Adult Ed
Browse our previous questions from students Disappointed Test scores
GED Practice Tests
Taking GED exams
Nursing Degree Requirements
GED and Teaching
New GED Essay Requirements
Scientific Calculator and the GED
How to start GED preparation
Students' Questions

I found your Web site while surfing for some other information. I am trying to find out how I can get a copy of my own GED that I took back in 1979 (yes, 1979). I am 42 years old and I just was hired into a job that requested it. That is the first time in all these years.

I have no idea where I may have put the original, and I can't even remember the school where I took it. I do know that I took it in the Bronx and the year was 1979.

My name is Robert K...... I do not have a middle name. At the time I lived at 6666 ABC Avenue, Bronx, New York.

Your best bet is to call the GED Testing Service at the New York State Education Department at (518) 474-5906 and listen for instructions for obtaining copies of your transcript. If you wait long enough, someone will assist you.

You can e-mail the GED Testing Service at GED@mail.nysed.gov if you need verification that the diploma was issued, but I suspect that you will need an actual transcript.

You can also obtain a copy of your transcript by writing to New York State Education Department, GED Testing, PO Box 7348, Albany, New York 12204-0348. You will need to enclose a money order or certified check for $4.00 (non-refundable). It must be payable to the New York State Education Department.

Be sure you include the information you gave me. You will need to give your full name, date of birth, social security number and your current address in addition to the address where you were living at the time you took the test. Be sure to sign your letter.

In your letter, be sure to include the reason you need your transcript. It might just hurry the process along. If you are a veteran, include that information as well. Veterans are given priority.

The State Education Department was not computerized in 1979 so the process may take a while.





I am planning to take the GED test soon although I have problems finishing my practice tests and essays in the time allotted. Please give me some strategies that I can use to finish in time.

You are not alone. I have noticed that a fair number of students worry that they will not be able to get through the exam promptly; they won't finish all of the questions. We use a variety of techniques to address this problem.

First of all, as I have said before, studies indicate that if you finish the entire test, even if you pick some answers at random, you will do better than people who may be more prepared but take too much time and do not finish. This, of course, is no guarantee of test success. Nothing replaces knowledge of your subject. These are merely suggestions for ways that you can be a more accomplished, practiced multiple choice test taker.

Two of my current distance learning students, both bright and conscientious women, have difficulty with the timed practice tests. One of them, on a recent social studies practice test, did not mark any answers to eight questions out of twenty-five. When asked, she said that she could not decide between two of the five possibilities. Her assignment now is to make a decision on those unanswered questions. She has been reminded that it is better to guess than to leave anything blank. I have also loaned her additional materials that will help her to become stronger in the subject.

The other student finally admitted that she had trouble "giving up" on a question before moving on to the next. This is admirable in other academic situations. However, it does not play well on a timed multiple choice exam. Her practice tests scores clearly showed that she could finish in the area where she excelled, e.g. reading, but in the other subjects, she had far too many questions unfinished when time was up. She could still improve her test scores in those weaker areas by completing on time. She bought a timer. She did lots of practice tests, the official ones and those in her GED Connection workbooks. She got through the tests, guessed when she was unsure and finished all of them. She really did improve her scores.





I attend a GED class in the evenings after work and I don't always have the energy that the other students around me seem to have. They tend to be younger than I am and talk a lot. Perhaps they have less trouble concentrating than I do. The time and location of the class is good for me. Nevertheless, I wonder if I should try to switch classes to one with folks more my age. What do you think?

Your complaint is a common one. But before you jump ship and try to find another class that fits your time and location needs, here are some suggestions:

You might try talking to the teacher to see if you can sit at the front of the class so you will not have trouble hearing what is said. It is also possible that the teacher talks too fast and you might ask him/her, in a tactful manner, to speak more slowly. That should help you to concentrate better.

I would suggest that you discuss these matters with your teacher at the beginning or end of the class. You will probably feel more comfortable that way rather than bringing your needs to the attention of the whole class.

Do you take notes? Writing down the key points of what is said might help you to focus and will enhance your concentration.

You might try having a quick snack before class, something that will give you a jolt of energy after a long day on the job. You can carry an apple or a granola bar in your book bag.

As I've mentioned before, as we get older, we do not always absorb knowledge as quickly as people younger than we but that has nothing to do with ability or academic success.

