How to Study for GED and High School Equivalency Exams at Home

Each state offers resources to help you succeed

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Although there are many options for low-cost or free GED classes, many adults prefer not to go to a classroom to prepare for the exam. There are many reasons for this. Work or family obligations may make it difficult to go out at night when such classes are typically held. You may live a long distance from the centers where GED classes are offered. Or you might simply prefer to study at home.

Key Takeaways: Studying for the GED at Home

  • Preparing for the GED at home is easy with the help of print and online study guides, which will walk you through the material on the exam.
  • One of the best ways to get ready for test day is to take several practice tests in advance. They will help you assess your skills and become accustomed to the test format.
  • The GED exam must be taken in person at a designated testing center. Don't forget to register in advance.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to prepare for the GED at home, you're not alone. Fortunately, there are quite a few tips and resources available online to help you get ready for test day.

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Start With Your State's Requirements

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Every state in the U.S. has specific requirements for earning a General Educational Development (GED) or High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) credential. Make sure you know exactly what is required of you before you begin studying so that you don't waste time or money on materials you don't need.

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Choose a Study Guide

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Your local bookstore or library will have a shelf full of GED/HSED study guides from various companies. Each book takes a slightly different approach to studying. Flip through each one, read a few paragraphs or chapters, and choose the one you find most helpful. This book is essentially going to be your teacher. You'll want one that you relate to and won't mind spending some time with.

The price of these books can be on the steep side. You might find a deal in a used book store or online. Write down the title, edition, publisher, and author and search for the book on a site such as eBay or AbeBooks.

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Consider an Online Class

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Online GED classes allow you to learn in the privacy of your own home. Some are very good, but choose wisely. One good place to find online GED options is on your state's Department of Education website.

Remember, too, that you must take the GED test in person at a certified testing center. Don't worry—they're in almost every city.

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Create a Study Space

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Create a study space that helps you make the most of the time you have to study. Chances are, your life is busy. Use your time best by creating a space that helps you focus, in whatever way is best for you.

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Know What's on the Test

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Before you start studying, make sure you know what's on the test so that you study the right topics. There are several parts to the exam—including sections on Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics—so it's important to do all that you can to prepare yourself before you actually take it.

You may have already taken classes in some areas and feel confident in your abilities. If so, consider taking a practice test to see whether you really need to spend time studying each topic.

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Take Practice Tests

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As you study, write down questions about the facts you think might be most important. Keep a running list and review it when you reach the end of a study session. When you feel that you're ready to test your skills, take an online or written practice test (they are included in many test preparation books). Practice tests will not only help you assess your own knowledge and skills, but they'll also help you get accustomed to taking the exam. That way, when test day comes around you won't be so stressed.

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Register for the Test When You're Ready

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Remember that you cannot take GED/HSED tests online. You must go to a certified testing center, and you must make an appointment in advance. The best way to find the center closest to you is to check your state's adult education website. Once you feel ready, schedule an appointment to take the exam.

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Take Your Test and Ace It

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On test day, try to remain as calm as possible. If you're the type to stress over tests, practice stress-reduction techniques before and during the exam. Since the full GED test takes several hours, remember to have a healthy breakfast and bring snacks to eat during breaks.

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Tips for Continuing Education

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Once you've earned your GED/HSED, you may wish to pursue further education. Distance education opportunities include everything from specialized certificate courses to full degree programs. Resources such as Coursera and edX offer access to courses in computer science, business, humanities, and other fields that can be completed remotely on a flexible schedule.

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Peterson, Deb. "How to Study for GED and High School Equivalency Exams at Home." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Peterson, Deb. (2023, April 5). How to Study for GED and High School Equivalency Exams at Home. Retrieved from Peterson, Deb. "How to Study for GED and High School Equivalency Exams at Home." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).