5 Strategies for Passing the GED

Strategies for Passing the GED

Passing the GED is a great accomplishment that takes a lot of hard work. Don’t let the scope of the exam scare you off, though. It’s totally doable if you’re ready to study strategically. Knowing where to focus can help you plan for success. Here are five strategies for passing the GED to help you on your way.

1. Quality over Quantity

The way you spend your study hours is more important than the number you put in. Make sure you are using your time wisely.

Focus your studying on what YOU need most. It’s a good idea to take a diagnostic practice test when you’re first starting to study so that you can see what your strengths and weaknesses are. This can help you to target your weaknesses as you study and not waste time going over things you’ve already mastered.

As you study, use only high-quality resources. There’s a lot of junk floating around out there. Use products from reputable companies with great reviews. If you’re looking to purchase materials, the GED Marketplace is the GED’s official store full of approved resources. There are also lots of great free resources out there. Just be sure to do a bit of research to make sure what you’re getting is worth your time, even if it’s not costing you money.

2. Planned over Crammed

Planning ahead is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Make a study schedule and stick to it. Don’t put it off and try to cram at the last minute. Cramming just leads to stress, forgetting information, and running out of time. You want to plan ahead so that you can have a low-stress study experience that will leave you confident and ready for test day.

When you schedule your GED exam, create a schedule of the time you have until test day. Divide the time into smaller chunks and figure out how much you need to study each month/week/day in order to cover everything by test day. Having the discipline to keep to a study schedule will help you avoid the pitfalls of last-minute cramming.

3. Skills over Details

The GED is more a test of skills than a test of facts. You have to know major concepts in each subject area, to be sure, but you won’t be expected to do a ton of memorization.

For example:

  • In math, you’ll need to use a lot of geometry formulas, but you don’t need to have a single one memorized. You do, however, need to be able to read a word problem, figure out which formula is needed to solve, and use the formula correctly to come to the solution.
  • In social studies, you don’t have to have an endless list of names and dates memorized, but you do need to know how to interpret a historical document in its proper context.

You may think this is good news or bad news, depending on how you learn and what you’re good at. If you dread the thought of memorizing a long list of material but can think critically given source material to work with, you’re in luck. If you have a photographic memory but struggle with application, you’re likely to have a harder time and will need to brush up your reasoning skills.

This should all shape the way you study. Focus your efforts on developing and improving key skills, like reading comprehension, critical thinking, graphic interpretation, and data analysis.

4. Strategy over Shortcuts

The GED covers a four-year high school curriculum. There’s no real shortcut to passing the GED. You have to buckle down and put in the effort if you want to succeed. You can, however, equip yourself with strategy. Have a study plan. Focus on your weakest areas and those most likely to show up on the exam. Take practice tests so you know what to expect. Learn to pace yourself and manage time effectively. All of these can help you be more prepared for test day.

5. Personalized over Prescribed

There is no one-size-fits-all study method. Use what works for you. Some people learn best in group settings and would benefit from an in-person class. Others work best alone and would excel with online resources. Books, videos, flashcards, study partners— do what works for YOU.


  • Sarah Bradstreet

    Sarah is an educator and writer with a Master’s degree in education from Syracuse University who has helped students succeed on standardized tests since 2008. She loves reading, theater, and chasing around her two kids.