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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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How to Write & Pass a GED Essay
By: Jen Denton, Student Success Coach on January 3, 2023 at 3:21 AM
The GED essay intimidates a lot of people. Writing a whole essay from scratch in 45 minutes or less can be tough, but it doesn't have to be. This GED essay writing guide will help you know what to expect and how to pass the written portion of the test. Learn all about the GED extended response with examples, tips, and a breakdown of everything you'll be graded on.
Table of Contents
What is the ged essay, example ged essay questions, example ged essay, ged essay practice, ged essay structure, how is the ged essay scored, 8 tips to help you pass the ged essay.
The GED test is made up of four subjects: mathematical reasoning, social studies, science, and reasoning through language arts (RLA). The RLA subject test includes two parts, one of which is the GED extended response, sometimes called the GED essay. You will have 45 minutes to complete the essay to the best of your ability. If you don’t finish in time, don’t worry! The essay is only worth 20% of your final RLA score, so you can still pass the test even if you don’t get a high score on the essay.
The extended response can be on a variety of topics, but it will always follow the same format. You will be given two different articles on the same topic, usually argumentative essays with a firm position. You will be asked to evaluate the two arguments and write your own argumentative essay determining which article presented the strongest position. The essay should be 3-5 paragraphs long, with each paragraph between 3-7 sentences.
All GED essay questions will ask you to read and evaluate two passages that take different stances on the same topic. Essays should determine which passage presents a stronger argument and back up that claim with analysis of evidence from the passages.
Here is an example GED essay question:
Analyze the arguments presented in the press release and the letter to the editor. In your response, develop an argument in which you explain how one position is better supported than the other. Incorporate relevant and specific evidence from both sources to support your argument.
Remember, the better-argued position is not necessarily the position with which you agree. This task should take approximately 45 minutes to complete. 1
1 "Extended Response Scoring - GED." https://ged.com/wp-content/uploads/extended_response_scoring.pdf . Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.
The following is an example high scoring essay:
Both the press release and the letter to the editor offer positions that are supported by both fact and opinion. The press release seeks to exhort the new bill for expansion of Highway 17, while the letter argues that the passing of the bill could prove detrimental to the district. While both sides make an acceptable case, the latter provides a stronger argument.
One example of the letter’s stronger argument is the explanation that federal tax dollars pay for the road, as it will incorporate six different states, therefore eliminating this particular state’s ability to strike the bill down. This proves, with factual information, that the district did not have a fair say in the bill. The notion that few residents will use the road that their tax dollars are providing is an opinion. However, a resident and small-business owner in the town is more credible in the awareness of the town’s concern, as compared to a representative who attended a few meetings in the town hall.
Another example of the better supported argument in the letter is the reference to the construction jobs as temporary. The press release praises the new jobs created by the highway construction, as this is a valid point. However, the author of the letter is correct in the fact that the jobs will not create a boom in the district’s economy, or fill in the gap caused by the closures in the manufacturing plants, as the press release leads listeners to believe. The road construction does not solve the long-term issue of unemployment in the town. In addition, the author of the letter counters the argument that new motels, restaurants, and gas stations along the highway will create permanent jobs for the residents of the town. She explains that, “…only minimum wage jobs will remain.” This is a valid argument also, as unemployed residents that need enough income to support a household would not be much better off. Providing restaurant or motel jobs is very unlikely to feed or support an entire family. It will not pick up the laid-off employees of the manufacturing plants, who may have worked for many years towards promotions and a pension.
Another example of the letter’s stronger argument is the author’s explanation of the 2001 study. She concedes that the representative is correct in citing that bypasses are proven to reduce noise and traffic in town, but she argues that the study shows a negative effect on local businesses. This piece of the study was not mentioned by Representative Walls or the press release, and it is a proven fact. This draws more credibility to the argument in the letter. Also, although it is a speculation, it is more reasonable that traveler’s will stick to the main highway and not venture miles off their path into small town when chain gas stations, restaurants, and motels are conveniently located directly at the highway exits. It is less likely that old roads in the towns will become historical locations, attracting tourists and boosting small business sales.
Despite the argument and evidence given by the press release, it appears that the letter to the editor offers a stronger case. The author’s ideas are backed up by logical explanations and facts with a few speculations. Though the press release offers some fact, it is mainly specked with anticipations and hopes, driven to overshadow any doubts and quell any concerns. The letter is penned by a resident of the town and owner of a business, subject to firsthand opinions of the citizens of the district. The press release is pushed by an elected representative who, upon visiting the town a number of times and consulting a small percentage of the constituents, is convinced she understands the majority. Although both parties may very well have the best interests of the district in mind, and either position could be correct, it is clear that the letter provides a better-supported argument. 2
2 "Extended Response Scoring - GED." https://ged.com/wp-content/uploads/extended_response_scoring.pdf . Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.
For GED essay practice, try writing your own essay based on the example above. Set a timer for 45 minutes and do your best to write an essay with your own analysis and ideas.
