How To Get Ready for the GED Test
GED Prep Options
There are three main methods of preparing for the GED test, including taking classes, studying online or studying at home. Many students combine all of these methods, while some only choose one or two based on convenience and the amount of preparation needed. While some students require more preparation than others, it is generally recommended that GED candidates take up to several months to adequately prepare for the test.
GED classes offer the benefit of in-person instruction, which allows test takers to ask questions and take advantage of one-on-one learning environments. Most classes are offered through testing centers at postsecondary institutions. The GED Testing Service has compiled a list of the main preparation contacts for each state on its website, who can then direct test takers to classes in the area. This list can be found under the preparation section of the GED Testing Service website.
Test takers can study online through the GED Testing Service itself or through its partners, Steck-Vaughn and Kentucky Educational Television (KET). The GED Testing Service offers sample questions for every section of the test, in addition to information on formulas, calculators and alternative format questions. This information is also accompanied by videos. In addition to television programs and workbooks, KET offers online preparation supplements, including exercises, sample questions, and unofficial (but accurate) practice tests.
Study at Home
Steck-Vaughn offers many printed materials for home study, including workbooks, sample questions and full-length practice tests. Some of these materials may be costly for some test takers; workbooks cost between $30 and $50, while a full-length practice test costs nearly $190. However, the company also offers a comprehensive guide to the GED for $20, which is an option for more prepared GED candidates.
KET publishes 39 video preparation episodes that are aired on PBS. KET encourages candidates to record the shows for later study, but the videos are also usually available at libraries and community colleges. The video episodes are supplemented by five online programs and three printed workbooks.
Take a Practice Test
As mentioned above, a printed practice test and answer key can be purchased from Steck-Vaughn for just under $200. However, Steck-Vaughn also offers practice tests for free on its website, GEDPractice.com. The practice tests are available in English and Spanish, and test takers can choose which section they would like to practice. Some states require practice tests to be taken, so individuals should consult with their state to see about the testing requirements.
Day of the Test
There are many, often conflicting strategies for effectively taking a test. The following are strategies on which most test preparation services, educators and students agree:
- Get a good night's sleep, but don't oversleep; aim for eight hours.
- Eat a good breakfast and have a piece of fruit before the test to keep your energy up while avoiding processed sugars, which can cause a crash.
- Listen carefully to rules and restrictions provided by test administrators in order to avoid disqualification.
- Bring your own regulation pencils if allowed, which can save valuable time if one breaks.
- Use the process of elimination to narrow down multiple-choice questions if you don't know the answer.
- Don't spend too much time on any one question.