Read an Excerpt
By Cynthia Johnson Diane Milne
McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAbout the Book
Congratulations on taking the first steps toward earning your GED credentials! Over the years, millions of people in the United States and Canada have taken the GED tests in order to reach their educational and occupational goals. You are definitely in good company.
Have you ever wondered exactly what is on the GED test, what tips and tools could be helpful in doing well on it, or how the test is scored? Well, you have come to the right place. This book will help explain and demystify the GED.
Why Do I Need This Book?
The key to many things in life is to be prepared. We purchase car insurance to prepare for the unexpected. We clean the house, blow up balloons, and bake a cake to prepare for a birthday party. We buy new notebooks and pens to prepare for the first day of school. We also study to prepare for a test. The most effective way to study is to learn about the test and find out what information will be on it. The better prepared you are, the more likely you will be to do well.
This book was designed to help you prepare for the GED in several ways:
First, it will help you review the concepts that are assessed on the test.
Second, it will familiarize you with the types of questions that appear on the test.
Third, it will give you opportunities to take GED practice tests.
Fourth, it will introduce strategies for selecting the best answers to the GED questions.
What Is in This Book?
The GED includes separate tests that assess your knowledge in five different content areas: language arts, social studies, science, reading, and math. In this book, each of these subject area exams is broken down into specific skills. Each of these skills is reviewed in a separate chapter dedicated solely to helping you master that concept. For example, the GED Science test measures your knowledge of life science, earth and space science, chemistry, and physics. So this book includes a separate chapter on each of these areas. Take a look at the chapter topics related to each of the GED tests.
Language Arts, Writing
Basic English Usage
Preparing for the GED Essay
Civics and Government
Life Science: Biology
Earth and Space Science
Physical Science: Chemistry
Physical Science: Physics
Language Arts, Reading
Interpreting Prose Fiction
Interpreting Prose Nonfiction
Whole Numbers and Operations
Decimal Numbers and Operations
Fractions and Operations
Statistics and Data Analysis
What can be found in each chapter? We're so glad you asked!
In Each Chapter
Chapters 3 through 33 each discuss a specific topic found on one of the GED subject area tests. Let's take a look at what you will find in these chapters.
Review of Information
Each chapter reviews information you will need to know for the subject area tests and offers examples and tips for how to apply the information. For example, in the chapter that explains fractions and operations, you will find definitions and explanations of different types of fractions, examples of fractions, a review of how to perform various operations involving fractions, and step-by-step instructions for how to complete the operations. Since the majority of the information on the GED is stuff you already know, the chapters simply provide a quick refresher to jog your memory.
Some of the chapters also explain information about the number of questions on each test and the time limit for completing it. As you will see, the number of questions varies from one test to the next, and the time limits vary as well. This information will be important as you prepare for the test.
What to Do
Following the explanations and concept review in each chapter, you will find a section titled "What to Do." This section gives you six steps to use when answering questions relating to the subject of the chapter. Take a look at the following box, which shows the steps for answering fractions and operations questions.
Fractions and Operations Steps
Step 1: Read the Problem
Step 2: Determine What Is Being Asked
Step 3: Identify Pertinent Information
Step 4: Choose Which Operation(s) or Steps to Use
Step 5: Solve the Problem
Step 6: Check Your Work
Following the list is a brief explanation of how to apply each step and why it is necessary and important.
The steps suggested in each of the math chapters are the same, those suggested in each of the social studies chapters are the same, and so on. There are two reasons for this. First, the steps you will use to answer any math problem, for example, are basically the same regardless of whether you are dealing with fractions, decimals, or geometry. Likewise, the steps you will use to answer any social studies question are the same, regardless of whether the topic is geography, civics, or history. So there is no reason to follow a different set of steps for each topic. Second, since all topics within a subject area follow the same steps, you will only need to memorize a single set of steps for each test. That is much simpler and more practical than learning a different set of steps for each of the 33 chapters in the book.
