GED Essay Writing

Writing essays can be intimidating for adult learners. Writing one that can determine your next steps in life can be terrifying. So how do you approach this subject with your students? At the beginning, of course! But you need a plan. Here are five steps to essay writing (plus a video to see it in practice!) for the 45 minutes allotted by GED.

1. Brainstorm! Organize your thoughts clearly. Then prioritize your best three ideas, or the ones you can write the most about. Put your ideas in order. The rule of thumb is to put your strongest point last, but if you feel that there is a more logical order, go for it.

2. Add details to your ideas. As you’re writing, you’re likely to forget all the reasons why something was a great idea, so add your supporting points underneath your argument or main point.

(Complete the first two steps in less than 10 minutes)

3. Develop a topic sentence. Take the prompt and turn it into a sentence, no need to be creative. Then, create subsequent topic sentences for your three main arguments. Brainstorm different ways of saying common adjectives and phrases so you don’t lose points on word choice. (ex: good can be great, fair, helpful, etc.)

4. Start writing! Put your ideas into sentences. Remember, you don’t have to start with the introduction. Write what you are most confident with first to get the ball rolling.

5. Review your work. If you have time, go over your essay to make sure it is clear and concise.

GED Five Paragraph Essay Video

For more videos and resources available to print, visit Brenna’s MLoTs page. 

Programs help students pursue career credentials while studying for the GED

Students without a high school diploma or GED are being helped through transition programs offered by school districts and state colleges in Florida.  A growing number of post secondary educational programs now allow students to begin studying to attain a career credential while working toward a GED. This option is being facilitated by programs which offer an alternative to traditional courses of study  that require a high school degree or equivalent before enrolling in college.  A 2010 study of the Workforce Strategy Center showed that fifty-seven percent of adults in bridge programs possess educational skills below the 10th-grade level, with 19 percent having skills below the sixth-grade level.

Donna Roberts, Assistant Professor, at Indian River State College stated, “These programs work and help students to succeed. The idea that they can get a head start on their future and see light at the end of the tunnel is very inviting. There are many motivating forces for adult education students. They have a strong need to apply what they have learned, or are learning, to the real world. They are motivated when they find relevance or worth in their studies. However, creating a culture and climate of continued support and mentoring for our students is a vital component of keeping them focused and motivated.”

Indian River State College and several other Florida institutions have been noted by the National Career Pathways Network as models in the field providing transition services for adults.  The focus on Career Pathways and the use of CHOICES, the free on-line career exploration program, are becoming part of the initial intake for many adult education students.


Some examples of programs that do not require a GED for completions include

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Air Conditioning
  • Refrigeration & Heating
  • Autocad Foundations
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Barbering
  • Basic Electronics
  • Child Development & Early Intervention
  • Culinary Operations
  • Commercial Vehicle Driving
  • Cosmetology/Nails/Facials
  • Dietetic Management & Supervision
  • Digital Media Support
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Electronics; Electronic Technology
  • Graphic Design Support
  • Insurance
  • Landscape & Horticulture Technology
  • Lasers & Photonics
  • Legal Administrative Specialist
  • Medical Administrative Specialist
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Patient Care Assistant
  • Phlebotomy
  • Private Security Officer & Statewide Childcare Worker.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 12

Top Stories in Literacy

Adult Education Programs at Daytona State College Hit Hard by Fees
The 50.5 percent drop in enrollment occurred this spring semester at campuses in Volusia and Flagler counties compared to spring 2011. The drop is slightly higher than the 48.3 percent the college saw in the fall compared to fall of 2010.

Public Pressure Works as State Funds Return to Flagler’s Disabled Adults Services
It was a close call, but as of today (March 2), the Flagler County school district will not lose some $600,000 in state funds to run several programs for the disabled in its Adult Education division. In essence, most–but not all–of the 18 jobs in the division will be saved.

Parent Trigger Debate: Florida’s Controversial Parent Trigger Bill for Failing Schools
The “parent trigger” bill has prompted an outcry from critics, who view it as a way to snatch power from local school boards and convince parents to turn public campuses over to private companies.

Program Helps Unemployed Land Jobs
A Miami-Dade College program that once helped displaced homemakers is seeing more laid-off workers and retirees trying to get back into the job market. Computer classes most popular.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 5

Top Stories in LiteracySchools try to match jobless with the 3.4 million open jobs
Ever since the deep recession hit four years ago, many colleges have been rethinking their continuing education programs, straining to figure out how best to help the many unemployed Americans who have looked to them as a lifeline.

