GED Study Methods By Test Section

The GED was designed to let you demonstrate that you know enough to earn a high school equivalency diploma, so it is no big surprise that it's an incredibly diverse exam! Each of the four sections requires different studying techniques. This article discusses many of these strategies.

GED Structure

The GED test takes approximately seven and one-half hours to complete and consists of four sections:

  • Reasoning Through Language Arts: three sections of content, one is the Extended Response portion; 150 minutes allotted
  • Mathematical Reasoning: one section with two parts, one allows calculator; 115 minutes
  • Social Studies: one section; 70 minutes
  • Science: one section; 90 minutes

GED Eligibility and Passing Scores

Requirements vary from state to state, but typically the minimum is 145 on each section and a 580 combined test score. Check your state's education website for more information. Using the above techniques and giving oneself time to study and prepare will help one reach the goal of obtaining a GED. Studies have shown that the unemployment rate is lower for those who have their GED.

Generally, if you are at least sixteen years old, are not attending or enrolled in high school and did not earn a high school diploma, you qualify to take the GED test. Eligibility requirements may differ state by state, so make sure to check your state for eligibility requirements.

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GED Study Tips

The GED is a lengthy test that requires one to apply a number of different skills in order to succeed. Each of the test's four sections requires various approaches, so it's only natural that one's studying techniques would reflect that. The Social Studies and Science sections use study techniques such as practice tests, study guides, and review, while the other portions of the test require different strategies and approaches. Below is a breakdown of appropriate methods for preparing for these sections.

The SQ3R Method

One of the most effective methods for preparing for the Language Arts portion of the GED is called the SQ3R Method: Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review.

  • Survey - Scan through the entire chapter. Take special notes of outlines and other figures.
  • Question - Turn headings and subheadings into questions that must be answered when you read.
  • Read - After reading the section, go back and underline the answer to the question you formulated in the second step. If you could not find the answer, try again.
  • Recite - Summarize the main idea in just one sentence. Sometimes it helps to recite it out loud.
  • Review - Once finished, review all headings. Consider re-reading the first and last sentence of each paragraph.

Extended Response

A number of resources recommend preparing for the extended response portion of the exam by reading and outlining magazine and newspaper articles. Read the entire article, determine the main idea and look for all supporting ideas. Some study groups recommend underlining the transitional words to see how these ideas fit together. Hint: The last sentence in the article often summarizes the main point.

After reading through the article, write your own essay. Begin with a draft outlining your main idea and at least three supporting ideas connected to it. Then, begin writing the introductory paragraph, linking supporting ideas with transitional phrases and summarize in the final paragraph.

GED Math Tips

Because the Math section tests you on a number of different types of problems and functions, it helps to establish one method for tackling all of them.

The 5 Rs

  • Recopy - Recopy examples done in class or in your study text.
  • Rework - Rework model problems until they become easy for you.
  • Recite - Recite each step of the process out loud to be certain you understand the process.
  • Recheck - Recheck your work. Sometimes simple errors go unnoticed the first time around.
  • Reasonableness - Ensure that your logic reflects sound reason. Ask yourself whether or not the answer you came to truly makes sense.

Need help preparing for the GED? Check out's GED Test Prep study guides, complete with bite-size video lessons, practice tests, informational resources, and more to make sure you ace the exam!

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