In order to obtain a general education diploma or GED, each test taker must be able to write a basic essay. The essay is reviewed by two readers on a scale from one to four. The lowest score an essay can receive is a one, and the test taker will have to retake the writing portion of the exam if a one is obtained. If the test taker receives a two or higher, the score will be combined with the multiple choice part of the test to form the final score.
- Begin with an Overview. A good essay will have three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each paragraph should be three to five sentences long. Keep each paragraph short and focused on the main idea.
- Begin with a Topic Sentence. A successful essay has a good topic sentence. The topic sentence must answer the question that is being asked. For example, if the question asks what a million dollars could buy, the topic sentence must state, "A million dollars would buy..." If the question asks who the most important person in your life is, the topic sentence must state, "The most important person in my life is..."
- List Three Reasons. After writing a topic sentence, list three reasons or examples that support it. For example, "My mom is the most important person in my life because..." After you have listed three reasons or examples, sum it up with a conclusion sentence to complete the introduction paragraph.
- Write the Body of the Essay. The second paragraph should focus on the first reason. Expand on it by listing supporting details and add a conclusion sentence. Use transition words to keep the flow of the essay smooth. "First of all, my mom is the most important person in my life because..." The third paragraph should focus on the second reason. "Second of all, my life would not be the same without my mom because_______." The fourth paragraph should focus on the third reason. "Finally, my mom has always_________."
- Conclude. The final fifth paragraph should restate the topic sentence. "My mom has been truly influential in my life." Restate the three reasons why, and summarize the main point that the reader should take away after reading the essay.
- Avoid Common Mistakes. Review words that are commonly misused, such as there/their, who/whom, or its/it's. Stay focused on the topic sentence and three supporting details or reasons. There will be a lot to say, but fight the urge to stray away from the key points. Make sure each sentence has a subject and a verb. If a sentence starts to go on for more than two lines, chances are the sentence might be better written if it's broken down. Avoid run ons and sentence fragments. Use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
- Seek Assistance. Practice writing essays. Have someone proofread it and offer suggestions to improve it. Check out the local community colleges for GED preparation classes. Check out on-line sites that offer resources and study guides for more information.
Good essay writing takes a lot of practice. Free resources are available through some community programs and the Internet. Take advantage of the resources, and go get that GED!