Tips On Writing An Essay For Ged

For some students, writing an essay is a difficult task. The GED contains two extended response sections. Our top tips for GED writing will help you get ready for the extended responses on the GED writing exam.

About GED Writing

According to GED Testing Service, a well-crafted response to a GED writing prompt is around 300-500 words long! That equals 4-7 paragraphs with 3-7 sentences per paragraph. Writing anything less might not be an accurate representation of your skills and could result in a low score.
Writing takes place during the Extended Response portion of the GED exam. Scoring is based on how well you answer the provided prompt using basic English conventions and language. Your essay should make sense, communicate your ideas effectively and clearly relate to the prompt.

Top Tips for GED Writing

Use our 5 top tips to keep your GED writing in top-top shape!

1. Practice using real sample questions

Hundreds of GED sample questions are only a few clicks away online. Familiarize yourself with the prompt for each response. What is it asking you to do? What evidence from the text do you need to find to support your ideas? Some prompts ask you to provide a quote or cite specific evidence in your answer. Some ask you to analyze or compare passages.
Practice using sample questions like those from GED Testing Service to help hone your skills for the real test. Set a timer for 45-minutes if you want a more accurate preview of what the test will feel like!

2. Use formal language

Too often, writers slide into the language they use while texting or speaking to their friends. A GED extended response essay is not a good time to use abbreviations or slang. IMO, save that for after the test.
Essay scoring is based on the proper use of English language conventions. Grammar, sentence structure and word choice is all very important to your final score. Think about how you would speak at a professional conference or to the President of the United States – your essay writing should have the same formal tone.

3. Structure and organize your thoughts

A well-written essay is clear and concise. Help organize your thoughts by using the 1:3:1 writing rule.

  • 1 opening paragraph: states your main idea by answering the question given in the prompt
  • 3 body paragraphs: have three different ideas that support your main idea; one paragraph per idea. Include evidence from the text to support your ideas. Add more paragraphs here if needed.
  • 1 closing paragraph: restate your main idea, making sure your answer to the prompt is clear

Begin your extended response by spending 5-7 minutes creating an outline following this structure. This format may seem awkward at first, but stick with it! It is one of the easiest ways to organize your thinking as you sit down to write your essay.

4. Edit and proofread your work

Save the last 5-10 minutes of your extended response time for proofreading! Check your writing for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or unclear statements. Reading your paper out loud (in a quiet voice, or course) can also help catch writing errors that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

5. Type on the computer when you can

GED writing is online only. Your typing skills don’t have to be great in order to be successful on the test, but being comfortable with a keyboard certainly will help. If possible, type all your practice essays when you study. The more comfortable you are thinking and typing, the better off you will be the day of the test.
Need a little more practice on the keyboard? Sign up for some free online classes! Learn common finger positioning and key location. Skip ahead a few lessons if you just need to work on speed and accuracy.
Find other helpful writing tips and guides in our Magoosh GED blogs!

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GED Essay Topics

Below are the instructions as you will see them on the actual GED test.  To give yourself some experience with the testing situation, find a quiet place that you can write for 45 minutes.  Read the directions, then randomly choose a topic.  Do not look through the topics before you choose.  This will help you with the testing situation because you are assigned a topic at the test; there is no choice. 

Use the Plan for Success below to ensure a good essay.  When it's complete, turn it in to me either handwritten or via email.  I'll give you feedback and a score according to the GED scoring rubric.

45 minute Plan for Success

Read directions and topic:  3 minutes

Prewriting (freewriting, brainstorming, clustering or mapping, etc.): 5 minutes

Organize (write a thesis statement or controlling idea and outline main ideas): 3 minutes

Draft (write the essay): 20 minutes

Revise (read through the essay and make changes to ideas): 8 minutes

Edit (check for correctness in grammar and spelling): 6 minutes


GED Essay Testing Simulation

Essay Directions and Topic

Look at the box on the following page.  In the box are your assigned topic and the letter of that topic. (For this assignment, choose one of the links below.)

 You must write on the assigned topic ONLY.

 *Mark the letter of your assigned topic in the appropriate space on your answer sheet booklet.  Be certain that all other requested information is properly recorded in your answer sheer booklet.

 You will have 45 minutes to write on your assigned essay topic.  *If you have time remaining in this test period after you complete your essay, you may return to the multiple-choice section.  Do not return the Language Arts, Writing Test booklet until you finish both Parts I and II of the Language Arts, Writing Test.

 Two evaluators will score your essay according to its overall effectiveness.  Their evaluation will be based on the following features:

 ·        Well-focused main points

·        Clear organization

·        Specific development of your ideas

·        Control of sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, word choice and spelling


 ·        Do not leave pages blank.

·        Write legibly in ink so that the evaluators will be able to read your writing.

·        Write on the assigned topic.  If you write on a topic other than the one assigned, you will not receive a score for the Language Arts, Writing Test.

·        Write your essay on the lined pages of the separate answer sheet booklet.  Only the writing on these pages will be scored.


You may return to the multiple-choice section after you complete your essay if you have time remaining in this test period.  Do not return the Language Arts, Writing booklet until you finish both Parts I and II of the Language Arts, Writing Test. 

*Indicates instructions included in actual testing situation and not necessarily used for simulation.

 Source: Official GED Practice Test: Language Arts, Writing; American Council on Education

Choose ONE topic below and do not change your choice.


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