Florida Senate passes $71.2 billion budget
The Florida Senate approved a $71.2-billion budget Thursday that boosts funding for classrooms and people with disabilities, but slashes dollars meant for hospitals, adult mental health treatment and higher education.

Florida board approves school grading changes
The State Board of Education made some concessions to local school officials, parents and other critics Tuesday before approving rule changes making it tougher for Florida schools to get top grades.

Nonprofits Pin Their Social-Media Efforts on New Network
Pinterest, the popular new social network that allows people to share virtual pinboards of photos and links, is helping the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption do something it can’t on other social-media sites: share its personality.

Helping Students Practice for a Job Fair and Interview

Career Pathways and workforce readiness have always been important topics in adult education. In the recent economy, it has been a strong drive for people to sign up for ESOL, ABE, and GED classes. In previous posts, we discussed how to integrate career readiness in everyday curriculum. Today I found some great videos to help your student prepare for a job fair or an interview. Role play with your students. Take turns being the interviewer and the interviewee for both of this situations.

How to Work a Job Fair
There are several job fairs that happen around the state of Florida focusing in different industries. Help your student stand out amongst the hundreds of other interest applicants by practicing these techniques.

Practicing for a Job Interview
Being prepared for a job interview can be the difference between being hired and barely making the cut. These videos go over how to answer the simple and tricky questions, as well as proper body language.

Top Literacy Stories: January 16

Jacksonville mayor to announce week-long financial literacy program
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown today will announce a week-long series of free financial literacy events in May to improve the financial management skills of the community.

The Charter Schools Agenda in Tallahasee
One of the bills, SB 1162, creates “family charter academies,” a new class of publicly funded, privately run schools, that would allow parents to attend school with their children. Bringing an integrated approach to adult education, the schools would “assist adults and parents in setting and obtaining goals for helping their children with homework, obtaining a job, enrolling in vocational training, or earning a GED certificate.”

Audits on heart and joint procedures chill Florida doctors
A story from this week’s Tampa Bay Times notes that Medicare audits in FL are on hold. Pre-payment review of high-dollar procedures that tend to be over-done in Florida hospitals created an outcry from doctors

How Nonprofits Make Data Fun and Informative
Whether they are bringing attention to an important cause, explaining their internal operations, or demonstrating the impact of their work, nonprofits can use infographics to present data in a way that is far more engaging and efficient than what could be conveyed with words alone.

Jan Smith: Higher Education Blues

We’ve all been there – after months of preparation, our student passes the GED exam and has great plans to go to college only to be discouraged by the amount of paperwork required for admissions, financial aid, and class registration.

In addition, funding a postsecondary education can be overwhelming especially for non-traditional students who have had to overcome many barriers already to get to this point of their education.

As counselors, tutors, and instructors for Adult Ed/ESOL students, you play an important role in transitioning your students to higher education.  Rather than re-creating the wheel, use the following FREE resources and ideas to help guide your students through the financial aid maze:

1)  Consider having an OSFA Outreach Representative visit your classroom.  The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), Florida Department of Education, administers state grants and scholarships for Florida.  An Outreach Representative is available to speak directly with your students about financial aid options and other financial literacy topics such as budgeting, managing credit, school and life management, searching for scholarships, and more.

Did you know that the Bright Futures Scholarship is available for GED students too?  Students must apply and meet general eligibility requirements BEFORE taking the GED exam to be considered.  For more information, please visit their website.

To learn more about OSFA’s free resources and locate an Outreach    Representative near you, please visit

2)  The U.S. Department of Education offers guidance through its  Select “Non-Traditional Students” to find a step by step guide for approaching higher education.

3)  The Federal Trade Commission offers many free resources and lists scholarship scams reported to the agency.  For more information, please and search for “scholarship scams” to read the latest reports of fraudulent activity.

4)  Consider organizing a “Searching for Scholarships” group that meets weekly and allows students to help each other with applications and essays.

