When I first start working with a new GED-hopeful student, I always ask,
“What’s your timeline? When do you need this completed?”
Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, students tell me they need to earn it as quickly as they can,
“I have to have this done by the end of the year” or
“Can I finish it by the end of the month?” or
“AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!”
I can only think of one student who said she was taking her time, which made sense because she had been enrolled in GED-preparation courses for twenty years. She was taking classes because she liked the feeling of being a student, going to class, and practicing fun math problems.
Also, I don’t say this to belittle any student or make anyone feel bad because–um, hello? That’s the dream life. I totally get it.
I say it to help you think about your own journey and what it means to be “studying for the GED.”
Taking another preparation course is a lovely way to FEEL like you’re moving the needle towards achieving that goal, but if you never take the test, it doesn’t move you any closer to the goal.
It’s like saying you need to walk to the store to buy some milk, only you get on the treadmill instead of the sidewalk to start the trek.
Sooo, how do you get to the store, so to speak? I work with coaching students to help them understand why they are often so fearful of taking the test. If that’s you, and you keep thinking something along the lines of, “For some reason, I think I’ll try to take the test when I’m ready,” call me.
I promise I can help you get to the underlying fear of what is holding you back.
However, my favorite professor at HGSE who taught me how to help people get through that stuck feeling also taught me that sometimes people need a technical fix.
Here is the technical fix I want you to use: create a backward plan from your goal.
I want you to write down a list. Yes, like every mathematics teacher you’ve ever had has told you to “show your work,” I want you to do it here, too.
1. Set the goal date to start your study plan.
2. Set the goal date to take the first test.
3. Set the goal date to earn your GED.
And, this is the most important part:
4. Set your goal for what you will do after you have finally achieved the success of earning your high school equivalency diploma.
After you have that list completed,
(It can be in pencil. You are certainly allowed to make changes. If you’re feeling especially brave, try it in pen.),
I want you to go to the next step.
Nope. Stop. I see you trying to get to the goods before you’ve done the work. Stop what you’re doing. Go get something to write with and put pencil to paper, listing those four items. I’ll wait.
Okay, the next step is to get out your calendar and work backward. Look at item #4.
4. Your goal for what you will do after you have finally achieved the success of earning your high school equivalency diploma. For example, you will enroll in your local community college classes after Winter break in January. You’ll want to meet with an advisor on campus about taking the placement tests around December 1. You’ll need your GED certificate or proof of completion.
3. Goal date to earn your GED. For example, you’ll want to have that finished a week before your meeting, which is around Thanksgiving, so you’ll need to back it up to around mid-November for your fourth and final test. Let’s say it takes you, on average, two attempts per section, and you want to take each section with two weeks in between. October will be dedicated to subject #3, September for #2, and August for #1. See how I am moving the dates in reverse to plan for each step?
2. Goal date to take the first test. For example, you might want one month after your study start date. If we follow this plan, you’ll want to take the first section of the real test on the first of August.
1. Goal date to start your study plan. Let’s say you want to study for eight weeks before you take the first test, you’ll want to start studying on the first of June.
So, six to seven months is a very rough, average plan to prepare for and take the test. Of course, there are exceptions, and I have a handful of students complete it very quickly. On the flip side, most of my students take longer than that–NOT BECAUSE THEY CAN’T DO IT, THOUGH. They take longer because they don’t have a solid plan, or they let themselves get sidetracked and let other things in life come first.
I would love to help you come up with a timeline that works for your life and goals. Email or call me, and we can do a quick Zoom meeting to talk about it.
I hope this helps you come up with a realistic plan to finally earn your GED. If you’ve read this far, I know you’re ready. I’m here to help. Also, this feels like such a serious post with no humor. I guess that’s because I’m serious about helping people achieve this goal once and for all. I’ve met so many women that have had this guilt/shame/chore hanging over their heads for the majority of their lives. But, just to lighten the mood, I’ll end with my favorite math joke in case you doubt my love for nerdy math life. Ready?
Parallel lines have so much in common. It’s too bad they’ll never meet.
xo, Dr. Andie
firstname.lastname@example.org or 508.768.5808