6 Study Tips for the GED® Test

Have you ever said, “I’m just not good at studying!” or “I hate studying?” Well, you’re not alone. I don’t think anyone really loves to study, and that’s okay! You don’t have to love studying to be good at it. No one is born knowing how to study. Just like cooking, playing sports, or drawing, studying is a skill and you can learn to be good at it and in a way that is personally helpful for you. 

As many of you prep for your GED®, HiSET®, or TASC tests, you have a purpose or "end goal" – that will pay off! So to help you you learn to study effectively and boost your score, here are six study tips to add to your study regimen. 

1. Change Your Mindset

Learning doesn’t happen to you, it happens IN you.

Learning happens in your brain. When you learn something new, you actually change your brain, you make new connections, and you get new information. Just like your body needs exercise, your brain needs to be used. You have to practice to keep it strong. The more active your brain is every day, the better you'll be at thinking and learning.

Effective learning is:

  • Active
    • Writing down what a teacher puts up on a board in front of you isn’t really studying or learning. Learning should be an active process. You have to get the gears of your brain turning in order for your learning to be useful.
  • Meaningful
    • Learning is most effective when it is applied to your everyday life. In other words, you're going to be more active in your learning when it affects something you do or have interest in.
  • Interesting
    • Being interested in what you are learning is important because it jump-starts your brain. I'm sure you are thinking, "There are a lot of subjects I have t learn or be tested on that I have absolutely no interest in." We've all been there. We all have certain things we enjoy and certain things we really don't care about, but that doesn't mean we can't learn and be surprised when it’s something we can actually use.

How can you spark interest in a subject when your interest is just not there?

2. Develop Curiosity

Don’t just take everything you read or hear at face value. Ask questions and dig deeper! Look for the little things that spark your interest and find out more about those things. Chances are, even if the thing you’re learning about isn’t all that interesting to you, there will be some details about it that are really neat! This is a great way to make sure you’re getting true information too.

Have you ever found out something a friend told you wasn’t really true? Or maybe it was half-true? When you read something or hear something, don’t just accept that it’s true. Confirm it! If we accept everything we read or hear as fact without questioning it, we’re going to believe a lot of lies. It’s important to double check things that seem suspicious. Even if they are true, there’s probably more to the truth than what you first learned–you might even find out something new and exciting along the way!

3. Make Connections

Sometimes it gets frustrating because your studies don’t seem relevant to you or your life. It can feel like a waste of time if it’s something you don’t think you’ll ever use. In order for learning to be effective, it has to mean something to you. So find a way to make connections between what you're studying and things that matter to you. 

Lots of things you learn won’t directly apply to your life, but they might apply indirectly. For example, you might not ever use an algebra equation in your day-to-day life, but you might need to know some algebra concepts so you can calculate the cost of a car part you need, or how much fabric to buy, or how to double, triple, or even quadruple a recipe. So next time you feel like whatever you’re studying doesn’t actually relate to you, think about the practical uses.

4. Make it Personal

We're all different and each of us has a different method of study that works best for us. While we don’t always have control over how information is presented, we can control how we study it.  

