Creating and Using Flashcards for the GED Science Test

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

Using flashcards is an easy way to test yourself on GED science. To do well on the science portion of the GED, you must have more than a passing understanding of science vocabulary and concepts. Indeed, specific prior knowledge is important. Flashcards are a reliable means to help you increase your science vocabulary and further your comprehension of those words.

Follow these steps to create your own flashcards and use them for study:

  1. Gather a stack of index cards or uniform squares of scrap paper.

  2. On the front of each card, write the words or concepts that you have trouble understanding. On the back, write the definition of that word or explanation of that concept.

  3. Place the deck of cards in front of you, word-side up.

    This is your source pile.

  4. Take a card from the top of the source pile and read the word.

  5. Without looking at the back, say the definition.

  6. Turn over the card to view the definition and see how well you’ve explained the word.

    If your definition corresponds to that on the card, place it in a pile (call it your successful pile). If not, reread the definition, and put the card back in the bottom of your source pile.

  7. Continue through the pile of cards, putting correct definitions in the successful pile and the incorrect ones back into the bottom of the source pile until all the cards are in the successful pile.

Sometimes, studying can be made easier and more enjoyable by making it into a game. Try this variation:

  1. On the corner of each card, rate the level of difficulty of the term or concept from 1 to 3.

  2. Play as you normally would, but this time keep score, using the difficulty levels as points for each card you get “right.”

  3. Try to improve your score each time you go through the source pile.

    If you go through the deck more than once, you may always end up with the same score. Make a rule to go through the deck only once or twice when keeping score. If you play this as a timed game, you’ll likely have cards left over at the end of the game, mostly the cards that gave you some difficulties. These cards are your guide to areas that need special attention, because these are words or concepts that you don’t understand very well.

    You can have someone monitor you, checking the definitions for you as you say them. They can put the cards into the appropriate pile and keep score for you.

As you work through practice tests, add terms, concepts, and their definitions or explanations to these cards as you come across them. You can also add terms from your reading and any other interesting sources. In this case, more is better.

If you get particularly adventurous or competitive, play against another person preparing for the GED test and compare scores.