GED Study Guide (Here's Everything You Need to Know)

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: December 18, 2021

Are you interested in taking the GED exam but have no idea how to start building a useful study guide? Well, you’re not alone.

Part of the problem when studying for the GED test is understanding where you should start and what skills you should focus on. That’s why we are here to help.

We spent hours researching and testing a variety of different studying methods to come up with the best way to make a GED study guide.

We will give you all the resources you need to get started on your GED education journey.

What is the GED Test?

A person answering an examination

The General Educational Development (GED) tests are four subject tests in math, science, reasoning through language arts, and social studies.

The GED test is administered by the GED Testing Service, LLC.

It is a high school equivalency certificate that, when passed, indicates a student has the equivalent of a United States high school diploma.

One quick thing to note is that you don’t have to take all of the GED subject exams at once.

You can break them up into four different tests. This choice will largely depend on how much time you have to dedicate to test prep and your schedule.

3 Things to Consider Before You Take the GED

1. Check Your Schedule

Before you prepare, you need to check your schedule for the next month or so and make sure you have enough time to set aside for studying. Students should review GED resources for at least a few hours every day.

You might even want to enroll in a GED prep course if you can afford the cost.

2. Set a GED Test Date

The next step is to pick a test date that you know you will be able to make on time. The full GED test takes about 7.5 hours to complete.

If you plan to take all of the tests at once, then prepare to spend the whole day at a testing center.

3. Gauge Your Performance

Even if you have no experience in studying for the GED, you should take a GED practice test to gauge your performance.

We recommend completing a GED practice test under timed conditions. This will give you an indication of what your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Some people might excel at social studies but do poorly on the language arts (RLA) part. Once you have a baseline score, you can set a target passing score and begin your prep.

You might want to spend more time preparing for one part versus another.

4 Topics to Cover on GED Study Guides

1. Science

A chemical in a test tube

The GED Science section consists of basic concepts in life science, chemistry, and interpretation of scientific data.

The science section is not a memorization test, so you will not have to remember the periodic table or scientific formulas.

It was designed to test your ability to answer questions using provided findings, charts, and graphs.

Many students who typically struggle with science might find this part of the exam easier than they expected.

You should have a thorough understanding of the science question types to do well in this section.

2. Social Studies

A group of students studying together

Many students find the social studies section to be one of the easier exams on the GED.

This test consists of Civics and Government (50%), United States history (20%), Economics (15%), and Geography and the World (15%).

For the Civics and Government section, you will be expected to know how our government is structured and the common themes throughout.

In the United States History section, you will not be expected to memorize specific dates, but you should be familiar with time periods.

You should refresh your memory on the Louisiana Purchase, the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, and NATO.

You should prepare for the GED economics questions by answering plenty of sample questions pertaining to graphs and analyzing information.

3. Language Arts

An open book

This section on the GED exam is also known as the reasoning through language arts subject test. It is meant to test high school level skills in reading and reasoning.

You will have 2.5 hours to answer 46 questions on this subject.

It will test your ability to answer questions about short passages about many different subjects.

This part will also test your ability to use English grammar correctly by correcting sentences for punctuation, structure, and capitalization.

Also, it will be expected from you to select the correct answers based on word choice, use, and informal language.

You will also be expected to complete an extended response essay. Keep in mind that you’ll have 45 minutes to read a text, make an argument, and provide supporting explanations from the text.

Recommended Article: How to Write an Essay for GED Test

4. Math

A pen on top of a mathematical computation

The GED math questions are considered to be one of the hardest tests on the whole exam.

Many students have a hard time with algebra and geometry courses in high school.

The good news is that you will not have to memorize any math formulas or possess any super skills to pass the math for high school equivalency.

The GED arithmetic questions consist mainly of algebra, geometry, and arithmetic.

You will only need a calculator for support in section two. Your mathematical reasoning skills will be put to the test on basic numerical expressions, which is standard equations and arithmetic.

The algebra section will focus on determining the value of a variable. You should also be able to write an equation with a variable based on a word problem.

The geometry subjects will test your mathematical reasoning ability using shapes and objects. You should know how to use formulas to find the radius, diameter, and circumference of shapes.

You need to understand graphs and functions and the ways we interpret data. For example, you will be tested on mean, median, and mode.

Tips For Your GED Test Study Guide

A study table full of reading materials

Practice GED Questions

The most important factor in creating your study guides is to include as many practice questions as possible. You can find many free GED practice questions online that will help you prepare for the GED [1].

Free GED exam practice questions allow you to try answering the questions and then check your work after using the provided explanation.

Since there are so many free reading and social studies questions, we recommend answering a few from each exam everyday. This will help you manage your time and get the GED education you need to succeed.

GED Practice Tests

Another essential GED diploma study option is free GED sample tests. You should take a practice test in every subject before you sit for the actual GED test. Consider taking GED practice tests at the beginning, middle, and end of your preparation.

Make sure every practice test you take is timed and you score it according to the official GED key. When you take practice tests, you might even want to have a friend to time you.

GED practice tests are a great way for you to gauge your performance during your study period. If you notice your reading score is not as good as it should be on practice tests, then you can shift your time to focus more on that subject.

Is GED Study Guide Helpful?

After hours of research, we have compiled all the best materials for you to get started on your GED education journey. This will help you ace the test and get your GED diploma.

Taking the GED test credential can open many doors for students including college and job prospects.

We recommend studying for at least 2 to 4 weeks before taking the test to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the questions and concepts being tested.

To help you further with your GED prep, we've compiled a review of the best GED prep books we highly recommend. Be sure to check it out!


  1. https://ged.com/study/free_online_ged_test/

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