Next are two or three sample questions that are similar to something you might see on the GED. We show you how to use the steps to answer the first question; then we provide writing space for you to use in answering the next example(s). This gives you the opportunity to think through the steps as you work and to practice using the process explained in the chapter.
Independent Practice Items
After the sample questions is a set of practice questions related to the specific topic of the chapter. On the GED, all of the questions related to the subject area of the test will be mixed together rather than separated by topic. For example, on the GED Science test, the life science questions will be mixed in with the earth and space science, chemistry, and physics questions. However, all the questions in each chapter address only the information from that chapter; the life science chapter includes only life science questions and so on.
The Final Section
After reviewing and practicing with the types of information found on the GED, the final section of this book offers two practice tests. They are similar in length and structure to the actual test and give you the chance to practice taking the tests and to become more familiar and comfortable with the GED.
Types of Questions in This Book
The GED assesses more than simply your ability to comprehend reading passages or compute sets of numbers. It also assesses your abilities at increasingly higher cognitive levels. The skills required to ace the GED test include the following:
Distinguish facts from opinions or hypotheses
Identify cause-and-effect relationships
Recognize unstated assumptions
The sample items and practice questions in each chapter, as well as the questions on the diagnostic tests at the end of the book, allow you to practice using these skills. Hopefully, by the time you read the chapters and answer all of the practice questions, you will be confident in your knowledge of the subject matter and comfortable with the format of the test, and the secrets of the GED will be demystified for you.
Chapter TwoHow to Use This Book
As you are probably aware, the purpose of this book is to help you prepare for the GED test. That is probably the reason you got this book in the first place. Now you may be wondering, How should I use this book? That's a great question. Let's go over the ways it can help you get ready to do your best on the GED.
Review the Content
As mentioned in the previous chapter, this book breaks each of the GED subject areas into specific skills or content areas. For example, the GED Language Arts, Reading test assesses your ability to interpret and comprehend prose, poetry, drama, and nonfiction works, so each of these literary forms is discussed in a separate chapter. Each chapter reviews the skills and information that relate to the topic. Since the majority of the information on the GED is likely to be familiar to you already, the reviews in this book are not in-depth; they are meant to serve as a refresher.
That being said, use this book to go over the ideas, skills, and information that will be important when you take the GED. As you read through each chapter, take notes or highlight the skills you would like to go over again. If you find a concept that is unfamiliar or with which you are not completely comfortable, research it further. If you find a concept that you can breeze through in a snap, good for you! There is no reason to spend too much time going over skills you have already mastered.
You will notice that the social studies and science chapters are a bit different than the math and language arts chapters. Many social studies and science topics are ideas that you spend months or even years studying in school, such as World War I or the periodic table of elements. So rather than including all of the information related to World War I in the World History chapter, for example, we have simply included a list of topics with which you should be familiar. Read through the lists in these chapters, think about what you know pertaining to each topic, and spend a little time reading about or studying those you do not know well.
The required skills in the language arts and mathematics chapters are explained briefly and often illustrated by examples. Read each of the explanations, check out the examples, and determine how well you know the information. Keep in mind that although you may recognize some of the concepts, you must be able to apply them as well. Use these chapters to find out what you know and what you need to review in more depth.
Memorize the Steps
Each chapter includes a list of six steps that will help you solve the problems or answer the questions. The steps in each of the social studies chapters are the same, as are those in each of the science chapters, math chapters, and so on. Here is how to use these steps:
1. Read through all the steps.
2. Notice how the steps are used to answer the sample questions. Sometimes seeing how they are applied can be helpful in understanding how they are used.
3. Practice using the steps. Follow the steps as you answer the practice questions. See how each step works. You will find that they are sequential and often build off of one another to lead you toward selecting the best answer choice.
4. Memorize the steps. Since you will not be able to take this book or any other notes with you to the GED test, you need to know any pertinent information by heart. That includes the steps used to answer the questions. Remember, you will need to memorize only one set of steps for each of the five tests.
