Saturday, January 19, 2008

GED Student Retention

Remember the student who received a 410 on math, but not enough overall points? This student needs to make up 80 points? Perhaps you have a student like this. Well...still have not heard from him.

How do you retain students, especially students who not only struggle, but also work full time and have a family?

I struggle with this all the time, but I believe the KEY to this is the relationship you develop with your students. This teacher-student trust must begin the first time you meet.

If I have not seen a student for awhile, I will call and sometimes send a card encouraging them to return. Eventually, most of them do.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

GED Orientation

Are you thinking about taking the GED? If you are, you need to contact either your state Department of Public Instruction or your local GED Center. Find out what you must do in order to get into classes and take the tests. I do know that in the state of Wisconsin you must first attend an orientation.

The orientation will explain the GED and the requirements, assess in the areas of reading and math, and have you complete required paperwork.

It is an important first step. It also connects you with someone who is concerned about YOU and your future. I see the GED as a stepping stone into your future. Once your GED is complete, it will open up a whole lot of opportunities for you!

For other GED Help

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

GED Math Help

School is back in session and it is becoming more and more clear to me that the majority of GED students have trouble with the Math portion. It is critical that you understand the basics of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, basic algebra, and basic geometry. It is also important that you understand the formulas that go along with those areas.

Don't get frustrated with the GED Math test! My suggestion is to study math a little at a time. Do this with a good GED math book. It may also help to get a tutor or study mate to help you.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Spanish GED

Regardless of whether you are preparing to take your GED tests in English or Spanish, it seems like the two most difficult tests are math and writing. Of the two, math still seems to win out. Why is that? If you have an answers or suggestions, please comment on this post.

I was at my workplace this morning preparing for next week when my students come back when a Spanish speaking student came to see me. The student is taking his tests in Spanish and is just now beginning to prepare for the math test. They have elected to use the Steck Vaughn Spanish GED Math book. One nice thing about Steck Vaughn is that if you match up the English and Spanish GED books (those that take a look at one GED test at a time), for the most part they follow each other.

That way when my Spanish speaking student comes in with a question and their Steck Vaughn book, I can grab my English version and help them.

Not always a sure thing, but if you are helping someone with limited English and you have limited or no Spanish, it is better than nothing.

If you would like the ISBN numbers of the books I am referencing, please send me an email at I would be happy to forward them to you.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

GED Progress

I found out this afternoon that my student (see previous post) got a 410 on his math test! I was excited, because I knew how hard it was for him. He was not so excited, at least at first. In fact, he was real disapointed and down-heartened. He now has to focus on making up 80 points. Yes, it will be hard... but if he looks at each GED test separately and retakes one test at a time, he should be able to do it. We have a meeting set for this week to set a plan/timetable. I'll keep you posted.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

GED Math Anxiety

If your students are similar to mine, you probably have one or two who have taken the GED math test more than once. I am currently waiting for the score of a student who has taken the math test four times over a period of 3 years. This student needs to score at least a 490 to get the required points for his GED. On the other 4 the average was 440. Part of the challenge is that the student works full time, has a second job, and also has a family. The family is very supportive, but after a long day at work it is obvious that he is tired. This student will admit that math is the last thing he wants to do and doesn't understand it. Between his third and fourth test he met with me five times. In my opinion.... not near enough time. I would have liked to work with him twice a week for at least 2 months. But he did not have the time and like many of my students, just wanted to try it one more time. Well, on Monday I will be back to work and will most likely have his score. Hang tight!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

GED Adult Learners

Soon I will be going back to work and tutoring/teaching adult students, mostly in math and the GED testing areas. As I reflect on my job and my students.... I am reminded that my job is important. Whether you are a tutor, student, or teacher you have gone through tough times where you think that you are not making a difference. Let me remind you that you are! Not only are you making a difference in the world around you, you are making a difference in yourself! You are important and your actions show others the person you are. Believe in that and believe in yourself.

I hope in 2008 to continue to help others get their GED.

Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

GED Tips: A Teacher’s Experience

GED Tips: A Teacher’s Experience

I have been teaching basic skills and GED preparation for over 10 years. Over time there are many tips that I have passed to my students. Here are my top 25 GED tips. Note that they are not in any particular order.

Please feel free to comment on them and add any that you have found helpful.

1. If you can, take one official GED test at a time. You will be less tired and will received a better score than if you try to take as many tests as possible in one session. If you decide to double up on GED tests, only double up on the Language Arts, Reading and one other.

2. It is important to determine which GED areas you are weak in. Many study books will have pre assessment tests to help you determine what area/s of the book you should start with. This is especially important when you are studying math. Consider each piece of math as a building block. You need a solid foundation of basic math (whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents) before you can successfully handle algebra, measurement and geometry.