You can practice more writing skills with this free test or enroll today in the GED Academy to get access to more GED essay prompts and personalized feedback from GED Essay graders.
The structure for the GED essay can take a few different forms, depending on how you decide to organize your ideas. No matter what, it should include an introduction paragraph, 1-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. To receive a passing score, your essay must present a clear topic supported by details from both passages. Include your main idea in an introductory paragraph. In middle paragraphs, make connections between your details and your main idea. Your conclusion should also fit logically with the details.
The introduction should demonstrate your understanding of the overall topic based on the passages you read and a claim. The claim is a statement of your argument. It doesn’t need to go into detail, but should state your essay’s position on the questions presented.
The body paragraphs will go into more detail. They will include a combination of summary, analysis, and evidence to back up your claim. Be sure to include analysis of both passages.
The conclusion should explain the result of your findings and reinforce your original claim.
You can earn up to six points on the GED extended response. There are three main categories your essay is graded on, and you can earn up to two points for each.
Creation of arguments and use of evidence: Craft a strong claim and use analysis of the arguments and evidence from the passages to support it.
Development of ideas and organizational structure: Write a substantial essay with clear transitions between ideas, including a strong introduction and conclusion.
Clarity and command of standard English conventions: Use appropriate language and demonstrate strong language and grammar skills.
The extended response accounts for 20% of the total RLA score.
- Read all the instructions. The most common reason people score low on the essay is because they misunderstand the prompt.
- Make an outline. After reading the passages and the prompt, write down your ideas and organize them during your pre-writing.
- Make a list of evidence. When you read the passages, take notes on the important details you want to remember later, so you don’t have to spend time searching for it later.
- Write your introduction last. A lot of people get tripped up by how to start the essay. If that’s you, just skip this step and go back to it once you’ve written the rest of the essay.
- Write first, edit later. You only have 45 minutes, so use your time wisely. Write your first draft of the essay before you start fine-tuning and editing it. Save that for your remaining time so you don’t turn in a half-written essay.
- Use formal language. Avoid “I” statements like, “I think” or casual language like slang.
- Don’t check the clock. Time always seems to go faster when you need it to go slow. Every time you look at the clock, that’s breaking your focus on your essay.
- Practice! The only way to get better at writing essays is to write more essays. Practice using the GED Writing Practice Test , and remember to time yourself!
Ged social studies study guide 2023 [ged academy], ged reading & writing study guide 2023 [ged academy], free online ged study resources.
GED Essay-Topics, Samples, And Tips
One part of the GED Language Arts (RLA) test is writing a GED Essay, also known as the Extended Response. You have 45 minutes to create your essay. The GED essay is an argumentative essay.
A common method for writing this type of essay is the five-paragraph approach.
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Writing your GED® Essay is not about writing an opinion on the topic at hand. Your opinion is irrelevant. You are asked to determine and explain which of the arguments is better.
This lesson is provided by Onsego GED Prep.
After reading the stimulus with two different arguments about a subject, your task is to explain why one of these arguments is better.
Remember, when writing your GED® Essay, you are NOT writing your opinion on the topic. That’s irrelevant. You must write about why one argument is better than the other.
You are writing an analysis of the author’s two positions and explaining which argument is stronger. These two arguments are presented in the stimulus, so you don’t need to create any own examples.
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So again, you only need to decide what argument is stronger and claim it and prove it. It is NOT about your opinion.
Since in your essay, you need to determine which argument is best supported, your claim should clearly state which of the two positions is stronger.
You will be provided with the stimulus material and a prompt.
The stimulus is a text that provides 2 opposing opinions about a certain subject. The prompt provides instructions and tells you what you need to do.
I’ll say it again because so many students make mistakes here, it’s NOT about your opinion on the topic but the subject that matters!
You need to analyze the arguments and determine which opinion is best supported throughout the text.
You are NOT asked which argument you agree with more, and you should NEVER respond with a personal opinion.
So, don’t use the word “I” such as “I think that…” “I agree because…” “In my opinion…”.
The GED essay is graded on a machine that uses algorithms to figure out your score.
So, no teacher will decide about the score in any way.
It’s very important that you remember this!
Let’s take a look at the structure, topics, and format of the GED Essay.
GED Essay Structure
Ged essay topics.
- GED Essay Sample
- GED Essay Scoring
- GED Essay Writing Tips
Remember: you need to analyze which of the presented arguments is better and explain why it’s better.
Likewise, make sure your reasons come from the text – you aren’t making up your examples; you’re talking about the ones in the passages.
How should you prove that one argument is stronger? – Look at the evidence in the text.
Did the author use a relevant statistic from a reliable source, or did he/she assume something with a hypothetical anecdote?
Once you know which is better supported, you’re on your way.
Keep in mind: Don’t Summarize!
It’s easy to substitute a simpler task (summarize each side) for the more complex task of evaluating arguments. But if all you do is summarize, your response will be considered off-topic and likely will not receive any points.