Practice Taking the Tests
The final section in this book includes practice tests that are similar to the actual GED. Use these diagnostics to:
Become familiar with the test format
Find your strengths and weaknesses
Practice using test-taking strategies
Plan your pace for test day
We will come back to these points shortly.
When you practice, pretend you are taking the GED. Turn off your phone, put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, set a timer for the correct number of minutes, and start working. Consider writing your answers on a separate sheet of paper rather than in the book so you can take the tests again in a few weeks or months if you wish.
Now that we have discussed how to take the practice tests, let's go over the reasons why you should take them.
Become Familiar with the Format
Taking the diagnostic tests at the end of this book will help you become familiar with the format of the GED. You may already know that, with the exception of the language arts essay, all of the questions on the test are multiple choice; however, you will learn that the tests have a few other key features with which you should be familiar. For example, some of the questions on the Language Arts, Reading test will present a set of sentences and then ask you to select the most effective way to combine them. The sentences in each passage on this test will be numbered, and some questions will ask you to identify the best way to correct an error in a given sentence. Also, each passage on the reading test will be preceded by a purpose question to help you focus on the information. Knowing these things ahead of time and getting used to seeing passages and questions presented in this manner will help you be more comfortable with the format of the test.
Find Your Strengths and Weaknesses
After answering all of the questions on the diagnostics, go back and find out which questions you answered correctly and which you did not. Do not be discouraged if you made a few mistakes. See this as a learning opportunity. Now you know which skills to focus on as you study and prepare for the GED.
Look for patterns in your correct and incorrect answers. Did you answer all of the algebra questions correctly but struggle with those pertaining to data analysis? Are you a pro at interpreting plays but not so hot at understanding poetry? This information is all good to have! The more you know about your own strengths and weaknesses, the more effectively you can use your study time. Take this opportunity to brush up on the skills you will need to do well on the GED. Then, when test day arrives, you will be able to tackle all of the questions with confidence.
Practice Using Test-Taking Strategies
Over the years, you have probably picked up a trick or two for answering test questions. There are definitely strategies you can use to do your best. Practice using the following test-taking strategies as you work through the diagnostic tests. That way, when the big day comes, you will be ready to take on whatever the GED throws at you.
Try to answer the questions before looking at the answers. Read the passage or information and read the question, but don't peek at the answer choices. Decide what the correct answer should be; then look at the choices. If your answer is there, great! If not, try again.
Read every choice. The first answer choice may look tempting, but do not mark anything until you have read all the options. Several may appear to be at least partially correct, but only one is completely right. Make sure you read them all to find the one best answer.
Answer everything. There is no penalty for guessing on the GED. This means that if you leave a question blank, it is the same as marking the wrong answer. So if you are stumped by a question, take your best guess and move on.
Make smart guesses. Did we just tell you to guess on the GED? Actually, yes. You need to mark an answer for every single question. There may be times when a question leaves you completely baffled, and guessing is necessary. The trick to guessing well is first to eliminate as many of the incorrect answer choices as possible. Often, an answer choice that is extremely different from the rest can be eliminated. Also, answer choices that include absolutes such as always, every, and never may be incorrect. Math answer choices that are far off your estimate may be incorrect. Once you have eliminated as many incorrect options as possible, guess between those that remain. Keep in mind that randomly selecting between five answer choices gives you a one in five chance of getting the answer correct. That's only 20 percent. However, eliminating three of the incorrect choices improves your chances to one in two, giving you a 50 percent chance of selecting the right answer. That's much better!
Keep up. You will mark your answers to the multiple-choice questions on the GED on a separate answer sheet. Make sure the answer to each question is correctly marked in the corresponding place on the answer sheet. In other words, be careful to mark the answer to question 10 in the correct space for answer 10.
Mark only one answer. If you decide to change an answer, be sure to erase the original answer completely. Only one answer can be marked for each item.
Excerpted from GED DeMYSTiFieD by Cynthia Johnson Diane Milne Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. . Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.