You Can Do It: Successfully Passing the GED

In today’s ever changing society, having at least a High School education is a must. Sometimes, due to unexpected circumstances in life, students find themselves not able to complete a traditional High School program, and often drop out of school without graduating. Pursuing a GED can seem like an almost impossible task, especially for someone who has been out of the classroom for a long time, however, when prepared, the odds of successfully passing are in the student’s favor. The more educated the student is about the test’s content and how to pick the best answers for it, the better the chances are that the student will pass.

Before discussing how to answer a problem, content must be addressed. “What is on the GED?” and “How much of it do I need to know?” are valid concerns that can be answered. Lets start off with the subjects that will be subtests: Language Arts and Writing, Language Arts and Reading, Science, Mathematics, and Social Studies. Each one of these five subtests must be successfully passed in order to receive a GED. Some GED testing sites will allow a student to retake a portion of the GED that was not passed at a later date, thus allowing a student to avoid retaking any sections unnecessarily. In order to achieve the highest score on each subtest of the GED, one must be prepared, aware of material to be covered, and answer each question to the best of his/her knowledge. Some sample topics in each subtest are:

Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Language Arts (Writing) – Students will have 45 minutes to write an essay on a selected topic, which will be graded. A good format to use for writing your essay is “the five paragraph essay” (introduction, body 1 paragraph, body 2 paragraph, body 3 paragraph, conclusion). A thesis (main idea) needs to be expressed in the introduction. From that, three main points that support your thesis need to be your body 1,2,3 paragraphs respectively. Last, the conclusion needs to summarize your thesis and close your essay. A good point to remember is that the thesis needs to tie in to every paragraph. Some other areas of study for this subsection of the GED are spelling and using the correct term (ex. its or it’s, need or kneed). Also, it’s helpful to read over business type material, as there is a greater emphasis on these then in the previous GED test.
Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Language Arts (Reading) – Comprehension is the main focus of the reading subtest. Students will be reading passages, which are approximately 300-400 words and then selecting main ideas, or choosing what happens in the story. While many of these passages are “stories” (literary texts which account for 75% of the passages), there are also non-fiction passages, which make up the other 25% of the texts, including at least one business document. Students should be familiar with fact and opinion, compare and contrast, and analysis /synthesis questions (there are more analysis than synthesis questions on the GED).
Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Science – Science questions are meant to test situations about everyday life. There are Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science questions, which can be answered either from knowledge or by looking at graphics. Topics can include physical/chemical changes, recycling, pollution, weather, and personal health. Content wise, most questions will be on Life Science (45%), followed by Physical Science (35%), and then Earth and Space Science (20%). By knowing this, one can adjust study time to allow sufficient dedication to each breadth of science.
Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Mathematics – Students can use a Casio fx-260 solar calculator for Part 1 of this subtest. Topics emphasized are: plotting grids for coordinates, data analysis and statistics, probability, number/number sense, operations, measurement, geometry, algebra, functions, patterns. These topics are between 20 – 30% weight each, so each one should be prepared for equally in depth. Also, be wary of questions that have the answer of “not sufficient information”. While for some questions this can be the correct answer, it’s always best to try the problem again to see if the given information will yield a solution.
Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Social Studies – History and Government related questions weigh the most (25% each) on this part of the test. Other areas of study should include Economics, Geography, and World History, which comprise anywhere from 15 to 20% of the questions for the Social Studies test. A helpful hint is to become familiar with documents in US History. For example, know what the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Amendments to the Constitution are. It’s also helpful to know about the Supreme Court, branches of government, and to know about events in history. Practical documents, such as voting ballots and tax worksheets are helpful to know and understand prior to the exam.

In addition to the content listed above, there are several companies that make complete GED exam guides, which include a variety of questions from all subtests. Most of these books have a pre and posttest to check on one’s improvement throughout the course of study. Another option is to check with the establishment where you will be taking the GED. Some colleges have free GED pre-tests for students who register to take the test. Even better, others have GED preparation classes that can be delivered in a variety of formats. A benefit a Community College is lower tuition, and the ability to transition from GED student to college student. No matter which option you choose, the GED is an invaluable stepping stone to other journeys and tasks you will accomplish in life.

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