10 Surefire Ways to Prepare for the GED - dummies

10 Surefire Ways to Prepare for the GED

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

Of course you want to do well on the GED test. But, your time is limited, so here are ten ideas and tips for preparing for the test, from selecting the right test-taking time for you to working through practice tests and getting familiar with the computer format, so you can do your very best on test day.

Select the best-possible test date

Sure, you probably live a busy life all the time, but do your best to find a period in your busy schedule when you can concentrate on preparing for and passing the test. Because the test is administered in small test centers, you may be able to arrange a date and time that suit you. Choose the test date wisely. If you have enough time to prepare, you’ll do well.

Take practice tests

Taking practice tests before you take the actual test will help you get familiar with the test format, the types of questions you’ll be asked, and what subject areas you may need to work on. Take as many practice tests as you can before test day.

The GED Testing Service provides some free practice tests. You also may want to try taking an Official GED Practice Test, available at testing centers, preparation classes, and online from the GED Testing Service. The official practice test in particular can help you predict your score, which allows you to see how close you are to passing the real GED test.

Study subject-matter books

If you’ve taken several practice tests, you may have identified key areas in which you’re lacking skills. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can find books that address your weaknesses to increase your chances of GED success.

Although the Reasoning through Language Arts section doesn’t test your knowledge of literature, reading literature is a good way to help you prepare for that test. Consider reading one or two of Shakespeare’s plays and other drama, novels from 1920 to the present, and recent short stories.

If you’re unsure about anything you read, simply do an online search for the book title and use keywords such as “analysis” and “content review.” You can also check out old high-school English textbooks that deal with literature and writing skills.

Enroll in a GED test preparation class

If you like to interact with other people and prefer a teacher to guide you through your preparation, consider taking a GED test preparation class. Costs for these classes vary widely, and some are offered free of charge.

To find a class in your location, ask around. Talk to people you know who have taken the GED test, administrators and teachers at your local high school or college, or people at your local GED testing center.

Local high schools usually offer night-school courses for free or for minimal fees. Although these courses require more time, they also provide more direct help. Better yet, they’re a lot less costly than private GED test-prep classes.

Schedule time to study

Set aside time each day to study. Study regularly by doing the following:

  1. Take practice tests to find out in which subject area(s) you struggle.

    Check each answer on the practice tests, and read all the answer explanations. Make sure you understand your mistakes.

  2. Focus your studies on the subject area(s) you’re weakest in.

  3. Take more practice tests.

Get familiar with the computer

On the real GED test, you’ll be typing on a keyboard, using a mouse to select or drag items, and reading information on the screen. Be sure to practice these skills before the test. If you don’t have a computer, most public libraries offer access. Also consider taking a computer literacy class at your local high school or community center.

Prepare for the test in your mind

To make yourself less anxious about the GED test, visualize yourself at the test center on test day. In your mind, see yourself enter the room and listen to the instructions. Go through this routine in your mind until it begins to feel familiar. Then see yourself starting the test and scrolling through questions.

By repeating this visual sequence over and over again in your mind, it becomes familiar — and what’s familiar isn’t nearly as stressful as what’s unfamiliar. (This process is called visualization and really works at putting your mind at ease for the test.)

Get good rest the week before the test

As part of your plan for preparation, include some social time, some down time, and plenty of rest time because everyone performs better when well rested. In fact, your memory and ability to solve problems improve remarkably when you’re properly rested.

Whatever you do, don’t panic about your upcoming test and stay up all night before the test. Last-minute cramming rarely works. Instead, plan your last week before the test so you get plenty of sleep and are mentally and physically prepared for the test.

Make sure you have proper identification

To take the GED test, you need an acceptable picture ID. Because what’s acceptable may vary from state to state, check with your state GED office or your local testing center (or check the information it sends you after you register) before the test.

The picture ID required is usually a driver’s license or passport; at any rate, it’s usually something common and easy to get.

Practice your route to the test site

On certain days and occasions, you just don’t want to get lost or be late. Make sure you plan a route from your home or job, or wherever you’ll be commuting from, to the testing site. Map it out and practice getting to the test center. If you’re driving, make sure you know where to park. Arrive early enough that you can be sure to find a spot.

Leave extra time for surprises. You never know when a street could be closed.