The Definitive 21 Day Plan For Passing The GED Math Test While Spending As Little Time & Money As Possible!
…but if you learned there was a much better and faster way, would you go for it?
Part of my inspiration for this post came from YouTuber Daniel Haddock, who put a video out recently about his experience taking the test.
One of his main points is that you can self-study for the test and pass it in a relatively short period of time!
How much time you’ll need to pass each section will vary based on your background, but in this post I’m going to outline an intensive study plan designed to get YOU ready to pass the math section after just 3 weeks of studying!
Before we jump into the plan, let me clarify a few very important points.
- A one size fits all magic bullet solution
- A program designed to spoonfeed you the material
What this plan IS:
- A no-nonsense express lane system for passing the math test after just 3 weeks of studying
- A system designed to be completed with less than 2 hours a day spent studying
- A system you can use without spending a cent over $20!
Who this plan is NOT for:
- Those who are not ready to set aside 2 hours a day max for the next 21 days to dedicate to their preparation
- Those who are not willing to part with $20 to spend on the required materials
- Those who are not ready to do the brutal hard work required to finish the plan in it’s entirety
Who this plan IS for:
- Those seeking an exciting and rewarding challenge
- Those looking to permanently transform their math skills
- Those willing to discipline themselves to give this plan 100% for the next 21 days!
Please know that i’m really not trying to scare anyone off here, it’s just that most people who set out to finish this plan will NEVER finish it!
I’m really hoping you’ll be one of the few who do complete it, because I can almost guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that this plan WILL work for you if you just do all of the work exactly as it’s prescribed!
Q: Why do I say this program is only “almost guaranteed” to work?
A: The simple truth is that nothing in life is ever really guaranteed! The outcome you achieve will be largely dependent on how hard you work!
It’s impossible to take more out of life than what you put in! If you put a little in, you’ll only get a little out. But if you put a lot in, you’ll get a lot out!
The next three weeks of your life are going to pass whether you want them to or not, so why not take a chance and see for yourself if this plan will work for you?
Worst case scenario is that you spend $20 and 3 weeks of your time busting it towards your goal of passing the test.
Even if it doesn’t work for you, you’ll still be MUCH closer to your goal!
Best case scenario is that you’ll be ready to pass the real test in just three weeks from the day you start! You finish the program, ace the math section, and put it behind you for good!
What do you have to lose?
Part 1: The REQUIRED Materials:
1. “That Tutor Guy’s” GED math videos
Chris, aka “That Tutor Guy” is a Stanford-educated tutor with many years of experience. His videos are hands-down some of the best GED math prep videos out there!
The quality is outstanding, and he does a great job of making the material easy to understand! I highly recommend the thattutorguy.com videos!
***To stay true to the theme of spending less than $20 total, you just need to buy the $7 one week trial version! You won’t be watching every video during this program. I’ve tried really hard to include videos on the most important topics, and you’ll learn the rest from the other materials!
That being said, I’d highly recommend buying a month long subscription anyway if you can afford it, but you absolutely don’t have to do this to complete the 21 day challenge!
2. The Champions’ Guide To Winning on the 2017 GED® Test Math Section
Yes, this is our product, but you’ll get 200 instructional practice problems & solutions for only $6.00! The Champions’ Guide is the cornerstone of this program!
3. YouTube videos from Khan Academy, Math Antics, and patrickJMT.
Price: These are 100% free, you just need access to YouTube!
***It’s going to be helpful to install the plugin to speed up your YouTube videos. Here’s where you can get it: youtube-playback-speed.
4. A MyGED Math Practice Test
***On the last day of the program you’re going to take an official practice test, so you don’t need to buy this until day 21!!
5. A notebook, paper, and pens/pencils
I recommend buying a brand new notebook, and a packet of cheap white printer paper.
The key is to only use the notebook for your math notes, and to use the printer paper to practice problems on.
***DON’T work on practice problems in the same notebook you use for your notes unless you’re copying down specific examples that cover key points. Keep your scratch paper and your notes separate!
Price: You can spend as much or as little as you want on this stuff, it’s totally up to you! If you’re on a really low budget, just go to the Dollar Store!
Q: Can I just use Khan Academy’s free videos instead of That Tutor Guy’s?
A: I strongly recommend getting at least get the $7 one week trial on thattutorguy.com!
While I agree Khan Academy is awesome, Chris’s videos will probably work better for you if your goal is raw speed!
As you’ll see, Khan Academy has a place in this plan too, just not as big of a place as Chris’s videos.
Q: Why isn’t Kaplan’s prep book included here?
A: Regular readers of this blog already know that I’m a big fan of Kaplan’s prep materials. However, to stay consistent with the $20 or less budget theme, I didn’t include any Kaplan stuff here.