The GED Essay should contain:
- 4-7 paragraphs of 3 to 7 sentences each and 300-500 words in total.
- An essay (or response) that is significantly shorter could put you in danger of scoring a 0 just for not showing enough of your writing skills.
- As you read the stimulus material (text), think carefully about the argumentation presented in the passage(s). “Argumentation” refers to the assumptions, claims, support, reasoning, and credibility on which a position is based.
- Pay close attention to how the author(s) use these strategies to convey his or her position.
Every well-written GED essay has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Your response will be an argument or an argumentative essay. Remember that you are NOT writing your opinion on the topic.
You are writing an analysis of two of the author’s positions and explaining which argument is stronger.
Things to keep in mind: the Extended Response (GED Essay) is scored by smart machines that are programmed to recognize correct answers. So, don’t try to be creative; just be correct. Also:
- Use proper grammar and sentence structure.
- Practice writing a 300-500 words essay.
Let’s look at the GED Essay structure: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- The Introduction introduces the topic you are writing about and states your claim or thesis statement. Stand your position.
- The Body of the essay presents reasoning and evidence to support your claim. This is the longest part of the response and should be at least two paragraphs.
- The concluding paragraph sums up your main points and restates your claim.
Here are a few examples of GED Essay Topics. Click on the title to read a full stimulus and a prompt.
An Analysis of Daylight-Saving Time
The article presents arguments from both supporters and critics of Daylight-Saving Time who disagree about the practice’s impact on energy consumption and safety. Check here to read the full article.
Should the Penny Stay in Circulation?
Analyze the presented arguments and decide which one is better supported. Check here to read the full article.
Is Golf a Sport?
Proponents say that golf meets the definition of “sport.” Opponents say that golf better meets the definition of “game” than “sport. Analyze both opinions and determine which one is better supported. Check here to read the full article.
GED Essay Samples
Click here to access a sample of a GED essay with an explanation of the structure. Getting familiar with GED essay samples will help you plan your essay and understand what elements are important.
When reading the essay subject, you really should take the time to pull together your thoughts. By arranging your ideas rationally, you will be able to express your thoughts far better on paper. When you start writing, concentrate on the guidelines that you came to understand in English class.
Pay attention to English language usage (grammar); you must use the right punctuation and capitalization and decide on suitable word solutions.
Check here to read a GED Essay Sample with our comments.
Tips For Writing Your GED Essay
1. Make sure you read the stimulus and prompt cautiously
It’s good to practice this carefully. Check out each question carefully and take a little time to figure out the topic and what kind of answer will be expected.
It is important to read the questions meticulously.
Usually, students simply run over stimulus and prompt and begin to write immediately, believing that they will save time this way.
Well, this actually the most undesirable thing to do. Take a short while and try to understand the questions completely in order to respond to them appropriately. If you wish, highlight the essential words and phrases in the stimulus to be able to look at it from time to time to be certain you stick to the topic.
2. Sketch an outline for the essay
In general, you will only need a few minutes to plan your essay, and it is imperative to take that time. As soon as you grasp the questions entirely, and once you have scribbled down some initial ideas, make an outline of the essay and follow that.
Plan an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this process is going to save you a lot of time and helps establish a rational development of thoughts.
3. Stick to the subject
Each paragraph in the body of your response should explain why a piece of evidence supports your claim or disputes the opposing claim to explain your evidence.
You can describe or restate it. This shows that you understand precisely what it means and how it relates to your claim.
Cite the mentioned details or facts of a specific point and relate them to your claim.
Your response should include evidence from both passages and explain what strong evidence supports one argument and why faulty evidence weakens the other argument.
4. Proofreading and Revision
By the time you completed writing your essay, you should go back to the beginning and read your essay carefully again, as you quite easily could have forgotten a comma or have misspelled a word while writing your essay. See also this post -> Is the GED Language Arts Test Hard?
While rereading your essay, pay close attention to whether your essay provides well-targeted points, is organized clearly, presents specific information and facts, comes with proper sentence construction, and has no grammar or spelling mistakes.
How Your GED Essay Is Scored
Your GED essay is scored by smart machines that are programmed to recognize correct answers. So don’t try to be creative; just be correct.
They will be using five criteria to assess your essay.
- Organization: were you clear about the essential idea, and did you present a well-thought strategy for composing your essay?
- Clear and swift response: did you deal with the subject adequately, without shifting from one focal point to another?
- Progress and details: did you apply relevant examples and specific details to elaborate on your original concepts or arguments, as opposed to using lists or repeating identical information?
- Grammar Rules of English: did you use decent writing techniques like sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and grammar, and did you shape and edit your essay after you penned the first draft?
- Word choice: how far did you choose and employ suitable words to indicate your points of view?
Your 45 minutes will go quickly, so focus on these important points to get the best score.
What’s important, make a clear statement about which position is better supported. Write clear sentences and arrange paragraphs in a logical order.
