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

33 thoughts on “GED Essay Tips

  1. I need help starting my essay.My mind go blank when I have to write anything let alone an essay please tell mr where to begin thanks

  2. Pingback: ged math test : ged practice test : ged test : ged : ged study guide : ged test score : ged writing test

  3. Hi Elizabeth,
    I enjoy your site immensely, and find it very helpful. I would also like to comment on another resource PassGED provides. I have recently discovered the Writers Notebook – what a wonderful resource.

    I have been searching for this type of site endlessly without any luck, and had no idea it was provided with this GED course. I hope by writing you, I will assist others in discovering the Writers Notebook exists.

    In the quest for greater knowledge, this GED course and the sites provided make learning much easier. I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone behind PassGED.

    Have a great day!

  4. Hi, I’m working on getting my GED, and write now I’m working at home with the Book, and I’m about to write an essay and at the moment my mind is drawing a blank to a essay topic ” how does the climate in your region affect you and the other people who live there?” I’m not completely sure how to answer that with facts.

    • Hi Ashley! The GED essay isn’t about doing research and gathering facts, since of course you can’t do that on the test. The idea is to think of things from your own life. So, how does the weather affect you? Have you had any storms that cause damage? What about droughts? People living in desert areas find ways to conserve water, like planting low-water plants in their gardens. And some governments have campaigns or laws to encourage people to save water. We’ve had a lot of severe weather, too, like tornadoes, snow storms–and in the past few years, hurricanes–that affect a lot of people’s lives. There are other ways weather affects us, too. The climate in your area will affect the kinds of outdoor activities people do. If there’s snow, there’s probably skiing. If you’ve got mild weather by the ocean, there’s probably surfing. If it’s very hot, maybe people stay inside during the summer, and go out at night instead of during the day. So, think about the everyday ways that the weather affects you and the people in your area.

  5. So now I’m writing a new essay, and it wants me to explain why people do not buckle up when they are in a car. How do I explain someone else’s choices?

    • Well, do you know anyone who doesn’t buckle up, or are there times in the past that you didn’t buckle up? Can you put yourself in the place of someone who doesn’t buckle up? Seeing someone else’s point of view is actually an important skill. It helps you be a better writer, because understanding different points of view helps you address other people’s arguments and even understand what your readers might be thinking. It also helps you understand different characters when you’re reading, and why different people do what they do (for example, in social studies, you’re often learning about people in different cultures and time periods, and understanding their points of view is very helpful!) Try to think of someone who doesn’t buckle up… what would they be like? What would they be thinking about? What could cause them not to buckle up? Brainstorm as many reasons as you can think of. Which ones make the most sense? Can you see why someone might act that way? Try it, and see if it helps!

  6. hi, i’m taking the GED writing on monday, and wanted to know if the GED reader’s will not give me a chance, if the essay is only around 200 words?

    • Hi, Cory! There isn’t a length requirement for the essay, but it needs development. That means 4-6 paragraphs, to have a beginning, 2-4 middle paragraphs, and an ending. I wouldn’t count words if I were you, but I’d make sure I had details (like stories from my life and examples of people I know or things I’ve done.) If you’ve got details and good organization, and you stay on topic, you should do fine.

    • Cory, if you mess up a word or sentence, you can cross it out neatly, and there should be no problem. Try to make your essay legible, but the most important thing is what you say. In other words, no, you won’t be not graded for scribbling out a few sentences.

  7. Kenneth, thinking of topics can be hard. It’s best to try and think of three direct answers to the question, or at the very least two things you can REALLY talk a lot about. Then you can structure your essay around those three things. In the first paragraph, you introduce what you’re gonna talk about. In the middle paragraphs, talk about how your topics relate to the question. The final paragraph, you come to a conclusion about it.

    If you’re finding it difficult to think of things to talk about in the middle paragraphs, one good thing is to ask yourself what an argument against your topic might be. So if the question was, “Do you think global warming is effecting us today?” and one of your answers is, “Yes, because the winters are getting longer each year.” What might be an opposing argument? Maybe someone could say, “Well, throughout the last century, winters have been long and short, so how do you know that the long winters lately are a direct result of global warming?” You can use that to strengthen your paragraph by bringing up the opposing argument, then explaining why it’s not a good argument against your point.

