GED Essay Tips

Hi, GED studiers! I got a comment from Deedee, who’s going to take her GED test:

I am going to take the Ged test,and i really need help for my essay because im not good at writting it would be a pleasure if you guys help me out with it!

So, I thought it would be a good idea to give some suggestions for the GED essay today! The GED essay isn’t too hard, but it’s important to know what they expect.

The GED essay should be fairly short, about4-5 paragraphs. Don’t make your essay too short, because it has to be an essay. The readers want to see that you can give what you’re writing a structure, and that you can think through what you want to say, not just write something off the top of your head.

Your essay needs a beginning, a middle, and an ending, and it needs to completely answer the GED essay prompt. That’s important. Let’s look at an example. Here’s a GED essay prompt:

Often, important goals require sacrifice.
What is a time when you gave up something to get something else that was important to you? Was what you gained worth the sacrifice? Why or why not? Use your personal observations, experience, and knowledge to support your essay.

This is an easier prompt, if you ask me, because it’s about your own life. But all the GED prompts ask you to use your own personal observations, experience, and knowledge. That means, you use what you know in your essay. You’ve got to show that you can communicate what you think.

The first step, is to figure out what you want to say. That means reading the prompt carefully, and then thinking about your life… think about what you know, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve done. Think of a story in your life that can help you answer the question.

This prompt asks for a story, something you’ve sacrificed. But let’s say it asked your opinion of making sacrifices. You can still think of a story in your own life about someone who made a sacrifice, or about when you made a sacrifice.

Like, a lot of GED students sacrifice time with their children to get their GED. Or, a lot of GED students sacrificed their high school education to help out their families. Your life is full of stories, and you need to think of the stories that will help you answer the question.

Okay… then it’s time to write. You need three parts to your essay.

1) The Beginning: Start out by saying something interesting! Give an overview of what you’re going to write, but don’t just repeat the question. I might write something like this:

When I was in high school, I met the man I thought would be the love of my life. I quit school to marry him. I didn’t think of it as a sacrifice at the time. Now, my marriage is gone, and I fully understand what I sacrificed by not finishing school. Still, I don’t regret the choice I’ve made.

I give an idea about what I’m going to write… and I  talk specifically about my life. I’m talking about something that I know, so it’s easier. And, I’m answering the question: The reader knows what I sacrificed, and that I don’t regret it. I’ve left out why I don’t regret it…. I’ll save that for the middle.

2) The Middle: This is the part that should contain most details. The GED asks you to include good specifics in your essay. That’s easiest if you’re writing about stories in your life. You know the details, because you lived them! Don’t be too general. Say what you mean, and stay on topic. The middle should be about 2-4 paragraphs (3 is a good number). You can either tell a story or write about 2-4 different points you want to make. Here’s what I’d write for this essay:

One day, my son came home from high school with math homework that was giving him trouble. I didn’t understand it at all. It made me realize clearly for the first time that my children were passing me in education. I knew that, without a high school diploma, I wasn’t qualified for many jobs, and I missed high school memories of dances, classes, and graduation night. But realizing that I couldn’t help my son anymore made me feel, for the first time, the cost of quitting school.

Still, I know I’ve gained a lot from my marriage, even though it ended several years ago. I remember another day, when my son got accepted into college. He came into the kitchen waving the letter and jumping up and down. I would have sacrificed anything to give him that.

I’ve got two middle paragraphs. The first one talks about what I missed out on… and the second one talks about why I don’t regret the sacrifice. I added details by telling stories, being specific about the moment that I realized I regretted quitting school and another moment that made me happy to be a mother. Thinking of specific moments and things that have happened in your life makes your writing better.

3) The End. Try to say something new in the last paragraph of your essay, instead of repeating what you’ve already said! Comment on what the issue means to you, and expand that into a bigger picture. If you have something new to say in your conclusion, that will leave a good impression on the reader. Here’s my ending:

Part of me will always regret giving up my high school days to get married, but I gained a lot from my sacrifice. I gained two wonderful sons. Now that I’m older, I am more dedicated to learning, too. I may have gotten a late start, but I’m ready to make new sacrifices to get my education and become a success.

On the GED test, you’ll have scratch paper to use. Use it to come up with your ideas and organize them before you write. After you write, go back and look over your essay. Ask yourself:

1. Did I answer the question completely?

2. Is my essay organized?

3. Did I use details and expand on what I mean?

4. Did I choose the best words to say what I mean?

5. Did I make any grammar and spelling errors?

Make any corrections that you can before the time is up. I recomment practicing writing timed GED essays before the test, and reviewing them by asking those five questions. Show your essay to other people, to get their opinion and see how you can improve.

That’s my best GED essay advice! Good luck on the test, everyone!

For more information about the GED test and GED test preparation, visit The GED Academy at

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