and systems, the government and the economy, and labor and consumer economics issues.
Geography (15%) topics cover the relationship among resources, the environment, and societies.
World History (15%) topics include the beginnings and development of human societies as well as political and economic revolutions and the causes and consequences of wars in the modern era.

Social Studies Skills

In addition to testing your understanding of social studies passages, illustrations, graphs, and charts, questions on the TASC Social Studies Exam are based on your understanding of major skills. After you study these skills, you will reinforce them as you work through the unit. They include:

  • Determining central ideas and making inferences
  • Analyzing words, events, and ideas in social studies contexts
  • Analyzing authors’ purposes and points of view
  • Evaluate authors’ reasoning and evidence
  • Analyze relationships within and between social studies materials
  • Interpret data and statistics in graphs and charts

Note that while you will be expected to interpret data, you will not have to perform extensive calculations during the TASC Social Studies Test. You will not have access to a calculator during the TASC Social Studies Test.
Once you’re familiar with the structure of the TASC Social Studies Test, try out a few practice questions!

Question 1
Which of the following is a conclusion supported by the table below, rather than a detail stated in the table?
what's on the tasc
A. The Constitution allows Congress to enforce collection of taxes, whereas the Articles of Confederation did not.
B. The Constitution grants more power to the federal government than did the Articles of Confederation.
C. There were no national armed forces before the Constitution was drafted.
D. Trade was not nationally regulated by the Articles of Confederation.

B: In each category compared in the chart, the federal government has more power under the Constitution than it had under the Articles of Confederation, so choice (B) is a valid inference, though it is not explicitly stated anywhere on the chart. All three wrong answers cite specific facts stated in the chart.

Question 2
What principle underlies the laws described in the following paragraph?
Three typical laws from the code of Hammurabi, written about 1700 B.C.E., are “If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. If he break another man’s bone, his bone shall be broken.”
A. retribution
B. rehabilitation
C. incarceration
D. mediation

A: These laws all embody the urge to take revenge on wrongdoers, or to exact retribution. The other principles underlie the modern criminal justice system and other modern legal systems.

Question 3
Read the following passage. Which of the following is the most likely reason soft money was not a major issue in the 1980s?
In 1979, Congress passed legislation to allow political parties to raise unlimited amounts of general-purpose money not designated for particular candidates. In 1991, a lawsuit forced disclosure of such “soft money” contributions, and concern grew about the size of individual donations, the extent of total donations, and the ways in which the money was being spent. During the presidential elections of 1996 and 2000, campaign fund-raising, especially the raising and spending of soft money, was an issue, with the candidates promising reform. Finally, in 2001, after several years of hearings, the Senate passed the McCain-Feingold bill, which would eliminate the unregulated soft money contributions that make up a large proportion of the parties’ budgets.
A. People were less aware of soft money because disclosure was not required at that time.
B. Political campaigns were publicly financed, so soft money was not needed.
C. Most candidates spent part of their campaign funds on television ads.
D. McCain and Feingold had not submitted their campaign finance reform bill.

A: During the 1980s, political parties did not have to reveal the amount and sources of their soft money contributions, so the extent of this type of campaign financing was not generally known. Only when a law was passed requiring disclosure did people become aware of the scale of soft money donations and so began to raise their concerns about the issue.

Question 4
Which of the following is necessary for a candidate to win the presidency?
A. earning a majority of primary wins
B. receiving a majority of the popular vote
C. receiving a majority in the Electoral College
D. having no third-party opponent

C: According to the second paragraph of the passage on page 506 a president must have a majority in the Electoral College to be elected.

Need some more TASC practice? Check out Kaplan’s TASC study resources.