  • Work at Your Own Pace
    • You learn best when you control the speed of your learning. This is a big obstacle in classroom learning. When studying on your own, you’re in control. You control what you need to know and when you need to know it. Control the speed of your learning by:
      • Start with something that's easy. It will help create momentum if you can complete small goals, so starting with your best subject will help you make progress faster and create positive learning habits before you get to the more difficult subjects.
      • Not moving forward until you've learned what you're studying. Studying multiple things at once is tough. Multitasking–even when it’s all academic–is still splitting your attention across different focuses. Pick something to work on and stick with it until you’re done.
      • Spend time on your own needs. When you’re in a classroom full of other students, you have to work at the same speed as the rest of the classroom. The teacher has to take all the students’ needs into account, so the pace of the classroom might be too fast or too slow for you. When you study on your own, you can decide when to move on or when to keep working on a particular lesson.
      • Review when you need. When you study by yourself, you can decide whether or not you need to go back to review material. Even if you’re making great progress, doing a bit of review can help remind you what you've already learned.
  • Your Studies. Your Style.
    • How do you learn best? Do you need to see what you're learning? Do you need to hear it out loud? Do you like learning by doing?
      • If you learn best by watching, you're a visual learner. Try thinking about or drawing pictures as you read. Taking notes might also help, but don’t worry about taking exact notes. Use a shorthand that works for you, whether it’s keywords that will help you remember, or drawing diagrams or charts. Using video learning might be helpful too, so look up the subject on Youtube or find a video learning program like ours.
      • If you learn best by listening, you are an auditory learner. Try reading out loud or use an audio recorder to record yourself and play it back. You probably have something on your phone that will help you do this. Videos and podcasts may also be helpful for auditory learners.
      • If you need to use your hands, you're a kinesthetic learner. Kinesthetic learners sometimes like learning by doing–it make be learning about how a car motor works by taking it apart and putting it back together, or using 3D models to understand dimensions. Try utilizing online study materials that make you physically move material around on a screen or create note cards that you match or flip to reveal answers and test yourself.
  • Track Your Progress
    • Feedback is a big part of the learning process that's often overlooked. Regardless of how you study, we all need to know how it’s going!
    • Getting immediate feedback on how well you're doing in your studies and checking for understanding is essential to learning and learning quickly. The more immediate and meaningful the feedback, the faster we learn. 
    • A good study program should include ways for you to connect with your efforts and evaluate your results. If you’re using our online study program, you can use your HomeRoom Study Time widget and Progress widget bars to gauge how you’re doing and how much studying you have left to go. 
    • Not all study programs allow for immediate feedback, so it’s important to know other ways to measure your progress in a given subject. For instance, you can:
      • Talk about what you’ve learned with friends or family.
      • Try to teach someone else.
      • Use what you’ve learned–try to find that “real-life” opportunity.

5. Boost Your Memory

A big part of studying is remembering what you’ve learned, so here are some tricks and tips when it comes to making memory count.

  • Over-learn: Always over learn material. Learn it forward and backwards. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve got it right away. Practice and review to build confidence and long term memory.
  • Use your time wisely: Slow down! If you attempt to learn something too quickly, it only goes into short-term memory. You want what you learn to really stick, so take your time.
  • Take breaks: Pause between lessons to give your brain time to absorb what you’ve learned. Review and test yourself on how you’ve learned material over time before moving on.
  • Chunk it: Putting material into bite-size, relatable chunks can be a big help. Divide your learning into sections or topics in your head and in your notes. This can help you better organize information. It’s like creating files in your head.
  • Sleep: Sleep has been shown to greatly improve memory. Studying right before you go to sleep–and getting enough sleep–will help you recall what you’ve learned the next day.

6. Create a Study Space

Where you study is just as important as how you study. Your study space is personal and it should be comfortable for you. 

  • Designate a specific place to do your studying. Even if it’s just a different chair in the living room than the one you usually sit in, this will help create a pattern for your brain. As weird as it sounds, creating habits like this will awaken the part of your brain that works when you’re studying. Every time you sit in that chair, your brain will know it’s time to study.
  • Pick somewhere that works best for you. Pick somewhere that’s quiet and free of distractions. You can even tell your family not to bother you when you’re in your “study spot” so they know if you’re sitting there, they should leave you alone until you’re done. 

Bottom line? Anyone can learn, including you!

Be sure to check out this article's coaching session recap that is all about how to study well. If you sign up for the Study Up coaching session we’ll send you the recap materials which include a recording of the session, the slideshow presentation, and the top 5 takeaways students should know about this topic!

Author

Rosiee Thormahlen, Student Advisor

Tags

Free Coaching | Motivation | Overcoming Obstacles | Prepare for the GED