The GED, or General Education Development test, is an equivalency exam given to those who do not have a high school diploma. This test is not only for those who did not complete high school, but also for immigrants who would like to attend college but do not speak English as a first language. The GED is broken into two sections; a multiple choice portion, and a 200 word essay. The choice of the topic of the essay will be one of five assigned to the test taker during the test. However, before one takes the test, a few simple exercises are recommended so that the essay will not pose a serious challenge.
The GED essay tends to focus on questions that require the writer to pair personal experience with a more abstract question, such as, “If you had a million dollars and could not spend it on yourself, your family, friends, or loved ones, what would you spend it on?” or “What single problem in the world is the most important to solve?” These questions, and the general essay itself, are not intended to draw upon years of careful research, but rather on one's spontaneous essay composition skill.
To prepare for the essay, start by finding a series of general questions that ask you to draw more on your opinion and less on a specific research topic. During the test, you will have 45 minutes to compose the essay, so try to set aside an appropriate amount of time during your day to practice. Practicing in short bursts will not help you as much as being able to practice for the full time in one uninterrupted session. Begin by crafting a thesis statement, or answer, to the essay question you have chosen. A poorly crafted thesis statement will cripple the rest of your essay. Remember, you are being judged on how well you can organize and state your case. If your thesis statement is too broad or does not allow you to satisfactorily answer it in the 200 word limit, you will lose points.
Once you have written your thesis statement, jot down three to four short bullet points that describe the supporting paragraphs you intend to write to back up your thesis. Now write one more bullet point stating your conclusion. You should take no more than 10 minutes to compose your statement and supportive points. The most important aspect of this process is to make sure that your thesis statement and supporting points make sense! The better organized and logical your argument, the better grade you will receive.
Now that you've prepped sufficiently, it's time to actually compose the essay. Since you know what points you need to address, writing should be relatively easy. Don't try to incorporate a lot of overly complex words, unless they fit neatly within your sentences. A well-written essay conveys information without being difficult to read. The reader shouldn't have to stumble over awkwardly used words and sentence constructions in an attempt to understand what you're saying. Focus on getting your point across with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Try to write your essay in twenty to twenty-five minutes. Once you've written it, take the remaining time to check for any spelling errors or nonsensical passages. If your essay answers the question by supporting your thesis with no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, you have completed the essay correctly.