You might try getting to know some of your classmates. You may have more in common than you imagined. You are in the GED class to achieve something concrete and you have experience and maturity that your younger classmates do not yet have.





Disappointed Test scores

 I was really disappointed when you gave me my recent practice test scores. I got 800 in math and did really well in the other subjects except science. I got a 410. What went wrong? (This is a true scenario)

 My suggestion for this student has been for her to focus on vocabulary enrichment. English is her second language and she has been away from formal schooling for many years. I assigned her every page in the GED Connection Science workbook that lists special vocabulary. She was to redo the sections in the workbook that reinforce those specific words. In addition, I asked her to make a list of unfamiliar scientific terms. I asked her to write a definition next to each one, in her own words, if possible. She was to take this list with her to review whenever she had a spare few minutes.

My student retook a different form of the GED practice science test when she felt she was better prepared. Her score rose by six points to a 470. She will take yet another science practice test before she takes the actual GED test next month.

GED Practice Tests

 I am a good reader but find difficulty finishing my GED practice tests in the time allowed. My GED teacher suggests that I should read more. Frankly, when I get home after work and classes all I want to do is relax and watch TV. How can I learn to read more quickly?

Your teacher is right that reading more will increase your comprehension and speed. Here's one way you might practice while enjoying your favorite TV program.

Nowadays all late model TV sets have a free option called CCTV or closed caption TV which you can access with the push of a button. This free option will permit you to read a printed text at the bottom of your screen or off to one side as you watch and listen to your program. The speed of the text will, of course, depend on the kind of program you choose. A children's program will have simpler, slower audio text and the CCTV will probably go along at the same pace. The news programs will be more sophisticated and the CCTV will move at a more rapid clip though not always simultaneously.

You might want to start by watching something simple as you build up your speed and comprehension. The following are examples of the speed of the captioning or printed text that accompanies the spoken narration:

Sesame Street is captioned at 60 words per minute while the ABC Evening News can be as fast as 250 wpm.

One way to check to see if you understand what you are reading and watching is to turn off the audio, reading along with the visual images. Later on, turn the audio back on and try reading again. Over time, as you practice using the CCTV you will probably discover that you are, indeed, reading more rapidly, catching on to new vocabulary and understanding more of what is being said.




Taking GED exams

 I just got my GED results - I failed. It was my first try and to be honest with you, I thought I was ready. But I got in there and the time flew by and I couldn't finish math or social studies. When the proctor told us to stop, I just had to guess. How can I go faster?

You do not need to go faster; you need to organize your test taking strategy so that you will be able to get through any test more efficiently. The way to do that is to find out how many questions there are and the time limit. I assume that you have taken practice tests to prepare for the GED exam. If I am correct, then you double the number of questions and double the time permitted. Then you divide the number of questions into the time allowed and that will give you the time you can spend on any question before you need to pick up your pencil and move on to the next question.

Let's take the actual social studies test as an example, one of the ones that you failed. It consists of 50 questions in 70 minutes, less than a minute and a half for each question. Were you wearing a watch so you could time yourself? Did you linger too long on a puzzling question?

If a question is too difficult, move on. Deal with the easier questions which will probably take less time and then and only then go back to the more difficult questions Keep checking your watch until you have practiced so many times that the time you can spend a given question becomes second nature to you. If you know the subject matter and practice timing yourself over and over in all of the full length tests in your GED books, you will eventually have enough time to finish - and pass.




Nursing Degree Requirements

  I am presently doing Dialysis Nursing. I have never been to school but have done some home schooling. I am 47 years old and would like to get my GED, and then go on to nursing school to pursue my nursing degree. I need to get started but I need help and guidance. Please assist.

You do need to continue your basic education and to have your GED to prepare for state licensing exams that are prerequisites for acceptance in an LPN program. (Licensed Practical Nurse) Later on you will be able to advance by entering a nursing program to get your RN degree.

You need to have your reading level assessed before you proceed.

You may need to improve your reading comprehension before attempting the rigors of the nursing career. You can have your reading level checked by going to any adult education center. If there is none in your immediate neighborhood, inquire at a local high school. Most of them offer evening classes for adults and give assessment tests. As a last resort, you can call your state education department for referral to adult education centers and classes.