Marilyn McMullan: Incorporating Career Awareness into your Daily Curriculum

It’s a rare student who comes into my ABE/GED classroom without the intention to get a job or get a better job.  Students are well aware that without strong literacy skills and a high school diploma or GED, their career options are really limited.  However, I find that only a few have clear understandings of what jobs may be available, or what skills are necessary for those jobs.  For many, the motivator is something like:  “I hear you can make good money as a _______”.  Rarely do students have a clear view of the variety of careers available.  As teachers, we need to help them get this information.   Students also tend to think of the skills they are learning as something for “the test” and disconnected from the skills they would need for a career or for life.   As teachers, we need to bring students closer to the understanding that while the skills we are teaching are for “the test”, they apply to the world of work as well.

An easy way to fill both these needs is to train yourself to use examples which emphasize career reference.  For instance, instead of “The dog (ran, is running, will run) down the street yesterday”, how about “The computer technician (ran, is running, will run) a virus check on my computer yesterday”?  Instead of “One third of the 75 books were fiction”, how about “One third of the 75 prescriptions filled by the pharmacy tech were antibiotics”?  As we teach, we need to constantly use career references in our examples and skills practice so that our students become familiar with various occupations and relate the skills they are learning to those occupations.

Marilyn McMullan

Another way to incorporate career awareness into skills teaching is to structure lessons around a certain occupation.  Take a few minutes to do a quick internet search for information on an occupation, especially one with high job availability in Florida.  Copy or rewrite an article on a radiologist, mix up the paragraphs, and have the students put them in the correct order.  Copy or rewrite a paragraph about legal assistants, leave out the commas and have students correct it.  Use truck drivers or transportation for questions dealing with the distance/ rate/time formula, calculating miles per gallon, or figuring gas cost per trip.  No matter what individual skill your students need or what level you are teaching, you will increase your students’ interest and knowledge by incorporating career awareness into your daily curriculum.

Gary Udouj: Teaching Technology for Career Success

The Fort Smith Adult Education Center is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a mid-sized manufacturing city in western Arkansas.  As layoffs continue to affect our region, more adults are coming to our center not only to get a GED credential or review basic academic skills, but to learn how to find a new job using technology.  Last year our program served almost 3000 adults, and only 915 were employed. Many of the adults we serve had worked in manufacturing for 20+ years before being laid off. These adults have discovered that finding a new job now requires them to use computers to both seek out and apply for jobs.

In order to meet this demand, our center started offering two new classes: Digital Literacy and Technology for Career Success.  Our Digital Literacy class teaches adults computer basics, from turning on a computer to managing folders to accessing the internet and creating email accounts.  Many of our adult students do not own computers at home, and have found this introductory course to be essential. The course is taught over 12 hours, meeting twice a week for four weeks.

Once they have the basics, adults can then take our 12 hour Technology for Career Success. This course helps the students create resumes, write cover letters, fill out online job applications, search of jobs, and prepare for job interviews.  When taught in conjunction with our Career Readiness Certificate course and WAGE certificate courses, students leave us with the resumes, soft skills, technology, academic and interview skills needed to find a better job or move on to post-secondary training. Teachers work together to bring in Human Resource professionals from area businesses to conduct mock interviews, review resumes, and give the students feedback.

For more information about Career Readiness CertificateWAGE Certificate, or Technology for Career Success, please visit our website.

Top Stories in Literacy November 28

The Latino Digital Divide
Latinos are widely recognized as leading technology adopters – from mobile phones and devices to tablet computers, Latinos lead Americans in purchasing, and using this technology for some reasons we understand, and others we are just beginning to. Despite these facts, the digital divide yet to be addressed is in two areas: internet at home and digital literacy.

Microsoft launches “Elevate America,” a program to help veterans attain job skills
Microsoft, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor in a liaison role, and local workforce areas, is proud to offer U.S. military veterans and their eligible spouses, vouchers for no-cost IT skills training and certification designed to help build the technology skills employers are looking for. Could you use this in your program?

Building Financial Literacy through benefits research and education
A new series of research-based educational materials from Unum offers personal stories, compelling statistics and clear explanations of the role employee benefits play in protecting the financial foundations of individuals, families, businesses and the government.

Fewer Patients Researching Personal Health Issues
In 2007, 56% of American adults reported seeking health information from sources other than their physician, including the Internet, books, magazines, and newspapers; friends or relatives; and radio or television. This number has since declined. Where are people getting this information? Where else can this be addressed?

Degrees of Literacy: It’s not just about reading and writing anymore
While some people have graduated high school with functional reading skills, this is not enough to meet the demands of American society. Financial, health, digital, and interpersonal literacy are all large components to be truly functional.