GED testing includes four modules (independent subtests) in Mathematical Reasoning (Math), Reasoning through Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies that can be taken separately. You should study very well and be effective on test day and pass the subtest(s) you registered for.
GED writing for essays may be a bit tricky, but you can store all this information for proper learning on a list and change to proper write essay techniques before test day has arrived. Just practice a lot, and you’ll see that it’ll be getting better and better. So now you know all about writing the GED Essay.
GED Essay Writing Guide
What is the ged rla “extended response” question.
The Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) section of the GED includes an Extended Response essay question. You will only have 45 minutes to complete this essay, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the nature of the prompt. Read through this guide to become more familiar with the prompt and how to write the best response possible.
If you follow the strategies and the template provided in this guide, you’ll be able to produce a high-scoring essay in the time allotted! 😀
GED Essay Overview
Since the GED Exam is administered on a computer, you will type your essay into a text box. You will first be presented with two Stimulus Passages and then you will be given an essay prompt. The Stimulus Passages will each have 4–5 short paragraphs that introduce an issue and take a stance on that issue, with one passage opposing the other. You will then be given the following prompt:
➤ Pro Tip: Remember that the 45 minutes includes the time you take to read the Stimulus Passages. Read the passages thoroughly, but quickly, and make note of any specific points that stand out to you so that you can easily reference them as you formulate your argument.
GED Essay Strategy
In order to maximize your 45 minutes, it’s important to decide ahead of time how much time you will spend on each step. We recommend following the guide below, but you should write some practice responses with a timer nearby to get a good understanding of how our guide can best serve you. Make sure you do not hand-write your practice essays, as it is always best to recreate test conditions as closely as possible when preparing.
Follow this strategy when writing your GED Essay:
Step 1 ► Read and Analyze the Stimulus Passages (5 Minutes).
Start by reading both of the passages. Make sure you understand the issue and the position that each passage is taking. Try to ignore your own personal feelings on the topic as you read. Ultimately, your job is to explain why one of the sides is better supported ; it is fine to completely disagree with the side you defend, so long as you adequately support your stance. You are not writing about who you agree with, you are writing about who supports their argument best .
Step 2 ► Select Your Position and Outline Your Ideas (5 Minutes).
Ask yourself: which side seems like it has more supporting details and/or examples? Your task with this essay is similar to that of a teacher grading an essay. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the position; it matters that the writer supported their position well.
Remember, “better-supported” does not necessarily mean “right.” You are not required to argue in favor of one of the positions; you only need to explain why one position is better-supported than the other position.
Passage 1 : argues that school lunches should be 100% vegetarian in order to improve the health of students and to tackle the obesity epidemic in schools. This passage provides:
- statistics showing that vegetables are good for children.
Passage 2 : argues that animal protein is crucial for superior athletic performance and sustained energy levels in children. This passage provides:
- quotes from a doctor who says that protein from meat keeps children alert in classes after lunchtime.
- scientific research that supports this claim.
- statistics from counties that switched to vegetarian lunches which show that test scores dropped after adopting vegetarian lunches.
Which side is “best supported?” Which side should you choose for your essay? If you said, Passage 2, you are correct. Even if you are a vegetarian, you should be able to see that there is more supporting evidence in the passages for the “pro-meat” side. You will not receive a bad score if you choose to support the side that has less evidence, but it makes your task harder.
You should spend approximately 5 minutes deciding your position and outlining your essay. You can simply type your outline at the top of the text box (and delete it after you finish your essay). We will discuss more specifics about how to outline our essay in the “Template” below!
Step 3 ► Write your Essay (30 Minutes).
At this point, approximately 10 minutes will have gone by. You have read the passages and outlined your position. Now, simply start with paragraph 1, and follow the outline you created. Remember to stop periodically and refer back to your outline at the top. Most GED Extended Response essays are between 4–7 paragraphs and each paragraph is composed of 3–7 sentences. We suggest that you aim for 5 paragraphs; doing so ensures that your argument is complete.
As you will see in the Template below, it’s okay if some paragraphs are shorter than others! Don’t feel like you have to write sentences to fill up space; always write with purpose. Once you’ve made your point in a given paragraph, add a concluding sentence and move on. You should spend approximately 30 minutes on your essay.
Step 4 ► Read Everything Over At Least Once (5 Minutes).
Proofreading can make a good essay great, and a great essay stellar, so don’t forget that you will need at least 5 minutes at the end to thoroughly read through what you have written. Go back to the outline and review your notes. Does the essay you wrote follow the outline? Is it well-organized? If you’re happy that you didn’t stray from your plan, delete your outline notes. This is very important! If you do not delete your notes, scorers will think it is part of your response and take points off.
If you have extra time, look for spelling and grammar errors. Do your verb tenses agree? Did you accidentally leave off the “s” on a plural noun? How are the transitions between paragraphs? Does the essay “flow?” Remember, you can re-type any sentences you dislike, and you can add additional sentences for clarity. This is a timed response, so it does not have to be perfect, but if you have the time to fix mistakes you’ll only be helping your chances.
