The Ged Test: a Thinking Marathon

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The Ged Test: a Thinking Marathon

The GED test is grueling. A timed 7.5-hour test, it’s a thinking marathon, and GED students should prepare for the test just like a runner would get ready for a challenging athletic event.

For people who are accustomed to working on their feet and moving around all day, just sitting in one place hour after hour is a very tough challenge. So it’s important that GED test candidates prepare their bodies and minds for sitting still and concentrating over a long period of time.

Here are some ways to prepare for the GED thinking marathon:

Train your Brain: Make sure your GED test preparation includes periodic lengthy study sessions – six, seven or even eight hours at a stretch – to give yourself experience with sitting and thinking over long time periods. Just as a marathon runner trains the body to long distances, you’ll need to practice and develop concentration techniques to maneuver successfully through the long-distance GED test.

Pace & Persevere: The competitor who starts a 26-mile race on a sprint seldom finishes the race. But smart marathoners understand pacing, energy preservation and perseverance. So smart GED test candidates need to determine how to pace themselves over the full test course – mentally, physically and energetically. Take some practice tests that approximate the test time. This will give you real-time experience with timing, pacing and alert you early to possible test obstacles, along with solutions and the perseverance techniques it takes to overcome them.

Avoid Brain Drain: It won’t be possible to stop the GED test for a 10-minute power nap. But relaxation techniques can be just as effective. Using these techniques during the test are a good way to reduce stress, relax the body, mind and re-energize both. Just consider the impact that five minutes of stretching and fresh air have on drivers who are traveling cross-country.

A variety of relaxation techniques can be used, and there are many one or two-minute methods that work well. Some people simply relax all their muscles for a few moments, close their eyes, breathe deeply and visualize a pleasant scene. Some people use meditation skills they’ve learned through fitness classes, or yoga. Or other people alternate muscular tightening with muscular relaxing, breathing deeply as they move through muscle groups from toe to head. Some people even use self-hypnosis.

Explore a variety of relaxation methods until you identify one that works for you. It’s an excellent skill that will help you avoid brain drain, persevere through the test and ‘go the distance.’

Power Up: A critical part of the athlete’s preparation is diet, nutrition and sleep. And research shows that these factors are just as important to healthy brains as they are to healthy bodies. Are you nutritionally sound? While fast food is convenient, it’s not the diet a runner chooses before a marathon. Eat healthy, especially a few days before the test. Make sure your diet includes foods designed for physical and mental stamina. Get plenty of rest, too, so you won’t be fatigued at test-time.

Ready to run? Make sure you dress for the test. Wear clothing that’s comfortable, with a healthy snack or two in your pocket or purse. When test breaks are given, take a real break. Stretch, breathe deeply; clear your mind, walk briskly. Drink water – eat a healthy snack.

And don’t forget to visualize your goal. Just like the marathoner keeps the mind’s eye and energetic focus on the finish line, GED test candidates will want to keep an eye on the credential. Visualizing success is a motivator – important during study time and at test time.

©2007 Essential Education Corporation /

Leonard Williams, an e-learning instructor with, is also a curriculum specialist who focuses on research and development, implementation and assessment of best-practice learning solutions for adult learners and people with educational challenges. Leonard’s email is He invites feedback and questions from GED students and instructors.

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