If you feel that you are a comfortable reader and understand the GED preparation texts, you can study on line by logging onto http://www.PBS.org/literacy and clicking on GED Connection. You will receive your own pin number and can set up a folder, which you can go back to as often as you wish. There are GED practice tests and review questions in all five-subject areas, which you are free to repeat as often as necessary. If you misplace your pin number, you can call 1 (800) 354-9067, ask for Barbara and she can go into the site and pull up your personal pin number for you.


GED and Teaching

  I was just wondering, if I go and get my GED can I still be a teacher?

I am really glad to have the opportunity to address your question and reassure you that the GED diploma is as valuable as a regular high school diploma.

According to the American Council on Education, which creates the test and sets the standards countrywide, "93 percent of colleges and universities accept GED graduates who meet their other qualifications for admission."

If you want to be a teacher, you will need to have a bachelor's degree in liberal arts, which ordinarily requires a four-year program of study. One way to do this would be to enter a community college, then transfer after completion of the two years to a four-year college. (Most community colleges have open admissions and often provide excellent transitions for people who may have been out of school a while or have dropped out at a young age.) Many community colleges have classes on the weekends and evenings to accommodate working students.

You may need to take placement tests once you are in college. If you do not score well, you may have to take remedial classes as well before beginning regular college classes. Make an appointment to speak with an education advisor to help you plan courses that will be appropriate for teaching.

Here is a word of caution which is not meant to discourage you but simply to give you a real picture of the academic road ahead: You have set your professional goal as teaching.

Nothing could make me happier. We need good and qualified teachers.

Read the following carefully:
If the college of your choice requires you to take reading and math tests after admission, do it. If you need to improve your basic skills by taking transition or remedial classes, do it. If you do not know how to use the library system in your school, get someone to show you how. If you know your writing is weak take a writing class even if you are not required to do so. If you have never written a term paper, you need to learn how. If you do not know what a footnote is and how to give credit to an author whom you quote, you need to learn it. If you are not yet computer comfortable, take a course. If you do not own a dictionary, buy one ASAP! And keep it near at hand. If you are having difficulties, find someone in your class to be a study pal or see a professor after class to ask for the help you need.

All of that commitment, enthusiasm and effort will pay off. You will become the kind of teacher you always wanted to have as your teacher!



New GED Essay Requirements

This is a follow-up question from the woman who wrote sharing her fears about writing after so many years away from the school experience. (See Student Question under HOW TO START GED PREP.)

 I am now enrolled in a GED preparation class and need some reassurance about the new GED essay requirements. The topics given to our class from old GED tests seem manageable to me since they are so general, but having to worry about counting makes me very anxious. Am I really expected to count up to 250 words in order to get a passing mark on that part of the test?

This update about the requirements for the GED essay on the 2002 test will make you very happy. You can ignore the 250 word minimum requirement mentioned on page 197 of your GED Connection Reading/Writing workbook or in the sections devoted to the essay in any other GED prep books. (Please refer to this month's question to teachers for citations from the folks who are in charge of preparing the actual GED tests as well as the GED Connection workbooks.)

While we are talking about the essay, I would like to review the score sheet for that portion of the Writing Test. The essay portion, Part II, is on pages 7 and 8 of the test answer sheets. Your instructions are contained in the test booklet itself. (Page 15 of the Official GED Practice Test Form PA.) Notice that the instructions come at the back of the test, not the front. You must respond to the topic given and cannot supply your own topic. If you do that, your essay will not be scored.

You will be given scratch paper to plan your essay. You can make notes, word lists or mind maps before you write the first draft. This can be done in pencil. These notes will be collected along with your test but will not be scored. You need a pen to do you final draft on the two pages included in the test booklet.

Before you turn your essay in, reread what you have written. It is okay to make changes and cross things out as long as your writing is legible.



Scientific Calculator and the GED

I am nervous. Please tell me what I can do to learn the calculator since I am studying to take my GED test as soon as I can. I can't take classes but I watch your program on Channel 13 and have the books. I am nervous about this FX-260 Scientific Calculator, been out of school a long time.

You do not need to worry; you need to study and practice! If you do not yet have the required calculator, use the one you have until you can buy the right one. The required calculator will be given to you at your test site but you should be comfortable with it in advance. The Casio fx 260 calculator can be purchased at Office Depot, Circuit City, Staples, and Radio Shack.

Remember this tool is available to help you solve some problems more quickly and accurately in Part One of the Math Test. Others you will be able to figure out without it. The GED CONNECTION mathematics workbook gives good practice exercises in Chapter 27 and elsewhere in the book.