GED Essay Template
In the four-part strategy above, you read about the importance of planning and making an outline for the position you selected. Your outline should follow this general format:
- Paragraph 1 — Introduction
- Paragraph 2 — Body Paragraph
- Paragraph 3 — Body Paragraph
- Paragraph 4 — Body Paragraph
- Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
★ Paragraph 1 — Introduction
The introduction and conclusion are short paragraphs that “bookend” your essay. Your introduction should:
- introduce the topic from the passage,
- explain both sides of the issue (showing that you understood what you read),
- and make a claim that one side is better-supported and thus, more convincing (this should be the final sentence of the introduction).
Below is a possible template for the introductory paragraph. When you are writing your essay, you can write a very similar introductory paragraph while replacing the underlined portions to fit the prompt that you are answering:
★ Paragraphs 2–4 — Body Paragraphs
The real strength of your essay lies in your body paragraphs. Each body paragraph must introduce and describe one reason why the position you chose is better-supported. There will be 3 reasons in total (if you follow the 5-paragraph format). Look for some of these common ready-made arguments when reviewing the passages:
Authority figure — Does the passage quote a reputable figure with specialized knowledge, such as a doctor, scientist, or other expert? Does the reference lend credibility to the overall argument?
History — Does the passage explain a historical event or a precedent to back up its claim?
Statistics — Does the passage provide any numbers or data? Does the data help the author’s position?
Logical reasoning — Is there a strong element of logic or “common-sense” to the argument, and is it presented in a clear, cohesive manner?
Ethics — Is a moral argument made? Does the author insist his or her position is correct because it is the “morally right” thing to do?
Emotion — Does the author appeal to the reader’s feelings? Does the argument evoke an emotional response?
Reasonable Assumptions — Does the author rely on assumptions to draw any conclusions? Are the assumptions reasonable?
Forceful Vocabulary — Does the author’s word choice add weight and importance to the argument?
Not all of these will be present in every passage, but you will only need 3, and it is likely that at least 2–3 of these will be used in each argument. If the passage you choose only has 2 of the above supports, consider writing more than one paragraph about each, using different support. Let’s look at how we can “plug” three of these examples into our thesis from above:
When you outline your GED Essay, pre-write your thesis and decide on which three forms of support you will discuss to prove that your passage is better-supported. This will help you organize of the rest of your essay. Now that we have chosen our three examples, we can make a more specific outline:
- Paragraph 1 — Introduction (why Position X is better-supported)
- Paragraph 2 — Emotional Appeal
- Paragraph 3 — Authority Figure’s Opinion
- Paragraph 4 — Forceful Vocabulary
- Paragraph 5 — Conclusion (why Position Y is not well supported)
Let’s look at how we can “plug” some of these ready-made arguments into a body paragraph:
Notice how this body paragraph introduces the example in the first sentence (“logical reasoning”), and then cites 3 specific examples from the passage that employ this logical reasoning. The final sentence reiterates and emphasizes the overall idea of the paragraph. This paragraph is only 5 sentences (if you include a quote), yet it does a great job (1) introducing the superiority of the argued position, (2) giving examples from the passage to support a specific idea, and (3) concluding the paragraph.
In each body paragraph, you must defend your assertion that ONE position is better-supported with at least one specific reference showing this support. If you choose, “authority figures” as an example, but there is only 1 authority figure mentioned in the passage, it’s okay to spend the entire body paragraph discussing that one figure. You do not need to make up anything that is not in the passage—in fact, you shouldn’t!
★ Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
Finally, let’s look at how we can structure the conclusion:
GED Essay Scoring
Three separate scorers will grade your response based on each of the three traits of your essay: (1) Analysis of Arguments and Use of Evidence, (2) Development of Ideas and Structure, and (3) Clarity and Command of Standard English. Notice that if you follow the strategy and template provided above, all of these traits will be accounted for, and you won’t have to worry about them on Test Day! 😀
GED Essay Practice
Now you’re ready to write a practice essay. Try our GED Essay Practice Question .
GED Essay Tips & Strategies
Most of the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) exam is multiple-choice, but there is also one “Extended Response” question. This question requires you to write a short essay in response to two passages of text. The passages will present two different viewpoints on a topic. You must read both of the passages and then decide which argument is best supported . Your essay should include evidence from both passages to prove that one of the authors crafts a better argument.
Please note that you are not being asked to write about which opinion is correct or which opinion you believe to be true. You are being asked to write about which passage best supports its claims. You will have 45 minutes total to read the prompt, read the passages provided, and to draft your essay.
Essay Quick Tips
- Begin your paragraphs with topic sentences that separate your major ideas and keep your argument organized.
- Utilize logical transition words/phrases to seamlessly move from one paragraph to the next.
- Use correct spelling and proper grammar.
