How to Prepare for GED Test at Home? A Step-by-Step Guide

Human life is full of ups and downs. As you continue to grow up, you will realize that some plans don’t work out and things are not always in your control. However, this does not mean that there are no alternate routes for you. 

For instance, if you fail to take your high school exams for some reason, you may look at it as a huge setback. However, there is a solution. A large number of students who cannot complete the traditional high school program opt for tests such as GED to receive the equivalent qualifying certificate. 

The GED or General Educational Development is an exam conducted by the American Council on Education, which started all the way back in 1942. It is a high school equivalency certification that improves your educational and career prospects. So, whether you are looking to study further, improve your job opportunities, or achieve a personal goal – this exam is for you. 

The best part about GED is that it is not some complicated exam that will require extensive tutoring – it is something you can prepare for from within the comfort of your home. Once you pass your GED, you will be set for college – even if you are 16!

In this guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of preparing for GED without needing to be in a conventional classroom setting. So, keep reading to know more. 

Step-by-step guide to prepare for GED

If you want to take GED but do not want to opt for expensive tutoring sessions, do not worry. We are here to help. Here’s how you can prepare for GED at home. 

Please Note: You should start your preparation at least 3 months before the exam, although a lot of students start a month before. It is important to give yourself the time to learn at a normal pace, revise, and practice continuously. 

Step 1: Understand the Test

Before you dive head first into the preparation, make sure to have a clear understanding of what the GED test entails. It consists of four subjects:

  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts

The purpose of dividing this test into subsets is to assess whether students have comprehensive knowledge and skills to handle different subjects taught at the high school level. Before you start preparing for GED, make sure to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test as well as other important details that will serve as a roadmap in your prep journey.

The test is a computer-based one with options such as MCQs, fill-in-the-blanks, drag-and-drop clicks, and so on. Besides, it usually takes 7 hours and 45 minutes to complete this test. You have to take the test at an assigned center either in one go or across multiple visits. In addition, please note that each paper carries 200 marks. 

Once you have gathered all the information about the number of questions, scoring criteria, time limit, and mode of examination, it is time to move on to the next step. 

Step 2: Know the Syllabus

Before you can move on to anything, it is crucial that you have a comprehensive idea of the syllabus. You need to know what to prepare before you can start preparing. Let us break down the syllabus for you. 

  1. Reasoning through Language Arts

The Reasoning through Language Arts portion consists of MCQs that take around 150 minutes to complete. The topics covered are grammar and language, reading for meaning, and writing. 

The goal is to analyze your comprehension and writing skills, so expect a lot of passages for reading, based on which you will be given MCQs. You also have a section that requires you to give an extended response which usually takes around 45 minutes to complete. 

  1. Mathematics

The mathematical portion of GED is easier in comparison to some other high school equivalency exams such as HiSET. It consists of basic math, geometry, algebra, and graphs. The subset is divided into two parts and the questions range from MCQs, drag and drop, and fill-in-the-blanks to select an area. You get 115 minutes to handle this portion. 

  1. Social Studies

The social studies portion comprises analysis of historical events, reading for meaning, and the use of numerical and graphs for interpreting data pertaining to social studies. The subjects covered are geography, history, civics, and economics. The duration of this paper is 70 minutes. 

  1. Science 

The science section of the test covers biology, physics, astronomy, and space. You will be tested on your ability to comprehend scientific concepts, understand and prepare scientific experiments, solve scientific numerics and graphs, and so on. You get 90 minutes to handle this section of the paper. 

Reasoning through Language ArtsWriting, reading comprehension, editing150 minutes
Social StudiesUS history, civics, economics, and geography70 minutes
Science Physics, biology, space, and astronomy 90 minutes 
Mathematics Basic math and algebra, quantitative analysis, graphs, etc. 115 minutes

Step 3: Set Proper Goals

Now that you know the four parts the test is divided into, it is time to set proper goals for effective GED preparation. 

The first step would be to write down the syllabus and the score allotted to each section (200 marks). Then, determine your target score for each subset and the overall score you intend to achieve. You may choose to prioritize certain subjects you are better at to pull up your overall score. However, do not make the mistake of neglecting the others as you need a minimum of 145 out of 200 to pass the test. 

Setting proper goals will allow you to give yourself a timeline within which you must be done with the preparation. Besides, it will keep you motivated and you will be determined to study and practice every day. 

Step 4: Hunt for Study Materials

Preparing for GED at home is easy if you have access to the right study materials. Luckily, there are several resources available online, both paid and unpaid to help in your preparation. 

