GED Study Tip: Take Notes!

Getting ready for the GED? Whether you're attending local classes, taking an online GED course or managing a self-study program at home, you'll want to ensure that your study time is effective. Make a Note! Here's one surefire study tip that has proven successful for adults working toward the General Education Development credential, the 'diploma' awarded for passing the GED Test. Take Notes For many GED students and adult learners, taking notes seems boring or tedious, or they can't see the relevance of taking notes. Perhaps they have an abundance of GED study materials and don't feel a need to add more to the pile. And for some GED students, taking notes is new -- they're reluctant to take notes because they've never done it, or never learned the skill. Taking notes is easy -- it's highly effective and ensures learning when it's a three-part process. And taking notes is a critical way to shift new information that's learned from the brain's short-term memory bank to the brain's knowledge vault. 1. Initially, many people feel like they're copying or jotting material just for the sake of it. It's difficult for them to see how taking notes helps them learn. And it may seem like a mindless activity. Still, it's important - just write down information as you move through material on your own, or during GED classes. The act of taking notes engages you with the study material beyond just hearing information, reading or seeing it. Just as note-taking improves with practice, so does learning. As notes are taken more frequently and regularly, students begin to recognize key information and main points more easily and more often. Note-taking becomes more logical since the act of taking notes engages the logical processing of the brain. When the logical brain becomes engaged, the learning process is activated and information is better retained. 2. The second part of taking notes is organizing them; do it soon after taking them. How do you organize notes? Put them in logical order -- or an order that makes the most sense to you. Highlight, circle or underline important information. As notes are reviewed and organized, the information from the notes is refreshed in the mind and organized mentally. Again, the logical brain is engaged. 3. You reinforce this part of the learning process by processing your notes again. Fill in any missing information. Make a list of the key words from your notes. List any problems you're having with the material, or identify sections in your notes where the material seems unclear. Make an outline of the information so that you see the relationship of ideas and facts to each other. Make another list or outline that includes all the information you feel you've really learned. Determine how you can use this new knowledge in real-life situations. Now, review sections or the list that identified unclear information and you'll probably discover that it's clearer. Taking notes is neither an art nor a science. But the learning process is both. Learning isn't really about remembering, and knowledge isn't about memorization. Real learning and real knowledge are about activating, using and engaging higher brain processes, which is exactly what happens during the three-step process of taking notes. At GED test time, taking notes will prove to be an excellent skill to have learned. Processing information logically, and identifying key words and main ideas are major parts of the GED test. So taking notes is an important skill and practice for study time and test time. More Resources For additional GED study tips, test information and free resources on the GED test, including financial aid and student support, visit The website also provides links to federal agencies and nonprofits that serve GED students, instructors and workforce development programs. For a list of official GED testing sites and administrative contacts, visit