10 Habits of Highly Successful GED Test-Takers

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

As you prepare to take the GED test, don’t forget that you still have a life. Set aside some time for relaxation, to do those fun things you enjoy, and to share time with friends and family. But then make sure you follow these ten tips to succeed on the test.

  • Set specific goals. Make a list of tasks you need to complete to pass each test. Then prepare a day-by-day schedule to make that happen.

    For example,

    • Monday: Review fractions for the math test, download some sample worksheets, and spend an hour working on a fractions quiz.

    • Tuesday: Go through all your science flashcards, look up information for any questions you missed, and do one more fractions quiz.

    • Wednesday: Set aside 30 minutes to work through the science flashcards you missed, download some worksheets on long division, and spend an hour working on those math worksheets.

    Set up a schedule like this for the rest of the week. Review your progress at the end of each day to make sure you stick to your schedule. If necessary, revise your schedule. Stay on track.

  • Focus and persist. Visualize your future with a GED diploma. You have obviously decided to make changes in your life. Thinking positive, remaining confident, and focusing on the rewards will make it easier to stick to your goals. Have faith in yourself. You know you can do this.

  • Break the work into manageable bites. As part of time management, turning the task into manageable sections prevents you from becoming overwhelmed by the work. Remember that experiencing success is an important part in moving toward your goal.

  • Set specific times and places for study. Setting aside time to learn is an important habit. Working in the same location at the same time every day will help you develop good habits. Setting aside the same time will also mean that people around you will gradually become used to the idea that at those times you’re simply not available. Figure out what time is best for you and stick to it.

  • Don’t cram all in one night. Study after study has shown that successful learning comes with repetition. Of everything you learn one night, more than half will be forgotten the next day. But when you repeat that the next day, the following morning the loss is only about 30 percent. The more often you repeat, the more you’ll remember. Cramming the night before doesn’t work and simply means you’ll arrive at the test bleary-eyed, cranky, and operating below par. Not a good idea.

    Instead, on the day before the test, the best thing you can do is a brief review, just enough to remind yourself how well you know your material. Then have a relaxing evening, get a really good night’s sleep, and be well rested the morning of the test.

  • Review what you’ve learned before starting on new materials. As part of the “don’t cram” approach, it helps to do a very quick review of what you learned previously as you start on the next night’s work. Not only does it wake you up and help you focus on the task at hand, but it also helps make the materials stick.

  • Avoid distractions. Turn off the radio and television. Tell friends and family not to interrupt you. Avoid multitasking. Focus on the one work item you’re concerned with, and ignore everything else around you.

  • Switch between harder and easier subjects. After working on a hard subject for a while, some people will be ready to knock their head against a wall, in the hope that maybe the pain will drive the work in. Of course, that doesn’t work, so here’s an easier approach: Switch back and forth between one subject you really like and one you really dislike, or switch between a subject you find difficult and one you find easy.

    When you work on the harder, disliked subject first, you’ll get a great deal of work done. But when the frustration builds up and the temptation is to quit for the night, that’s not a really worthwhile answer. So as an alternative, switch to the subject area you like and/or find easy. Doing so allows you to continue learning and stay on track while giving the relief from the material you were having a hard time with.

    Of course, don’t forget that you have to go back to harder material because it certainly isn’t going to go away on its own.

  • Remember learning styles. Everyone learns differently. Some people learn by reading. Others have a visual memory and can remember drawings or sketches or flow charts. Figure out which of these styles works best for you. Try to formulate your learning so you do most of it using your strength. Unfortunately, because the test material is presented either as text or as a visual clue, you don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to taking the test.

  • Build up a support network. Working with friends taking the same test or with a study group of people you know can make the job much easier. Sooner or later, you’ll get stuck on something, and having another person to discuss the work with always helps. Friends, family, and other students can be a useful resource.