Passing the series of tests required for the General Educational Development certificate is as much about knowing how to test properly as it is knowing the concrete information. There are five separate GED tests: Writing, Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science. While the tests cover a wide spectrum of information, some simple preparations can make the task less daunting.

Test Format

Currently, most GED testing sites use paper-based tests. You are issued a test booklet and a bubble-sheet. In January of 2014, most GED testing services will be switching to a computerized system. If you are not comfortable typing, that could hinder your speed, especially on the expanded-response sections that will be replacing the writing test. If it is not noted on your registration, contact the testing site and ask them if they are using paper-based tests or if they are using the computerized version and practice accordingly.


As you are sifting through the tons of information bound for your cerebral cortex, remember that getting an answer correct on the GED test is just as much about being able to retrieve the information as it is about putting it in your brain in the first place. There are numerous tricks, called mnemonics, to assist in recall. For example, many students remember the colors of the spectrum using a name mnemonic: Roy G. Biv. Each letter in the name represents a color in the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

Finding the Answer

In many of the GED tests, the answer is right in front of you, even if it's not obvious. Often, you will be given a passage or chart to read and asked to answer questions based on the given information. There is no prior knowledge expected or required, you just have to know how to mine the data for the answer. An effective study skill is to have a partner ask you specific, objective questions about a newspaper article you have both read.

Content Mastery

It's also important to have a firm grasp of the concepts being tested. While the math test includes formulas for reference, it's up to you to understand how to use those formulas. On the writing test, you won't be given any sort of cheat-sheet, but will be expected to have an understanding of grammatical rules. The multiple-choice section of the writing test will assess your knowledge of these rules and not just your ability to instinctively use them correctly. Practice tests are available in both print and computer form and can aid in identifying your weaknesses.

2014 Changes

According to GED Testing Service, there will be some significant changes to the GED tests in January of 2014. Not only will they be computerized, but there will no longer be an essay. It will be replaced with several extended-response questions. The math test will still include a formula sheet, but it will be pared down, no longer including formulas for area and perimeter of common shapes. More questions will rely less on multiple choice and require testers to give the actual answer.