How to Use the Keyboard for the GED

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

You need to have at least some familiarity with a computer’s keyboard to take the GED. If you constantly make typing errors or aren’t familiar with the keyboard, you may be in trouble. The good news is that you don’t have to be a keyboarding whiz. The behind-the-scenes GED people have shown through their research that even people with minimal keyboarding skills still have adequate time to complete the test.

On the GED test, you’ll use the keyboard to type your answers in the essay (Extended Response) segments in the Reasoning Through Language Arts and the Social Studies sections and in the short-answer segment of the Science section.

Although you may be familiar with typing by using one or two fingers on your smartphone or tablet, with the screen often predicting and suggesting words that you need with correctly spelled words, the word processor on the GED test for the Extended Response and short-answer sections has a bare minimum of features.

It accepts keyboard entries, cuts, pastes, and copies, but no more. It doesn’t have a grammar-checker or a spell-checker, so be careful with your keyboarding because spelling and grammatical errors are just that—errors.

If you’re not familiar with the standard English computer keyboard, take time to acquaint yourself with it before you take the GED test. If you’re used to other language keyboards, the English keyboard uses some letters and punctuation in different places. Before test day, practice using the English keyboard so that the differences in the keyboard don’t throw you off the day of the test.


To complete the test in the required time, you should have

  • (A)comfortable running shoes

  • (B)minimal keyboarding skills

  • (C)really strong thumbs

  • (D)lots of coffee at your desk

Choice (B) is the correct answer.

In preliminary testing, the GED test-makers and bigwigs found that test-takers with minimal keyboarding skills were able to complete the test in the time allotted. That doesn’t mean that working on your keyboarding skills is a waste of time. The better these skills are, the faster you can type in answers, and the more time you’ll have for the difficult questions.

You may want to wear comfortable running shoes, as Choice (A) suggests, but that in itself won’t help you finish the test. Choice (C) would be useful if you submitted your answers by texting, but on the GED computerized test, you have to use a traditional keyboard. Choice (D) may present you with new problems. In most cases, the test centers don’t let you take liquids into the test room.

You don’t need to become a perfect typist, but you should at least be comfortable pecking away with a couple of fingers. If you want to improve your typing skills, search online in your favorite search engine with the keywords “free typing tutor.” Any number of free programs can teach you basic typing skills. (Just know that some software may be free to try but then loaded with ads.)

When looking at the keyboard, you have to remember that

  • (A)All keyboards are the same.

  • (B)Keyboards from different countries have some letters in different locations.

  • (C)You should always use the space bar with your little finger.

  • (D)Touch typists don’t have to worry about where the keys are located.

Choice (B) is correct.

Computer keyboards from different countries have letters and punctuation in different locations and would present problems to touch typists who memorize the location of each letter so they don’t have to look at the keyboard. Choices (A), (C), and (D) are wrong.