How to Study for General Educational Development (GED) Test Effectively?

How to Study for General Educational Development (GED) Test Effectively?

Around 97% of the colleges in the US will accept the GED Certificate of High School Equivalency in place of a high school diploma, along with other countries, including Canada. So, if you didn’t get your high school diploma, don’t despair. The GED could be your golden ticket to access future study and employment opportunities. 

If you are looking to take your GED, you are in the right place. This article will cover all you need to know to practice for and pass the test.

What Is the GED Test?

If you take and pass the GED test, you will receive a Certificate of High School Equivalency which will serve the same purpose as a High School Diploma. The GED test is a chance for those people who did not achieve a high school diploma for whatever reason to better their employment prospects.

Many colleges and career training programs will require such a certificate in order to be eligible for acceptance. Eligibility for the GED test will vary across states, but generally, the acceptance criteria will be that test takers are over the age of 16 and not currently enrolled in a high school.

In some states or districts, the minimum age limit will be 17, and a consenting letter from parents or the school district may also be required.

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What Does the GED Test Measure?

The GED test is a basic assessment of cognitive ability and measures competency in: 

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Science and social studies

What Is the Format of the GED Test?

The test is most usually taken on a computer and consists of four sections:

  1. Seasoning through language arts
  2. Science
  3. Social studies
  4. Mathematical reasoning

We will explore each of the four sections in turn.

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  • Reasoning Through Language Arts

This section of the GED test measures a candidate’s writing ability, reading comprehension skills, and level of understanding in relation to academic and work-related texts.

The majority of the texts presented in this part of the test are informative by nature and will contain around 450-900 words.

Candidates will have 150 minutes to complete this section of the test which will be typed on a computer. It contains a writing assignment that requires test takers to submit a written analysis that uses the given texts as evidence.

It is important to remember that during this part of the test, your typing skills will also be assessed. Depending upon your level of competency, that may be something that you will need to practice.

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  • Science

In the science part of the GED test, candidates will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of the basic principles of science across the disciplines of physical science, earth and space science, and life science. Physical and life sciences will carry particular weight.

The questions will be text-based, along with questions involving data and statistics. There will be a variety of question formats on the test, including drag and drop, multiple choice, filling in the blanks, short answers, and hot spot questions – this is where the candidate will be asked to click on a portion of an image on a computer screen.

The time limit for this part of the test will be 90 minutes. Candidates will be allowed to bring their own calculator; alternatively, an on-screen calculator is also provided.

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  • Social Studies

There are four different subjects measured within this part of the test and these are: 

  • Economics
  • Geography 
  • The world, civics, and government 
  • US history

The primary foci in this part of the test will be civics and government.

Along with the primary subject areas, there will be a subtest that will measure knowledge and reasoning skills. As for the science section of the test, candidates may bring their own calculator or use the on-screen one provided.

The time limit for this section of the test is 70 minutes. The question formats include drag and drop, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank style questions.

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  • Mathematical Reasoning

The Math section of the GED test measures quantitative algebraic problem-solving ability, with the emphasis being placed marginally on those questions involving algebra. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate their ability to problem solve as well as their overall understanding of quantitative and algebraic concepts.

This section of the test should take 115 minutes at a maximum and once again include various question formats such as drag and drop, multiple choice, filling in the blanks, and hot spot questions. As before, you will be allowed to bring your own calculator or use the on-screen one that is provided. 

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How Can I Prepare for My GED Test?

Preparation is the key to success for most assessments, and the resources at Test Prep Online can give you such an advantage. It is important to take any practice tests under timed exam conditions in order to get a clear understanding of any areas of weakness that you may have as well as your clear strengths.

Make sure you have a clear and uncluttered workspace in a designated place within which you can work quietly and undisturbed or distracted.

Being able to understand your score and the areas that you need to practice will certainly help to give an advantage on the day and enable you to undertake the test with calm confidence – even small improvements can significantly increase your scores.

What subject areas and subtests are your strongest? Do you excel at some question formats over others? Divide your time and prioritize according to which areas you need to focus on the most.

It is also worth noting that you don’t have to take every subject in the exam on the same day and to improve your chances it is perhaps a good idea to spread them out over several weeks or months, giving you time enough to practice for each element of the overall exam.

The GED test is quite general in nature and designed to give assessors a broad overview of your skills and knowledge in primary subject areas. The level is that of a high school curriculum, and so you may already have a good amount of existing ability in the main subject areas.

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How Is the GED Scored?

For each sub-section of the GED test there is a possible score ranging from 100 – 200 marks, with a minimum pass score of 145 overall. For those candidates who achieve a high pass score, there may be an opportunity to collect college credits, scholarships, and honor level equivalency diplomas.

The scoring system looks something like this:

  • Below pass – 100-144
  • Pass – 145-164
  • GED college ready – 165-174
  • GED college ready + credit – 175 – 200

It may be possible to retake any sub-tests that a candidate did not pass on the first attempt without retaking all sections. In order to be awarded the Certificate of High School Equivalency, candidates must pass all of the subtests within a two-year time period. Those students who need to take the test for a third time may need to wait for a period of 60 days.

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Time to Practice for the GED

Practicing for the test will mean that you have consolidated your level of fundamental skills and knowledge. This will definitely stand you in good stead for your working future, career progression, and the opportunities available to you. Let Test Prep Online help you to achieve the all-important step on your path to a better future!

Written by Karen Stanley

​​Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organizations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.

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