- Vary your sentence structure and incorporate appropriate, advanced vocabulary words.
- Stay on topic! Create an outline prior to beginning your essay to organize your thoughts.
Your GED essay will be evaluated across three areas:
- Analysis of Arguments and Use of Evidence.
- Development of Ideas and Organizational Structure.
- Clarity and Command of Standard English Conventions.
The task may seem intimidating, but you more than likely already have these skills! Your essay will receive three scores—one for each of the listed areas.
Since you only have 45 minutes, you must make sure to effectively utilize your time. The best way to accomplish this is by practicing essays under the same 45-minute time limit.
Rely upon these timing guidelines as you write your GED essay:
- PLAN — Spend 10 minutes reading the source material and organizing your essay response.
- PRODUCE — Spend 30 minutes writing your (ideally) 5-paragraph essay.
- PROOFREAD — Save 5 minutes for re-reading what you wrote and making necessary changes and improvements.
Remember, since you are typing your essay on the computer screen, proofreading and editing can be done much more quickly than if you were reading over a handwritten essay! Five minutes may not seem like much, but you should be able to read the entire essay over at least once and correct any obvious spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Pro-tip: Don’t start writing until you have every paragraph planned out! Outlining your argument is the best method for producing a coherent and cogent response.
Since the GED RLA extended response is graded by the ACS (Automated Scoring Engine), it is relatively easy to score well if you rely on the organization of a good essay template. Here are a few quick tips regarding clarity to help you score as highly as possible on the GED RLA Extended Response:
Paragraph 1 — Introduction
Start with a 1-sentence general statement regarding the topic. Show that you understand the argument(s) by identifying the topic and its significance, and then present a bold and concise thesis statement; Consider the following example thesis:
Though the first passage highlights important considerations regarding (the topic of) ________, ultimately the second passage is better supported and more convincing.
Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 — Body Paragraphs
When you plan your essay, you should formulate your thesis (choosing which side you found to be best-supported), and carefully lay out three major reasons why it is best-supported. Each of your body paragraphs should explore one of these ideas.
Use specific examples to support your point of view. Pull selections from the argument you are stating is best supported, and explain why they are good supporting examples, or why they make valid points of consideration.
Each body paragraph should only focus on one major idea, and the 1–2 selections from the passage that support that idea. Try to keep the paragraphs between 4–6 sentences so that they are succinct, direct, and clear. Avoid excessive wordiness; more is not always better!
Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
In 2–3 sentences, wrap up your thoughts, reiterate the accuracy of your thesis (why the argument you chose is better-supported), and leave the reader with an idea of WHY they should give more consideration to the topic. You can also use the conclusion to offer a degree of concession to the opposing argument, conceding that there are one or two good qualities of the other passage, before echoing that the passage you selected is ultimately better-supported and more convincing.
Finally, don’t worry about choosing the “wrong” side. It doesn’t matter which side you choose, just be sure that you can quote specific examples from the source texts to support your ideas!
Now, review our sample prompt and practice writing an essay!
GED Essay Prompt >>
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How To Write The GED Essay 2023 (Extended Response)
- November 15, 2022
Chief of Content At Gradehacker
How to Write The GED Essay
The best strategy for writing the GED essay is:
- Read the passages (5 minutes)
- Analyze the data and create an outline (5 minutes)
- Write your extended response (30 minutes)
- Reread and edit your writing (5 minutes)
If you want a clear example of what your GED essay should like like, later in this blog you’ll find a sample.
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If you are planning on taking the GED test , you’ll eventually have to pass the GED essay .
Also known as the extended response, this assignment tests your evidence-based writing skills, and it’s where many students get stuck. However, writing the GED essay is easier than most people make it out to be .
It just takes practice and patience . And with these tips, you’ll be able to ace the test in no time!
Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional adult student’s most trusted resource. Earning a GED diploma is necessary to enroll in college or access better job opportunities. We want you to be capable of writing an entire essay that will clearly show that you are up to the task .
This guide will teach you how to write a GED essay and share the best tips to make your text stand out and meet the passing score.
What Is The GED Essay?
The GED test consists of four sections:
- Social Studies
- English Language Arts
The Reasoning Through Language Arts exam mainly consists of multiple-choice questions but also includes the Extended Response assignment, where you have to write an essay from scratch from two passages they give you.
You’ll have 45 minutes to analyze these two texts, choose which argument presents strong evidence, and explain why each piece of evidence supports your point.
While this part only represents 20% of your Reasoning Through Language Arts exam score (meaning that you can pass the Language Arts writing test even if you perform poorly in this section), it’s key that you know how to create a well-written GED essay.
Since they are testing your analysis of arguments and writing skills, it’s your opportunity to prove that you have mastered the core elements of the entire Language Arts section.
Plus, if you are planning on pursuing a college degree, where knowing how to analyze texts and write an essay response is important, passing the GED extended response is key.
