How to Adress Your Weaknesses to Ace the GED Exam
The GED (General Educational Development test) is an exam you can take to serve as an alternative to a high school diploma. It consists of four subjects: Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. For people who weren’t able to receive a high school diploma, the GED is an important credential for transitioning to higher education or jobs that would otherwise require a diploma. It is crucial to prepare for the GED, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and address gaps in your knowledge of the four subjects involved. To that end, this guide will help you identify your weaknesses in the GED exam and overcome them.
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Take a Practice Test
Practice tests can be helpful in preparing for the GED. These can give you an idea of what topics the real test could have and how the questions could be presented. The GED website offers a practice test on each of the four subjects for a fee. There are also free sample tests, which are about a quarter of the length of the real test.
As the GED is made up of four lengthy tests that you can take separately from one another, you can prioritize which practice tests and subjects you want to tackle first. This is how they are formatted:
- Language Arts. 90 minutes for the multiple-choice section and 45 minutes for the essay section. The topics for this section include Grammar and Language, Reading for Meaning, and Identifying and Creating Arguments.
- Math. 115 minutes, divided into no-calculator and calculator sections. The topics include Basic Math, Basic Algebra, Geometry, and Graphs and Functions.
- Science. 90 minutes with no break. The topics include Reading for Meaning in Science, Using Numbers and Graphics in Science, and Designing and Interpreting Science Experiments.
- Social Studies. 70 minutes with no break. The topics include Analyzing Historical Events and Arguments in Social Studies, Reading for Meaning in Social Studies, and Using Numbers and Graphs in Social Studies.
Analyze Your Practice Test Results
After taking the practice and sample tests, it’s time to examine your results. For example, did you breeze through the Language Arts section? Or did you struggle with Science? How long did you take on each part of the test? Careful observation is how you figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
To be able to address your weaknesses, you should determine exactly what it is that you’re having an issue with. For example, if the Math test gave you trouble, figuring out which of the four subsections needs more attention than others can help you sort out your priorities for studying. If you found yourself losing track of time and rushing to finish the test, set limits for the amount of time you spend on individual problems so that you can take the rest of the exam properly.
Conversely, the parts of the test you had less trouble with indicate what needs less effort when studying. Spending too much time on these will only take away from subjects that you should prioritize.
Create a Study Plan
This self-reflection is what you need to formulate a good study plan, one of the most important tools you can give yourself in preparing for the GED. A study plan is a schedule you set for your studying, one that will also enable you to target your problem areas. If a subject is giving you trouble, allot more time to study it.
As you’re studying, be sure to check in with yourself. If you feel your progress has stalled, then it might be time to change your approach. Perhaps you need to relearn the fundamentals, or you might need more practical applications to learn. You may find that, after some testing, you understand more about certain topics compared to before.
When studying, make sure to actively engage with your material. Ask questions about what the material could be saying. For example, if you see an uncommon word in Language Arts, find out what it means and how it’s used in different contexts. With social studies, look at a graph of the population of a country over the years along with its GDP and try to tell a story with it, or in other words, make deductions about trends. Learning is not just memorization; it’s about looking deeper into any given subject.
Stay at It
The key to a good study plan is being able to follow it. It should be consistent enough for you to know it off-hand, while also being accommodating enough that you can adjust whenever you need to. If you have other obligations, such as work or regular social activities, try to see what’s possible for you to compromise on or rearrange with your schedule. Otherwise, stick to your schedule as closely as possible.
To prevent burnout, two hours should be the most that you study a single subject at one time. By then, your brain would be too tired to retain even more info about one topic. Make sure you set aside days for relaxing as well so that you can balance your studying and free time. Rest is important. You should have time to recharge, so you can avoid burnout. That way, you’ll be at your best while studying.
Plan Your Way to GED
With the importance of a GED credential, it’s natural to be nervous about the test, but there’s no need to be. With a cohesive study plan and a routine that you diligently stick to, you can learn a lot in a short amount of time. This is how you maximize your strengths and address your weaknesses in the GED exam to succeed with the test. Afterward, make sure to give yourself credit for passing an intensive process and securing your future.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.