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How to Practice for the GED

by Linda Emma, Demand Media

    The General Educational Development or GED exam offers an alternate degree to a high school diploma. Begun in 1942, the GED program has granted more than 17 million certificates since its inception. The five-part test covers reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. Preparation is key to passing the exam and earning your GED certificate.

    Know the Exam

    Familiarity with the format, content and time limits of the GED exam can reduce text anxiety and help test-takers succeed. The language arts writing section has two parts: a 75 minute, 50 multiple choice questions section and a 45 minute 250-word essay. Language arts reading is assessed through 40 multiple choice questions in 65 minutes. The social studies, science, and math sections each have 50 multiple choice questions and are allotted 70, 80 and 90 minutes, respectively.

    Take a Prep Class

    The GED exam is administered at more than 3400 testing locations across the country. Specific guidelines and requirements vary by location, but most states offer free prep courses. In Pennsylvania, for example, classes are offered in 22 locations through the Local Workforce Investment Areas. Indiana offers prep classes through its Indiana Adult Education programs and Arkansas offers free prep courses, but requires applicants to pass a practice test through an approved center before taking the actual GED test.

    Use Study Guides

    GED prep books offer solid instruction, advice and practice tests. To most effectively use the texts, students should create a consistent space and time to study. They should concentrate most on the areas with which they are the least familiar. For instance, a student who aced math exams throughout his formal schooling might scan the algebra section for a few troublesome problems, but then spend more time reexamining history and science.

    Practice Practice Practice

    Studying a little every day yields better long-term retention results than trying to learn a whole lot in a little time. Developing a study routine and then trying the practice tests are both important components for success. Students should also take at least one dress rehearsal, using a No. 2 pencil and a timer to duplicate what will occur in the actual exam room.

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    About the Author

    Linda Emma is an author and writer with more than 20 years experience in media and business. She works as an instructor and professional writing tutor at a private New England college. Emma also serves as copywriter and promotion consultant to private clients. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.

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    • Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

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