How to Prepare for the GED Essay Test

How to Prepare for the GED Essay Test
The essay portion of the General Education Development (GED) Language Arts test presents the biggest obstacle for many people. The test taker must write a 200 word essay in 45 minutes. While this can be intimidating, you can pass the essay test successfully if you prepare using the following tips.
It is really important that you don't rush through the instructions. Spend time to thoroughly read your essay question. Then, spend a few minutes to think about your answer. If you are unclear about what you want to say, create a story web to organize your thoughts. Don't start writing without a plan because you could find yourself rambling on. Remember, the goal is to demonstrate that you can present your ideas in an organized and clear manner.

Tip #2: Remember to Follow the Standard Essay Format

The standard essay typically consists of five paragraphs. The first paragraph is your introduction. Tell the reader what you are going to talk about (your thesis statement). A great way to do this is to reword the writing prompt. Next, list three key ideas which support your thesis. The next three paragraphs will be used to expand on your key ideas. Each body paragraph should talk about one key idea and the paragraphs should be written in the same order as you listed the key ideas in your introduction. Using examples to support your key ideas can improve your score. Your final paragraph is your conclusion. This consists of restating your thesis statement, followed by giving a one sentence summary of each of your key ideas.

Tip #3: Leave Time for a Grammar Check

No matter how well you write, you will make a few grammar mistakes along the way. Make sure you save time to edit your essay, correcting any spelling and punctuation errors. Also, make sure to use a variety of words when you write. Go back and read your essay from start to finish, making sure your key ideas in your introduction follow the same order throughout your essay.

Tip #4: Count Your Words

Remember that you are assigned to write a 200 word essay. Nobody really expects you to write exactly 200 words so a few more or a few less words are not going to affect your score. However, if your essay turns out to be significantly over or under 200 words, your scored could be affected.

Tip #5: Practice! Practice! Practice!

Prior to taking the actual test, take a practice test. Ask someone to give you a writing prompt and sit down and write a 200 word essay, only giving yourself 45 minutes, as if you were taking the actual test. Practice tests are also available at local libraries and online. A copy of the GED Official Essay Scoring Rubric is available from the American Council on Education.

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