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Sarah Bradstreet

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for the GED Exam

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GED prep may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With some thought, you can create a totally manageable plan for yourself to make sure you walk into the test ready to pass. Here are the top 10 ways to prepare for the GED exam.

1. Register.

Of course, to take the GED, you’ll need to register for the exam. This seems like a no-brainer, but there are several things you’ll need to consider as you register.

  • Find a testing center near you. If your state does not offer the GED, you may be able to take it in another state that accepts out-of-state testers. Check each state’s policies.
  • Decide whether you want to take the test all at once or split it up. The GED is made up of four separate subject tests (Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Science). You have a choice whether to sit for all four at once or to take them on different days. Taking it all at once is a 7.5-hour marathon, but it lets you get it all done at once and may work well for someone who is well-prepared and on a tight schedule. Splitting them up allows you to focus your efforts on one test at a time. Choose carefully which plan is best for you.
  • Sign up for the test at MyGED.

2. Take a class.

Many people benefit from in-person learning in a classroom. It lets you learn from a qualified instructor, work with other students, ask questions, and get personalized help. If a class is right for you, MyGED can help you locate one near you.

3. Take a practice test (or 2).

One of the best ways to go into the GED prepared is to take a practice test that mimics the questions and conditions of the real thing. I recommend you take AT LEAST two practice tests.

  • Take one test at the beginning of your preparation as a diagnostic test to see where you are. Look for your strengths and weaknesses and use it to study strategically.
  • Take another test a couple of weeks before you plan to take the real thing to make sure you’re on track. The official practice test you can purchase through MyGED will let you know whether or not you are likely to pass the real thing based on your results.
  • It’s never a bad idea to take another in between, either. The more experience you have with test questions, the better off you’ll be.

Here are some ways to find practice tests online.

4. Make a schedule.

The GED covers A LOT of material, so it’s important to pace yourself and keep up with your studies. Take a look at when your exam is scheduled for and divide the time in between then and now into chunks. Make a schedule for how much content you need to study in each time period to make sure it’s all covered by test day.

5. Use flashcards.

Flashcards are a great way to study key concepts and vocabulary. Make some and carry them with you so you can squeeze in a quick review while riding the bus, sitting in a waiting room, or on your lunch break at work. You can go the old school route and use index cards, or you can go high-tech and use a free app like Quizlet to make flashcards for your mobile device.

6. Watch videos.

Many people are visual learners, so videos can be a great way to see material brought to life in an engaging way. For whatever topic you’re studying, there’s a good chance Khan Academy has an awesome, free video lesson about it.

7. Read a book.

There are lots of good test prep books out there. Look for one that says it’s been GED content aligned and that includes both review material and practice questions. The GED marketplace (the GED’s official online store) lists lots of books that the GED Testing Service itself recommends. You can also usually find GED books at your local library. Just make sure you get one that has been updated for the 2014-present version of the GED.

8. Partner up.

A study buddy can make learning easier and more fun. Whether it’s someone else taking the GED, or just a great friend willing to lend a hand, it can be really helpful to have someone else by your side. Quiz each other, ask them questions, and provide encouragement.

9. Make it fun.

I know, I know. Studying for the GED probably does not sound like fun. There are lots of ways you can make GED prep more enjoyable, though.

  • Work with a friend (see tip #9).
  • Use the learning style that works best for YOU. Love videos? Watch them. Prefer a physical book in your hands? Read one. It’s YOUR test; prepare for it YOUR way.
  • Treat yourself. Set up study goals and reward yourself for meeting them.
  • More ways to make GED prep more fun.

10. Get your mind and body ready.

Of course your brain needs to be prepared with the necessary information to pass the GED, but you also need to get yourself ready in other mental and physical ways.

  • Keep stress at bay.
  • Get plenty of rest, especially the night before the test.
  • Develop a confident mind set. You can do this!
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About 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.


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