As a beginner, you can buy a comprehensive study guide that has practice questions, test-taking strategies, and excellent tips. Then, move on to numerous online websites that have study guides and practice tests. These online resources will be a fantastic supplement to your study material. 

In fact, there are several preparation courses held online that you can enroll in. These prep courses provide expert guidance, well-planned lessons, and mock tests. 

Step 5: Make a Study Plan

Once you have set goals and gathered study materials, it is time to create a study plan. You may want to bring out your colored pens and sticky notes for this one as color coding helps you stay organized and improves comprehension. You may also make use of smart goal worksheets.

Allocate 5 to 8 hours per day to studying and set study goals for each week. Allocate time slots for each subset and focus on studying and solving question papers. However, remember to give yourself a break once or twice a week to make room for rest and rejuvenation. 

Make sure to set realistic standards for yourself to avoid burnout and stay motivated. The key to passing the GED exam is to study consistently instead of trying to cram excess information in one go. So, consistent and focused studying sessions are the way to go. While studying, make sure to stick to effective test-taking strategies.

Step 6: Subject-wise Preparation

It is much easier to prepare for GED at home if you have a subject-by-subject preparation plan. Here’s an example you can follow: 

  1. Mathematics
  • Brush up basic math and algebraic concepts
  • Memorize math formulas and go over equations
  • Solve complex math problems from the study guides or practice papers
  1. Science
  • Study basic concepts relating to life science (biology), earth science (space and astronomy), and physical science (physics). 
  • Focus on data interpretation and scientific reasoning
  1. Social Studies
  • Read about historical events
  • Know about government and civics, particularly relating to USA
  • Read about world geography and economics
  1. Reasoning Through Language Arts
  • Practice reading comprehension by reading passages
  • Work on grammar and punctuation
  • Review different essay types and practice writing extended prompts

The best way to approach the different subjects is to go through the study guides, refer to online sources, and the mock test questions. This gives you an idea of what to prepare. 

Step 7: Practice

As the old saying goes, “Practice makes a man perfect”. Therefore, to pass the GED exam with flying colors, it is important to keep practicing. 

Attempt mock tests regularly and time yourselves. Check your own papers and identify errors. Based on your performance in these mock tests, you will be able to determine areas that you are lagging behind in and focus on them. 

Regular practice helps you identify problem areas and also teaches you time management. So, it is akin to hitting two birds with one stone. 

Step 8: Reach out for Support

It is common to feel dejected and encounter roadblocks while preparing for an exam as comprehensive as a GED. However, remember you are not alone. There are several study groups or online forums where you will find students who are in a similar predicament as you. Consider joining such forums where you will be able to discuss topics and receive guidance from peers. 

You also have the option of reaching out to your teachers and GED tutors for more assistance. 

Step 9: Sit for Mock Tests

Mock tests are an effective strategy as they simulate the test conditions and allow you to become familiar with the environment. You can even sit for a mock test at home by removing all disturbances, timing yourself, and solving the questions. 

This helps minimize any anxiousness you may have regarding the test and boosts your confidence. 

Step 10: Revise

It is important to keep revising all that you study so that you do not forget any vital information. Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the test, review areas that you consider your weakest or where you tend to struggle the most during practice tests. 

How to prepare for test day?

We understand there may be a lot of nervousness and stress on the test day. However, it is important to keep your calm, sleep well the night before, and show up to the test center on time.

Carry your calculator, admit card, and all the other important things. While solving the questions, stay mindful of the time and do not waste unnecessary time trying to solve questions whose answers you do not know. It is essential that you stay calm, focused, and confident. 

How long do the results take?

The time it takes for the GED test results to be declared varies depending on the state and the center where you took the test. Usually, students get their results within a few hours but sometimes, it may take up to a few weeks. 

The official score report for the test will either be sent to you via email or you can access it through the online portal. You will get individual scores for each subset, with 145 being the pass mark. However, if you score between 175 to 200, you get a college-ready certificate as well as a credit score. 

If you have to retake the exams, you may do so but if you fail to crack the exam the third time, you will have to wait for a period of 60 days before attempting again. Please check the latest pricing and retake policy as per your state. 


We understand that preparing for the GED test at home is challenging. It is easy to procrastinate, lose sight of your goals, and be distracted by other things. However, remember that it is an important opportunity for you to prove yourself. It is crucial to remain committed, have a structured study plan, and gain access to proper resources. In addition, you should be aware of your academic and career goals. 

Even though the task at hand seems daunting, it is not impossible. If you get stuck somewhere during your preparation, turn to online resources or your mentors for help. 

During tough times, remind yourself that passing the GED will be a rewarding experience and will set you up for success in the future. So, stay focused, resilient and work hard. We are sure you will pass with flying colors.

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