If you already have Kaplan’s “purple book,” you can use it for reference or for extra practice during the second and third weeks if you want. However, it’s really not necessary as long as you follow all the instructions!
Part 2: The Plan Explained
The plan you’re going to follow is a simple one: each day you will be given work to do from the prep materials I listed above.
All you have to do is make sure to complete the work assigned each day, and you’re going to be ready to pass at the end of the 21 days!
The plan is based on the following learning principles:
I wrote a whole blog post on the science behind this (see Get Straight A’s With The Spacing Effect!), but here’s the basic concept: you need lots of repetitions to effectively learn material, but spacing the repetitions out over time instead of massing them into one session is necessary to cement the material in your mind.
For example, you’ll notice in the plan how the videos on functions are spread out over a few days rather than lumped into one day. This was done intentionally!
Interleaving goes hand-in-hand with spacing, and basically means incorporating different topics into your study sessions rather than focusing on just a single topic.
For example, on the real test, you might get a few geometry questions about triangles, but it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get them all back to back!
The real test will be more like this: You may have to solve a question about triangles, then immediately switch gears and solve an algebra question, then switch gears again to solve a fractions question.
Studies show that mixing up different topics improves your learning and retention. The ability to distinguish between different types of problems and strategies is a CRITICAl skill that you WILL develop from this program!
3. Deliberate Practice
Deliberate Practice is the one key above all else that will skyrocket your progress!
Deliberate practice is basically what it sounds like: practicing a task to deliberately improve your performance! The way you do this is by constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by doing tasks that stretch your abilities to the limit!
Deliberate practice takes a lot of effort and intensity, but it will get you results faster than any other method!
The main way you’re going to incorporate deliberate practice into your studying is by working on math problems that continuously challenge you! You will do this by answering math questions and then comparing your answer against the correct answer to see what the difference is between them.
The more time you spend doing this, the faster you will get results! Quality is more important than quantity; an hour of high-intensity hard work will pay you back much faster than 3 hours of low-intensity work!
The testing effect is very similar to deliberate practice. The concept is that taking practice tests and doing practice problems boosts your learning and retention. Tons of studies have demonstrated this!
Okay, so this isn’t really a “scientifically proven” learning principle that I’m aware of, but it’s another key to your success! Let me illustrate what I mean by “insurance” with an example:
To study functions, you will be watching videos from Khan Academy, Math Antics, and patrickJMT. Just watching one of these YouTubers alone might be enough for you to understand functions, but by watching them all, you’ll see the material explained a few different ways.
***Often when you’re having trouble understanding a math concept, having it explained to you in a slightly different way does the trick!
General Tips and Suggestions:
- Your goal each day is to complete everything assigned, and then you’re done for the day!
- Take it a day at a time and try not to worry about what’s coming up next!
- Please resist the urge to move ahead of the schedule! This is key to avoid burnout!
- It should only take you about 2 hours to complete the workload each day.
- As you progress through the plan, you’ll probably find you don’t need as much time to finish each day!
- If you’re at the 2 hour mark and you’re almost done, go ahead and finish out. Just be more efficient the the next day!
- If you’re taking 3 hours to finish the work or more in a given day, you’re not working fast enough!
- Make sure you’re keeping up with the schedule!
- If for some reason you get off track, you need to do whatever it takes to get caught back up quickly, or else you risk falling too far behind to finish in 21 days!
- There are a handful of rest days and “lighter” days in the schedule. If you’re all caught up, reward yourself by taking the day off. If you’re not, then use the time wisely to get back on track!
- Please don’t add anything on during the first week! It’s very important that you get through all of the recommended videos during the first week, and trying to add in extra work will only bog you down!
- There will be some room in the schedule as you get closer to the end to add extra work in if you want to.
- Take lots of notes, but don’t overdo it to the point where it’s taking you too long to finish each day!
- Keep your head up!
- Remember that you’re trying to learn 4 years worth of high school math essentials in 21 days! This isn’t going to be easy!
- While at least a little bit of frustration is to be expected, if at any point you’re feeling really overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out, STOP! The 21 day program might just not be for you! I’d encourage you to still complete it, but to instead extend it to 4 or even 5 weeks (or more) if necessary.
Also, although I caution you against changing the plan too much, it’s ultimately up to you what you do! Everyone has their own learning style/background, so if you do need to make some tweaks to best meet your needs, that’s fine!
***Important instructions for the videos:
As you watch Chris’s videos and the other YouTube videos, pause them whenever an example problem is covered and try to work the problem out on your own first!
This is ESSENTIAL for maximizing your efficiency, and you probably won’t pass the test if you don’t do this! Remember, if you put a little in, you’ll get a little out, but if you put a lot in, you’ll get a lot out!
Don’t worry too much about remembering everything, just try to understand the material as it’s presented to you and take good notes!
