GED Study Tip: For Real Knowledge, Reinforce Learning

Once GED students discover how to activate the learning process, it's equally important to reinforce learning since real learning happens when you use knowledge, especially if its fresh. And since learning is really a lifelong process, lessons on how people learn -- and continue to learn -- are good ones to understand. Learning is a Self-Controlled Process People learn faster and better when they control the speed of learning. In most classrooms, it's the teacher who controls the material. So it's important for GED students to determine their own learning speed, and to devise methods or a study plan that accommodates that speed. Self-guided study is a good way to control the speed and pace of learning. But when self-directing a study program, it's important to make study a habit, whether short periods for studying are set aside for each day, or longer periods two to three times a week. In classroom situations it's more difficult to control the speed of learning since instructors follow lesson plans. So talking to the instructor may help. Some students may learn better by moving more quickly through material, while others need extra time. Regardless, once a student understands that they need to control their own learning -- and the speed in which it takes place -- learning is easier. They can then identify the most comfortable speed, and consequently, learn faster and learn more. Learning Requires Rapid Feedback Feedback is a critical part of the learning process, one that's often overlooked. The more immediate and meaningful the feedback is, the quicker people learn. Consider how many classroom situations work: Information is presented over days or weeks -- or sometimes over months. Then students are tested. Until they see test results, students may not know whether their learning is effective. The best learning situation gives the learner immediate feedback on their progress. A good GED study program should include continuous opportunities and methods for students to connect their learning efforts with their outcomes. This way, students can quickly identify whether they've learned material, need to learn it better and reinforce the learning process by using information quickly and frequently. Real Learning Means Real Knowledge -- Use Knowledge! Once you learn material and gain new knowledge, use it. Use it every chance you get. Using new knowledge ensures ownership, and enhances critical-thinking skills, the most important skills measured by the GED, or General Education development test. Here is a good example of how one successful PassGED student gained real knowledge through the application of it: Maria, studying for the GED Language Arts reading test, encountered an unfamiliar word in a literary passage, the word 'superfluous.' Initially, the word just seemed confusing. She wanted to check the word in a dictionary, but remembered that she wouldn't be able to access a dictionary at GED test time. And she had learned in her online GED class how to look for context clues to find word meanings, especially if the word seemed key to the passage. She found three words that seemed to point back to 'superfluous.' One word was 'extra,' another 'over-abundant' and the other 'excessive.' Maria also saw that superfluous had a root of 'super.' So she was sure that she as right. Her dictionary confirmed it. Through the next few weeks, Maria began using new words she was learning during conversations. After a short time, these words came to her more naturally -- she developed complete ownership of her new knowledge. Not only was her vocabulary expanding, she discovered that it became easier to move through Language Arts study passages. Her feedback scores were climbing. Also, the essay portion of the exam seemed much less challenging. Maria was delighted. She wasn't just pleased at her new ability; her studies now seemed more of a hobby instead of a chore. And she wasn't the only one impressed. In Summary Maria's story is an excellent example of all three principles that speak to the reinforcement of the learning process, which makes learning real knowledge. When Maria first encountered a difficulty, she controlled the speed of her learning. She used a test-taking technique she had learned to provide immediate feedback. And it wasn't a test that initially provided the feedback; it was similar words that gave the feedback and a dictionary that confirmed it. Then, Maria used her new knowledge. By using it in everyday situations and conversations, she quickly became the rightful owner of the knowledge. This new knowledge further helped her in her GED study program -- reflected in her test scores, improved critical-thinking skills and in a more willing attitude. More Resources: For additional GED study tips, test information and resources for adult GED students and instructors, visit The website features a short movie, with answers to the most common questions about the GED.