    If you can’t think of a good reason why the opposing argument is a bad one, then the point you brought up initially isn’t very strong and you might want to think of something else all together.

  8. heyy, im planing to take the writing test this month.Im not that good at placiing my words the right way, or how to use them. could yu tell me what i could do to improve that so i can have a great test score?!

  9. Kelsey,

    Unfortunately, there’s no real quick way to learn things like which words go where and when. The best thing I can suggest is to spend as much time as you can reading professional writing, such as newspaper and magazine articles, or non-fiction books (fictional novels sometimes have a “voice” in them that’s not always the proper way to write in an essay). The more you read good writing, the more your own writing will resemble it. You might actually even want to keep away from reading internet forums or comments, as those usually have a lot of slang and word shortcuts you don’t want to use.

    Also make sure to sit down and write once a day. Get someone else to look over your writing and tell you what might not sound right. It’s always difficult to tell what doesn’t fit in your own writing, so having someone else point things out will help.

    Finally, use a dictionary or to look up words you don’t know. If you gloss over words you don’t recognize, you’ll never learn them and be able to use them in your own writing.

    Good luck with your test! Let me know how it turns out!

  10. Hey Kenneth,

    You can read through my blog for some more advice about the GED essay. There isn’t much I can just say if you don’t have a specific question. The only thing I noticed that I can suggest is that from now until your test, practice writing with proper grammar and spelling, even just in forums like this. If you don’t practice the little stuff, it’ll slip by and you’ll forget to do it on the test. So, for instance, your post shoulda looked like this:

    “Hey Liz, it’s Kenneth again. I’m taking the GED test on the 5th and the 6th, and I need some real good advice. Do you think you can help me out?”

    If you don’t understand why I made the corrections I did, you need to study some more. If you did understand, you just need to exercise applying those rules, so you don’t forget the little stuff enough that you’ll end up getting a bad score on the test.

    Good Luck!

  11. Well i took the ged test n feb of 2010 i passed everything but da writing. its jus the topic they gave i didnt understand. how do i understand a topic better. Can you plz help me i retake da test may 12

  12. Mark,

    I’m not sure how to tell you how to understand topics in general. If you could tell me what your topic was for the test, we can look at that specifically and see what sorts of questions you could ask to understand it better.

  13. hi liz, i red most of you answers and i learned a lot from it. i have a real proplem staying focused on the topic. once i start a sentence i don’t know where to stop. i don’t know how much details to include in one sentence. sometimes, because i make a sentence too long, i end up making a gramatic error in it. i would appreciate any help. thank you for you time.

  14. Hish,

    If you feel like your sentences are too long, there’s nothing wrong with keeping them small. Most every sentence should have a verb and a subject. Like, “The DOG RAN to the park.” If you’ve got more than one subject, “The DOG RAN to the park, and the CAT SAW him and HID,” then your sentence might be getting a little too long. If you have any example sentences that you’re not sure about you can always post them, and I’ll let you know if they’re all right or could use some help.

  15. Hey Liz, was wondering if u could give me a little advice on the GED essay writing. I’m having trouble with the introduction and conclusion paragraphs. The middle (body) is not so much a problem. But how do i come in and end without saying the same thing over and over again for the begging, middle, and end?

  16. Hi there, Glenn. If you think about an essay, it’s kind of like a journey. In the introduction paragraph, you’re exploring the answer, and introducing what you’ll be talking about. I think of it as sort of the obvious answer to the question. After you write your three paragraphs though, you’ve gone on your journey, and you should have learned something new. That’s what you put in your conclusion. What is the more meaningful answer? The deeper answer? An answer you wouldn’t have thought of when you first started.

    Does that make any sense?

  17. Yes, that helps out a lot. Thank you for taking the time to reply back. I can tell by exploring through your site that you have helped a lot of people out. Just wanted to say thanks again and everyone appreciates someone like you for doing this. You and your site is awesome.

  18. Your advice on writing a essay is helpful. But how do you write one when you have no emotions . I see someone get hit by a car my only feeling is they had a worse day then me .How do you write something when you have no thoughts or feelings about subjects that are no more than a sentence long .I can’t pass the ged because of that .

  19. Hi! I’m doing the essay part of the practice test for the GED and I’m having a problem getting started. Can you give me some help on starting the first paragraph. The main idea is why it is or is not important to get your GED.

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