Author Archives: Krista

Summer Time!!!

Everyone loves summer time.  We try to play and avoid work as much as possible.  But then, when we come back to classes in the fall, we’ve forgotten everything we’ve worked so hard to learn. 

Project Learn is offering classes throughout the summer at the Akron Summit County Public Library in downtown Akron.  We also have distant learning classes for those of you who are good on the computer and can’t make the classes downtown.  Just call us to set up the classes, 330-434-9461.

Here are a few suggestions to keep you sharp and ready for fall classes. 

  1. Plan on studying for 15 minutes a day.  It’s easy to fit in and you’d be surprised by the benefits.  You can borrow books from the library, but they are in high demand.  I’d recommend buying a used GED book online.  I’ve seen the ones that we use in class for as cheap as $2.00.  Shipping can be anywhere from $3.00-$6.00.  There is a large GED prep book that contains all 5 subjects called, The Complete GED Preparation Book, ISBN#0739828371.  With shipping, it will cost anywhere from $9.00-$15.00.  It’s a great bargain.  One website that I like is
  2. For those of you that struggle with math, doing just 2 problems a day will keep it fresh in your mind.  When it comes to math, use it or lose it, definately applies.
  3. If you don’t want to do any GED prep over the summer I understand.  But, improving your reading comprehension is easy to do.  Simply read an article in the newspaper or a magazine then ask yourself the 5 W’s:  Who, What, Where, When, Why, (and How).  Or better yet, read and discuss it with someone else. 
  4. Take a book outside with a glass of lemonade.  While the kids are outside playing, sit outside with them and look at a magazine (This only works if your kids aren’t constantly saying, “Watch me, Mom,” like mine.) 
  5. Turn off the TV one evening a week and read instead.  Yes, it can be done! 
  6. Go to the library once a week.  Get a yourself a book and a magazine, and some books for the kids.
  7. Spend some time this summer reading to kids, whether they are your own, or someone else’s.
    • See if you can predict what will happen next before you turn the page of a new book. 
    • Come up with a different ending to a favorite book. 
    • Read a story that doesn’t have pictures, then all of you draw your own pictures to go with it. It works great if everyone picks a different area of the book to draw.
    • Once you’ve finished the book, ask them Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. 

 Hope you have a wonderful summer break with your family.  Enjoy the sunshine!


Test Taking Strategies III

Here are just a couple more strategies that I’ve thought of to improve your test taking abilities.

7.  Skip some of the reading.  If you are a slower reader, you can skip some of the reading associated with the writing multiple choice test.  You are given a story, then asked various questions about it.  However, each question rewrites the portion of the story that the question is about.  For every six questions, about five of them can be answered without reading the entire story.  Save the questions that you need to read the story in order to answer, until last.  (The ones like: where should you move the sentence to, or rearrange the paragraphs.)

8.  Use the calculator!!!  For the first half of the math test you may use the Casio calculator.  Use it!  The numbers that are given in this half of the test are difficult (and time consuming) to work with by hand.  That’s why the calculators are provided to you.  You need to work with the calculator before the test to become comfortable and knowledgeable about it.  Be sure to practice the fraction, %, backspace, (, ), x^2, square-root, and +/- keys.  Do several problems using the order of operations to get used to the various keys, and the order in which you must hit them.  Each calculator has a different way of inputting the data, so practice with the specified Casio Scientific GED series calculator.

9.  Graphs, Charts,and Maps.  On many parts of the GED you are given graphs, charts, and maps to analyze.  Be sure to read the title, axises, and any keys first.  Understand what the graphic is showing you before you move on to the question.  I tell my students to imagine that they have to explain the graph to their child.  This helps you to analyze the data.  Then answering the question won’t be near as difficult.

Good luck on your next test.

Test Taking Strategies II

Here are a few more test taking strategies that I tell all of my students.

4.  Pictures are key.  When taking a math test, draw a picture whenever possible.  Most of the test sites don’t let you write in the test booklet.  Instead, draw the picture that is in the test on your scrap paper.  Now write all over it.  Fill in the numbers that you’re given, and any numbers that you come up with on your own.  If you aren’t given a picture, draw your own, it doesn’t take much time, but it benefits you greatly.  Looking at a picture uses a different area of the brain than words.  The more areas of the brain that you can get involved, the better your odds of getting the right answer.