GED Essay Prompt
To pass the essay portion, you’ll have to read two different passages that talk about the same issue but take an opposite stance about it. Your task is to determine which position presented is better supported.
It doesn’t matter if you disagree with that position; you must defend and explain your decision using multiple pieces of evidence from the texts.
Regarding length, the essay prompt suggests that your response should be approximately four to seven paragraphs of three to seven sentences each , which should be a 300-500 word essay.
While there is no essay length requirement regarding the number of words, we recommend writing between 400 and 500 .
GED Essay Sentence Structure
So, how do you write a GED extended response? Well, It has a structure similar to an argumentative essay.
- Introductory paragraph:
This should be a primary and short thesis statement where you clearly address which of the two passages is better supported.
- Body paragraphs:
Consist of three or four body paragraphs where you formulate your thesis using the text’s information as your source.
- Conclusion paragraph:
As a final step, briefly summarize your argument and reiterate its importance. If this is not your forte, there are many conclusion tips that can help you!
How to Pass The GED Essay
Now that you understand the GED Extended Response and what you need to do, here is our essay writing guide.
You’ll find multiple tips throughout it, but essentially, to write a cohesive, well-constructed essay, you’ll have to follow this four-part strategy:
- Read the passages
- Analyze the data and create an outline
- Write your extended response essay
- Reread and edit your writing
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Read the two passages (5 min)
The first step is to read both body passages thoroughly but quickly.
You need to understand what the topic is about, and while you read the text, highlight the statistics and factual data each author uses as support.
Remember that you can have differing views on your chosen side. Recognize which stance has better sources to defend your point, and explain why in your essay.
Analyze the data and create an outline (5 min)
Once you are done reading both texts and already highlighted all the essential information the authors use, you’ll need to analyze the evidence!
While ideally, you should recognize who supports their point better in the previous step , doing it in this part will be easier as you have all the factual data on sig ht.
Usually, the text with more information highlighted will be the one that defends its stance the best .
So, the next thing you need to do is make an outline and write down your ideas. This way, you’ll have all the information organized to begin the most crucial part of the writing process.
Write your extended response essay (30 min)
And now, with evidence highlighted and an outline created, you are ready to start writing!
If you are going for the minimum and writing a 5-paragraph essay, you’ll need at least three major ideas to develop individually in separate paragraphs.
Stick to one idea per paragraph , and include one or two of your selected pieces of evidence from the texts to organize the information better and keep a good flow.
Remember to use connectors! However, nevertheless, furthermore, additionally, and more! These vital elements will help you introduce the reason for your argument at the beginning of each paragraph.
And just like with any essay, you must use formal and academic language , but remember to be concise and straightforward. It’s the content of what you write that’s important here, so choose your words wisely to show your English language knowledge.
Plus, remember that there’s no specific word count you need to meet.
Our own pro-tip here is to write the introductory paragraph last.
Because many students struggle and waste valuable minutes when trying to begin with the introduction, you can save extra time by explaining and defending your arguments first and writing the intro once you are done.
You’ll see how easy it will be to summarize the main issue and thesis statement once you’ve already developed your points.
Since the GED essay works very similarly to an argumentative paper, there are many more pro-tips you can learn in our guide on how to write an argumentative essay . So be sure to check it out!
Reread and edit your writing (5 min)
Before submitting your essay, you must read what you wrote, check for spelling errors, and ensure that your ideas are clearly understood .
Not editing your essay can be one of your most critical mistakes!
Remember they are testing your understanding of the English language and writing skills; handing in an essay with spelling mistakes, flawed evidence, or poorly structured text can make you lose valuable points.
For this part, it’s crucial you know the most common essay mistakes so you can avoid them!
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GED Essay Sample
Follow all of these tips, and you are guaranteed to pass the GED essay!
However, here you have a GED Testing Service’s essay example that perfectly explains how this assignment should be completed:
Mastering the GED Essay
Now you know how to write the GED essay!
Remember to follow our essay-writing strategy to pass the Language Arts section by demonstrating mastery of your writing skills.
You are more than capable of completing the GED test with the highest score and then applying to the best colleges to continue your educational journey .
Once you make it happen, don’t forget that if you ever need assistance with your essays or classes , Gradehacker is always here to help!
And if you need more tips on how to improve your writing skills , check out these related blog posts:
How to Write a Research Paper | The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
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Santiago Mallea is a curious and creative journalist who first helped many college students as a Gradehacker consultant in subjects like literature, communications, ethics, and business. Now, as a Content Creator in our blog, YouTube channel, and TikTok, he assists non-traditional students improve their college experience by sharing the best tips. You can find him on LinkedIn .
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How to Write a GED Essay
Writing a GED essay – things to consider
The main aim of the GED exam is to test your academic skills, and hence, to prove that you do not differ from most high school graduates. In this sense, the GED essay is similar to many other types of essays that you have to write in school. On the other hand, it requires reflections on particular situations and life experiences. Unlike most of the essays written in high school and college, your GED essay will be focused on a very abstract topic which you should analyze from your personal viewpoint. Remember, the more abstract a topic is, the more there’s room for writing. Thus, your GED paper will have to elucidate topics like: education, society, discrimination and diversity, events from your personal life, etc. You should write what you think about the given issue.