If you want to have fun while learning to use the FX-260, take it with you wherever you go and find occasions to use it. If you keep a running tab of your purchases when you go to the supermarket, you will never be caught short of money. Figure the tax and tip along with your check when dining out. If there is a sale of a coat you have wanted, see what it will cost with the discount. You can figure out how much money you will save before you look at the price tag. If you leave the country, you can convert dollars into any foreign currency by pressing a button or two on your calculator. The more you use this little gadget, the more proficient and confident you will become.



How to start GED preparation

My family is grown. I am 52 years old and want to study for my GED so that I can have a high school diploma, at long last. But I am really scared, mainly about the writing part. I have not written an essay since I was a kid and then I was no whiz. Am I too old to be trying this? How do I start? I have all these ideas in my head but when it comes to putting it on paper, my mind goes blank. How do I begin? Can you help me?

First of all, let me tell you that you are never too old to go to school. Our adult and continuing education programs are designed for people who want to continue their schooling where they left off, no matter how many years have gone by. At our graduation ceremony last year here at Channel 13, one of our GED recipients was an 82-year-old woman who had left school during the Depression at the age of 16. She was a reader all of her life and had worked but had never been inside a classroom until she stopped by and asked to join our GED tutorial.

Second of all, I suspect you are too hard on yourself. You write well, judging from your question to me and clearly you have thought about returning to school for some time. You have the ability and the motivation and I am going to put you to the test by giving you your first writing assignment. Do not worry about spelling and punctuation; that will come later. For now, read the question and see what kind of an answer you can put on paper.

What was your reaction to the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and have you made any changes in your life as a result of it?

You can begin by writing down where you were when you heard the news or saw it happen. You can share how it made you and those around you feel. You can write what you did afterwards. You could write that the event was so disturbing that you prefer not to write about it or think about it. But all the time, you will be sharing your thoughts by writing them, not saying them. You can make a list of words that you heard others use in describing the event, or your own words as you begin to put pen to paper or type words into the computer.

If you are really stuck, you can try to finish the following sentences and see where it goes from there.

I was just leaving for work when a friend called to tell me to turn on my television because...

My son called from Tennessee after watching the attack on television to be sure...

My husband was amazed when he went to the local supermarket to find the shelves almost empty because...

We have been planning to take a trip to the West Coast and have decided to travel by train/car/bus/plane because...

I have been trying to explain to my children how something like this could happen and I began by explaining...

I think that we should keep the World Trade Center site as a memorial to those who died, rebuild it just as it was, turn the area into a place for people to gather or...

If you want, send me your first draft and I will be very happy to read it. Good luck.



How Do I get started to take GED on line? I'm a full-time worker and a full-time mom, and I only have time around 10:00pm when the kids are in bed. Please help me. I would like to get started on my GED.

Our research indicates that there are no GED courses offered to the general public online at this time, free or otherwise. This is not yet an option. There will be a multi-faceted approach including web-based instruction available in the fall of 200l to prepare learners for the new GED test. For more information, go to www.pbs.org/literacy. There are, however, other distance learning opportunities.

What then, is distance learning? It is an up-to-date version of correspondence courses, which used to be very popular in this country and abroad. People living in rural areas had to study by mail since they had no access to schools in their remote communities. Today, distance learning encompasses television, videos, tutoring by phone, fax, and "snail mail" (code for US Postal Service).

There are state-funded programs like GRASP or BOCES, which offer non- traditional GED preparation courses. Sometimes they use convenient drop off sites where students in rural areas can leave and pick up their assignment packets.

The GED on TV broadcast video series was designed especially for people like you who cannot attend regular classes and who want to study at home. If your local public television station offers the program, and you have a VCR, you can watch at the scheduled time or tape the series and watch whenever you are free to do so. You can buy the books directly from KET by calling 1 (800) 354-9067. The books cost $30.00. You may also be able to borrow the videos from your local public library.

If you want to learn more about the nature of the GED test, there are sample questions prepared by the General Educational Development Testing Service of the American Council on Education. http://www.acenet.edu/calec/ged/sampQ-writing.html.

If you live in the tri-state area, you can send for the GED books at Channel 13 with a $25.00 money order addressed to Literacy Center, Thirteen/WNET New York, 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019 . Check the broadcast schedule on http://www.thirteen.org for times.




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