Everything you need to prep for and earn your high school equivalency diploma
The GED can be a daunting exam, especially if you’ve been out of school for a long time. However, no matter what your background is or how well you performed in school years ago, there is one constant: practice improves your likelihood of passing. In this guide, we provide you with access to 5 full-length GED practice tests, all completely free, as well as some insightful tips and resources on how to pass on your first try.
Free GED Practice Tests
Below, find links to 5 free practice tests, each one providing a mock exam for each of the four sections of the exam. Remember, practice makes perfect, so take each one if you can.
GED Testing Considerations
The GED test is difficult for a number of reasons. For one, most exam takers usually haven’t attended class or studied in years. Reconditioning yourself to prepare for and take a test can be taxing. That is the first obstacle to crushing this exam.
The next hurdle is the variety of subject matter that the GED tests. The GED exam tests you in four different main areas. These include:
Reasoning Through Language Arts
This poses a challenge for some people. Sometimes individuals are strong in a certain subject, like Social Studies for example, and weak in another area, like Mathematics. Given that you need to pass all four sections of the exam (it is actually four separate tests), this poses an issue. You’ll be challenged across a broad array of subjects, meaning you’ll need to prepare widely, even for your weak spots.
So in addition to being out of school for a number of years and being tested with a wide variety of subjects, you’ll also have to endure a grueling, seven-hour ordeal.
The timing of the GED exam alone is enough to prevent some people from passing. This is particularly true if you suffer from ADD, ADHD, or have trouble focusing.
Altogether, these factors make the GED an extremely difficult test. It is not to be taken lightly, as some suggest.
To help you pass on the first try with confidence, we’ve outlined our top tips below.
GED Exam Tips
Below we provide some general GED test taking tips, as well as more specific advice on how to conquer each section of the exam.
Answer Every Question. As there is no penalty for answering a problem incorrectly on the GED exam, you need to ensure you answer every single problem. Never let a problem go unanswered. This means as the timer starts to wind down and you have a handful of questions left, make sure to enter answers – even if you’re just guessing. Obviously, guessing isn’t a great strategy, but between leaving problems blank and guessing on the last couple, make sure to enter something.
Study Guide. Use a study guide to prepare for the exam. You never want to fly blind when preparing for the GED. There are so many concepts being tested that if you try to study yourself, you’ll get lost. Plus, why reinvent the wheel? Thousands of people have studied for and passed the GED test before, many of them using a streamlined study guide. So find a study guide, whether from a friend or a test prep company, and use it.
Trust Your First Answer. A lot of GED test takers have a bad tendency of overthinking things and changing their answers at the last second. Many people will quickly come to an answer, feel good about it, mark it off, and move on. Then, they will start to second guess themselves. This is a trap! In 83% of cases, a last-second answer change results in a missed problem. Use what you know to come to an answer and stick with your gut.
Pace Yourself. Timing on the GED exam is critical. It is a long, brutal test that is broken down into multiple subsections. You need to know how much time is left at all times, and ensure you’re on track to finish your section. You should know about how long you have to answer each question in a section, and you need to stick to that pacing. If you feel yourself dawdling on a problem and killing time because you can’t find the right answer, then flag it and move on. Then come back to it later if you have spare time.
Mathematical Reasoning Tips
Use The Formula Sheet. One of the most advantageous aspects of the mathematics section of the GED exam is the fact that they give you a formula sheet. You do not need to memorize equations! Although knowing some of the more common and basic formulas can help you save time, don’t kill yourself trying to memorize every last math equation. It simply isn’t necessary. Become familiar with the formula sheet and know how to use it. This is just as good as memorization.
Stay Consistent. Don’t switch back and forth between fractions, decimals and percentages. Whatever format you’re working the problem in, stick with that format. In fact, use differing formats to eliminate clearly wrong answer choices.
Path of Least Resistance. Sometimes there is more than one way to solve a problem. This is how you often check your work, by working backwards. It’s just the way math works. That said, always use the easiest method to solve a problem. If you have an equation that will solve it, use it. The path of least resistance is key on math problems. It will increase your accuracy and help you solve questions more quickly.
Reasoning Through Language Arts Tips
Read The Full Passage. One surefire killer on this section of the exam is not fully reading the passage. A lot of times, test takers have a bad tendency to read two-thirds of the passage(s) and think “that’s good, I’ve got the gist of it.” Even if you’ll save time by cutting off your reading like this, don’t do it. You never know when a last sentence will completely change the point of view of the author or modify the prompt in some way.
Be Objective. In passages that present opposing points of view, don’t fall in line with one author based on your personal opinions. This is a trap. No matter what you believe or think you know, base your response solely on what is said in the passages. Don’t let personal bias and opinion filter into your answer. You need to stay objective and above the fray when taking the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts test.
Use Direct Text Examples. One way to nail the Extended Response is to directly cite to text in the passage. The test makers expect you to base responses based on actual evidence, which is the material in the passage. So give them what they want! Evidence-based writing is very persuasive and powerful. Support your statements by saying things like “the passage said X” or “the text claims that Y.” You get it. Use direct quotes to support your Extended Response.
Prep With Charts. Many problems on the Science section involve charts, diagrams and other visuals. It’s critical that you learn how to read and interpret graphs. Practice with study materials. Make sure you always fully absorb what the criteria are being graphed out and reason through the various components.
Physical Science. Over 40% of the problems on the Science section relate to physical science. So if you’re going to dedicate time to one area, make it physical sciences.
Answer In Your Head. Before looking down the list of multiple-choice answers, answer the question in your head. Do you know the answer without looking? Great! There is a great chance that one of the multiple choice answers will match what you’re thinking. Go with it, and don’t second guess yourself.
Pace Yourself. Pacing yourself on the Science section is critical, as the test isn’t subdivided into sections like with the other GED tests. Everything is lumped together, so time management is crucial. Watch the clock and make sure you’re staying on pace.
Social Studies Tips
Cause & Effect. When it comes to world history questions, don’t get caught up trying to memorize dates, names and places. You’ll just be spinning your wheels. The makers of the exam are more interested in testing your knowledge about how historical events have affected world history. How did some events in world history shift the way we live today? What were the overarching themes and happenings? They don’t necessarily need to know the year the Magna Carta was signed.
Focus On Viewpoint. Sometimes in the Social Studies section you will be presented with a newspaper op-ed, blog post, or argument. The author will be trying to make some kind of point. Pay attention to their viewpoint and the goal they are trying to achieve. By fully understanding their viewpoint and persuasive stance, you will be able to better answer questions based on the passage. Knowing what the author stands for will quickly rule out some clearly wrong answers.
The GED exam is a tough test, both to prepare for and actually pass. It takes dedication and hard work. Use your time wisely, apply yourself, and you should have no problem passing this exam. It is a matter of practice and will power, not natural intelligence.
That is the thing to remember about the GED exam – this is a test for grinders. It’s those who put in the time, study, and dedicate themselves to it that pass.
Can you go to college with a GED?
Yes, many universities today, especially online universities, accept the GED in lieu of a high school diploma. However, you may need to show academic excellence through an SAT or ACT score.
How long does it take to get a GED?
How long it will take you to get your GED totally depends on the individual. This question turns on factors such as previous education, how much you plan to study, and your test taking abilities. You may be able to get it done in just a few short months though.
High school diploma vs GED, which is better?
High school diplomas obviously carry more weight than a GED, but the value of a GED can’t be discounted. It has some value to employers. All else being equal though, between the two, choose the path of the diploma.