3. When considering GED study materials, there will be many choices. My suggestion would be either Pre-GED or GED materials depending on your reading ability. Pre-GED is appropriate for individuals who are below a 9th grade reading level. GED materials are appropriate for individuals above a 9th grade reading level.

4. The only exception in study materials may be math where it is important to have a solid foundation of math skills. Most of the foundational skills require repetitive practice, and they include the following: Basic adding, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents. There are many great basic math books available. However, whatever book/s you decide to prepare math with, it is important to still work through a GED math book. Top favorites of mine are Top 50 Math Skills for GED Success, Number Power Review, or GED Mathmatics.

5. It is important to prepare using the appropriate learning materials. This means materials that are appropriate with your current skills. If you have a reading level of at least 10th grade, you should not have any problems with the Language Arts, Reading, Science, or Social Studies tests. If your reading level is lower than 10th grade, consider purchasing Pre-GED study materials. A great pre-GED math book is Contemporary's Pre-GED Math.

6. Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before the test.

7. When taking the GED practice and official tests, answer those questions that you know right away first and go back to the others later. Do not spend an over amount of time on questions and passages that you do not understand. Rather, skim through and answer those you are sure about, then go back and finish those in question.

8. If you find yourself out of time, but still have unanswered questions, do NOT leave the answers blank. Quickly fill in an answer; any answer- At least you will have a chance of picking the right one.

9. When working with passages and questions, skim through the questions first. This will give you an idea of what you are reading for.

10. Have a study plan and stick to it.

11. Reward yourself! When completing a GED test, treat yourself to a good movie or a great night out! You deserve it.

12. If you are easily distracted by noise, check with the official GED Testing Center in your state to see if you can use earplugs.

13. Use ALL resources available to you. Call your local GED testing center. If you have a local GED Learning Center, use it! They will be able to answer questions that are specific to your locale. In addition, you may receive one on one instruction or tutoring.

14. Make it your responsibility to keep track of your GED scores. Know what you have taken and what you received as a score. Request a certified copy of your test scores.

15. If you move, your score will follow. Most GED Centers will require a certified copy of your current scores. In addition, they will want to know what materials you have been working in and any other assessments you may have taken.

16. Many states will require a formal GED Orientation Session prior to testing. In addition, some may require classes or have other requirements. It is important that you contact them to see what requirements are specific to your area.

17. Take ownership of your GED education. It is YOUR responsibility to learn all you can about your states GED requirements. It is your responsibility to study and prepare for the GED tests. It is your responsibly to seek help when needed, and it is your responsibility to make getting a GED a priority in your life. You can do it!

18. Getting your GED is a starting point in your life. It is a stepping-stone to greater things. Start thinking about what you will do once you have accomplished this goal. Will you take additional classes at the local community college? Will you be able to get a job or upgrade your current job situation?

19. Read, read, and read some more. All the GED tests involve reading. Unless you can read and comprehend what you read, you will have difficulty with the tests. Read every day whether it is the local newspaper, a book, or your email. Grab a book and read to your child.

20. Write, write, and write some more. Most people do not have to write daily, and therefore many do not feel confident in writing a 200+ word essay without practice. Keep a journal and write in it each and every day. Get an email account and use it. Write a letter to your friend or to the local newspaper. The more you write, the easier it becomes.

21. Add, subtract, multiply, and divide. To be successful at the GED math test, you need a solid foundation of math skills. They include, but are not limited to, the following: whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents. Get those skills down and studying for the GED test becomes easier. Some great math study packets include Solving Word Problems, Fractions, Algebra, and Measurement and Geometry.

22. GED scores move with you. You can start testing in one state and complete the GED process in another; however, check with your local official testing center to determine the exact requirements for your location.

23. Consider a study buddy. Find someone who you know, like, and trust and study with them. It may be another individual who is working on their GED, or someone who is taking other classes.

24. Know the formulas for the math test. The formulas are found in the front part of many GED math books. They are also included in this guide.

25. Take Practice GED Tests prior to taking an Official GED Test. The practice tests will give you a sense of time (GED tests are timed), and they will give you an idea of what the tests will be like. Currently, only ½ length tests are available. The practice tests will also be a good indicator of the score you may receive. If you score 500+, you should do well on the official test in that area. There are many GED practice tests available, but I recommend Steck Vaughn’s forms PA, PB, PC, PD, PE or PF. If you take at least two of Steck Vaughn’s practice tests and receive a score of 500+ on both, it is time to sign up for the official test. Call your local GED testing Center.

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