If you take too many notes though, you’re going to have trouble finishing each day on time!
Here are some tips on taking notes:
- Try your best to keep your notes organized and legible!
- I recommend starting a new page for each day and labeling the page clearly at the top with a header and the date (i.e. Day 1 – Thursday, April 13, 2017)
- Add lots of labels so you can quickly find what you’re looking for when you review your notes (i.e. Champions’ Guide 101 – 125 notes)
- Highlighters and colored pens work well to mark key concepts!
- Don’t try to write down everything! This will cause you a lot of frustration!
- Always try to rephrase things in your own words!
- Try to copy down at least 1 key example for each major topic. Include a step-by-step explanation of how to solve the problem in your own words (write this as if you were teaching someone else how to do it)
- Focus mostly on writing down things that you don’t think you’ll remember, and don’t worry too much about writing down things you’re sure you’ll remember!
- Write down any insights, tips, and strategies that are presented
There’s a lot of material to get through, so don’t feel bad about using the solutions as much as you need to!
2. Try to identify what “type” of problem it is. For example, is it a system of equations problem? A greatest common factor problem? etc…
3. Ask yourself: have I solved a similar problem before?
4. Ask yourself: have I used all of the given information?
Part 4: The Plan
- Operations with Integers – Intro to PEMDAS
- Exponents – Intro to Exponents
- Exponents – Exponent Rules, Like Bases, & Negative Exponents
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #1 – #10
1. Watch These ThatTutorGuy.com Videos:
- Exponents – Scientific Notation
- Square Roots – simplifying roots & radicals
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #11 – #20
1. Watch these ThatTutorGuy.com Videos:
- Ratios & Proportions
- Percentages – Percents as Ratios
- Percentages – Percents As Decimals
- Geometry: Areas of Rectangles & Squares
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems:#21 – #30
1. Watch the ThatTutorGuy.com Videos:
- Geometry: Basic Circle Area Problems
- Substituting values for x – Intro to Variables & Expressions
- Setting up an Equation – How to Translate Words Into Equations
- Operations with Polymonials – Adding Polynomials (a.k.a. Combining Like Terms)
- Operations with Polymonials – Solving Equations With Distribution
***Take the day off on The Champions’ Guide problems, OR get caught up on problems #1 – #30!
1. Watch these ThatTutorGuy.com Videos:
- Operations with Polymonials – Distribution (a.k.a. “multiplying stuff out”)
- Operations with Polymonials – Basic FOIL on 2-by-2 parentheses
- Factoring – Factoring Stuff Out (a.k.a. “distribution in reverse”)
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #31 – #40
1. Watch these ThatTutorGuy.com Videos:
- Factoring – Easier Factoring Problems
- Linear Equations to One Variable – Solving Equations With Addition & Subtraction Only]
- Linear Equations to One Variable – Solving Equations With Multiplication & Division]
- Linear Equations to One Variable – Solving Two Step Equations
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #41 – #50
***You’ve just completed the first 50 problems of the Champions’ Guide! Great work!
1. Watch these ThatTutorGuy.com Videos:
- System of Equations – Solving Systems of Simultaneous Equations with Elimination
- System of Equations – Solving Systems of Simultaneous Equations with Substitution
- Inequalities – Solving “Linear” Inequalities
***Congratulations for finishing all of the recommended That Tutor Guy videos!!
Please make sure to go back and watch any that you may have missed today because it’s the last day of your $7 trial!
***No Champions’ Guide Problems for today!
Day 8: Rest & Review Day!
If you’ve followed the schedule so far, give yourself a big congratulations because you’re now one step closer to acing the test!
There are only two things to do today:
1. Make sure you’re caught up on The Champions’ Guide problems #1 – 50!
2. Do a quick review of your notes from days 1 – 8.
***After you’ve done these two things, take the day off and do something fun and relaxing as your reward for completing a tough week!
It’s very important to take it easy today to avoid burnout, as the remainder of this program will be challenging!
1. Watch These YouTube Videos:
- Algebra Basics: What are functions? Math Antics
- Introduction to functions, Khan Academy
- Functions Part 2, Khan Academy
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #51 – #75
1. Watch these YouTube Videos:
- Function Notation, patrickJMT
- Graphic a Basic Function, Khan Academy
- Functions (Part III), Khan Academy
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #76 – #100
1. Watch Khan Academy YouTube Videos:
- Domain of a function | Functions and their graphs
- Relations and functions | Functions and their graphs, Khan Academy
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #101 – #125
***You’re probably getting really sick of functions at this point! Be glad to hear that we’re done studying them for now!
1. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #126 – #150
***Take the rest of your study time today to make sure you’ve watched all the recommended videos on functions, and to review your notes!
Day 13: Rest & Review Day!