A GED essay is always focused on a very abstract topic which you should analyze from your personal viewpoint. Tweet This
How to write a GED essay – specific tips
Your GED paper should not exceed two pages, but it must be written on both sides of the answer sheet. The essay should be around 200 words long, but it would be a big mistake if you count the number of words. The content of your GED essay is the most important thing. If your essay contains 195 words, the examiners will not reject it. Notwithstanding, you will not pass the exam if the content of your GED essay does not meet the criteria.
Two examiners will be given the task to check your GED essay. Remember : they will be expecting good logical structure and a good way of expressing your thoughts. You must write the GED essay in such a way that the reader will understand your main idea and will find relevant supporting arguments. For that reason, try to be clear and concise. First, write a short draft of the text; then re-write the essay by using the draft. Finally, proofread it carefully. Don’t worry if you have some minor errors. “Minor” here means errors which do not prevent the reader from comprehending your ideas, and also which are not against conventions of the language. If you have omitted two or three commas, or have omitted a letter in a few words, but your text is quite comprehensible and coherent, you will probably pass the exam. If the errors are numerous, then your GED essay will probably be rejected by the examiners.
If you still think that you are not that good at writing, then you should practice writing essays in advance and write at least one per day. Ask your friend to check it afterwards.
- Use only short sentences, connected logically with each other.
- Write a very short introduction and conclusion.
- Prove your thesis with one or two arguments, not more.
- Try to find arguments or facts, which are relevant to the topic.
- Use simple words; if you do not know the meaning of a given scientific term don’t use it.
Remember that the GED exam is focused on your communication and expression skills. If you are able to communicate your ideas to an unknown reader, then you will pass the exam. Be yourself, tell your story and convince the examiners that you deserve to pass.
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Extended Response Resources
EXTENDED RESPONSE Answer Guidelines
EXTENDED RESPONSE Example of a Perfect Score
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How to Write an Essay for the GED Test
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The General Educational Development language arts writing test features two parts: multiple-choice questions and an essay. You have 45 minutes to write an essay on a provided topic or question. This essay should be a short composition that presents your opinion on the topic. Essay scorers evaluate whether you have a good command of the English language and whether you are able to organize and support your ideas clearly.
Organizing Your Thoughts
When you read the essay topic, take a moment to gather your thoughts. By brainstorming and organizing your thoughts logically, you can express your opinions better on paper. As you write, pay attention to the rules that you learned in English class. You must write complete sentences, use correct punctuation and capitalization and select appropriate word choices. An example of a GED test sample question could be “What is the perfect way for you to spend a day off?”
When writing your essay, stick to a five-paragraph structure. The first paragraph is your introduction. The next three paragraphs are the main body, where you support your argument with facts. Each supporting fact should comprise its own paragraph. End with the conclusion. As a rule, write each paragraph so it has at least three sentences, according to Wisc-Online.
In the introduction, state your opinion on the given topic. You do not need to list all the reasons why you feel this way, but give a preview of the details or reasons that you will use to support your argument in the body of your essay. One format to follow is starting with a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention while restating the topic. An example could be “Spending the day with my sister building sandcastles and licking ice cream cones would be my perfect day off.” Following this sentence, write three sentences that support your opinion, and finally write a transition sentence that leads your reader into the body of your paper. An example of a transition sentence could be "To illustrate, I would start my day with homemade blueberry pancakes, and by nightfall I would be rinsing out the sand from between my toes." Then your main body could outline the different activities that took you from sunrise to sunset.
To maintain the flow of your paper, use the first paragraph to expand on the first idea mentioned in your introduction. Start this paragraph with a topic sentence explaining why you chose your position and then write specific examples and details supporting your thoughts. On the GED essay, you are welcome to use personal stories to support your opinion. With a topic such as how to spend a day off, providing vivid descriptions helps bring your essay alive. At the end of this description, write a transition sentence to lead your reader to your next paragraph. Repeat this format two more times.
In your final paragraph, you want to bring all your ideas back together. This gives your reader a recap of your topic and reviews your supporting details. Write this paragraph similarly to your introduction. Begin with another sentence that grabs your reader's attention and reiterates your topic sentence. Then write a brief review of your main points, or three main paragraphs, and end with a final sentence that wraps up your entire essay.
After writing your essay, go back and reread it. You easily can forget a comma or misspell a word during your initial writing. As you reread, ask yourself if your essay has well-focused points, is clearly organized, provides specific details and has correct sentence structure, grammar and spelling.
- Wisc-Online: Laurie Jarvis: GED Essay Writing -- Formula for Success
- McGraw Hill Education: Preparing for the GED Essay
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.
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