***Congratulations on your work up to this point! The end is getting closer, and you’re about to make the final push! Spend today catching up on anything you’ve missed, and reviewing your notes!
1.Watch/Do patrickJMT’s Full Length Sample Test Questions: #1 – #10
***Instructions: Start a video, pause it, work the question out on your own, then watch patrickJMT’s explanation to see if you’re right!
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #151 – #175
1. Watch/Do patrickJMT’s Full Length Sample Test Questions: #11 – 20
2. Do The Champions’ Guide Problems: #176 – #209
***If you’ve followed the plan up to this point, you’ve just completed the entire Champions’ Guide! Great work!!! Your efforts will pay you back BIG TIME on the real test!
1. Watch/Do patrickJMT’s Full Length Sample Test Questions: # 21 – 35
1. Watch/Do patrickJMT’s Full Length Sample Test Questions: # 36 – 46
***If you’ve followed the plan up to this point, you’ve just completed patrickJMT’s full practice test playlist!!!
This stuff is NOT EASY, so be really proud of yourself for making it this far!
You’re almost done! Now would be a good time to think about scheduling the real exam!
Day 18: Rest & Review
***Take the day off to get caught up on anything you may have missed, and to review your notes!
You’re SO CLOSE!!! Don’t stop now!
1. Watch/Do patrickJMT’s ‘Most Missed’ Sample Questions: #1 – 15
Days 19 and 20 should be pretty light days for you!
Use any extra study time you have after finishing your work for the day to review your notes, or to scrounge YouTube for videos on topics you need extra work on!
***Note: The Official Testing Service put out a list of the most missed question. Fortunately, patrickJMT has done us a great service and compiled a playlist with interactive practice problems on each topic! You should do these problems just like you did the ones from the other playlist!
Here’s the link to the most missed analysis if you’re interested: http://www.gedtestingservice.com/uploads/files/126de0283c94ff6323b3b5b3f310da5d.pdf
1. Watch/Do patrickJMT’s ‘Most Missed’ Sample Questions: #16 – 27
***Spend any extra study time you have today reviewing your notes and clarifying any topics you don’t have down 100% yet!
1. Take an math official practice test!
Instructions: Today’s the big day! Go to the Official Testing Service website and login or create a MyGED account. From your dashboard, select to take a math practice test!
Although this practice test won’t be as long as the real thing, treat it as seriously as if it was the real thing! Go somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted and do it!
After you’re done with the practice test, you’ll have finished the 21 day plan!!!
Congratulations! If you’ve done everything you were supposed to do, you’re going to pass the real test!
Interpreting your practice test results:
Likely To Pass: If your results tell you you’re likely to pass, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You’re ready to go and ace the real test for sure!
You’re going to get a score report, which will indicate some of the skills you can improve on. Even though you should be good to pass at this point, please make sure to spend some time brushing up on the suggested topics!
Aim to take the real math test within a few days of passing your practice test! The longer you wait now, you run the risk of forgetting stuff!
Too close to call: If your results tell you’re too close to call, this is a good thing! Now, obviously it’s not as good as getting a likely to pass, but you’re still probably in pretty good shape!
If you get a too close to call, the main thing is to figure out why!
Reviewing your score report is CRITICAL here to help you pinpoint where you need some work! There are probably only a few tweaks you’ll need to make to ensure you’re ready to pass the real thing, so take at least a day or two to do a really thorough review of your weak areas!
Go back and review your notes, scrounge YouTube for extra help videos, or simply do a Google search on the topics you’re having trouble with.!
It’s also worth consider whether factors such as having to finish within the time limit or test taking anxiety may have played a role in your practice test result!
Really keep your eye on the ball here, because if you got a too close to call score, you’ll likely be ready to pass the real test very soon without too much extra work!
As I said, spend a few days reviewing your weak areas, then go pass the real test with confidence as soon as your gut tells you you’re ready!
Not Likely To Pass: What if you really bombed the practice test?
As long as you’ve actually completed ALL of the work EXACTLY as I prescribed it, you should score in at least the too close to call range on your practice test!
However, if you didn’t, don’t panic! It’s perfectly understandable why you might feel at least a little discouraged after all the work you did, but don’t give up now!
Follow the instructions as I outlined them for the too close to call scores, and try to really narrow down your weak areas!
I’d highly suggest going back through The Champions’ Guide for a second time to repeat the problems you had trouble with during your first run. It’s probably a good idea to do them all again though!
Try really hard to fill in any gaps in your understanding of the material. Take your time and review the topics that are confusing you, then go and pass the real test when you feel ready!
Note: Moving forward, I may still make some adjustments to the plan (mostly to clarify things) as more and more test takers try it out and give me feedback. However, the basics will always still apply!
Thanks for reading this guide, I really hope you found it helpful! Good luck on your test!