5.  Skipping around.  Everyone gets to a question that makes you go “huh?”.   Don’t let it stress you out.  Instead, go to the next question and save it until the end.  Make sure that you put a small mark to the left of the number on your answer sheet.  This way, it is away from the bubbles so the computer won’t read it as an answer.  By marking it this way, you won’t forget to answer it later, and you won’t put the next answer in the wrong space.   Also, if you don’t have time, or forget to erase the marks later, it’s no big deal.  Many times, giving yourself a break from the difficult questions relieves enough of the pressure that you can better focus on the question at hand.  Then when you return to the questions that you skipped, you’ll have a new perspective that allows you to look at the questions differently.  The result is more correct answers.  And isn’t that what you’re after, anyway?

6.  Essay planning.  When it comes to writing an essay, think about it first.  You have 45 minutes to write the essay.  I suggest spending at least 10 minutes thinking about it first.  Then map out your ideas.  Often, your first response isn’t the one that you can write about the easiest.  For example, here is a possible topic for an essay:  Americans love to watch sports, do you prefer to go to a game, or watch it on TV?  My first response is that I don’t watch sports.  But, since I have to write on this topic, I would have to say that I’d prefer to go to a game.  However, I can’t come up with many reasons why I prefer to go to a game other than I like the action.  On the other-hand, I can come up with several reasons for watching a game on TV.  The cost, comfort, and healthier food are reasons to stay home.  Do your best to come with 3 reasons for your answer.  Then explain them in more detail in your supporting paragraphs.  Your essay is supposed to look like a rough draft.  When you finish writing it, go back over it and make corrections.  Keep in mind that the graders who read the essays have only 60 seconds to read and score it.  Their focus is on whether or not you answered the question and gave support for your answer, not spelling and grammar.

Good luck!


Don’t Lose It

Just a quick note from Krista. ..

Most of us forget some of what we’ve learned over a break from classes.  Since we’re off for three weeks, here is one suggestion to help you “stay smart” over the holiday. 

Pick up a newspaper or a magazine and discuss an article with a family member or a friend.  Analyzing and discussing what you’ve read increases your comprehension, deductive reasoning, and language skills.  All of which will help chase away the cobwebs.  Or should I say sugarplums?

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season.  Teach someone something!

Test Taking Strategies I

Hi, it’s Krista.

One aspect of the GED is gaining test taking skills.  Some people say that taking a test doesn’t test ones knowledge base, but ones ability to take tests.  For people who have test anxiety, this is especially true.  If you “freeze up” or “go blank” because you’re too scarred or nervous about the test, it doesn’t matter if you know the answers or not.  Here are a few suggestions to calm yourself down so that you can focus on the test, instead of your fear of the test.

1.  Begin psyching yourself up.  Tell yourself that the test doesn’t matter.  That it’s “no big deal”.  Tests really don’t matter in the whole scheme of life.  By putting the test into perspective, you will begin to eliminate some of your stress.  Your life won’t be over if you don’t pass one test.  You can always try again later!

2.  Use memory tools.  You have five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight.  The more senses that you get involved, the more you remember.  The number one sense for memory recall is smell.  If you can get the sense of smell involved, you’ll remember considerably more.  I recommend chewing peppermint gum or candy when you study.  Then have the same gum or candy when you take the test.  You could also wear the same perfume or cologne when you study and take your test. 

3.  Break it up.  Most testing centers offer the GED test over two days, while others offer an all day test.  I recommend taking the test in small intervals, the all day test is too overwhelming for most people.  Take the breaks that are provided and do some exercise and deep breathing.  Get out of the testing room!  Walk around outside, do some jumping jacks, and do some stretching.  Then close your eyes and do some belly breathing for about 5 minutes.  Put one hand over your bellybutton and the other hand over your heart, now take slow deep breaths.  Make sure that your lower hand is being pushed out when you inhale.  Now your ready to return to the test.  Your brain and body will be more focused and less stressed out.

Those are just a few test taking strategies.  I’ll be posting more later on.  Have a great holiday!  Enjoy time with your friends and family.

Krista’s Thanksgivings

Hi, it’s Krista.  Though I’ve been teaching GED classes for 7 years, I just recently began teaching at the Interval Brotherhood Home in Akron.  I really enjoy working with the staff and clients here.  The staff is very friendly and helpful.  And the clients are very courteous and motivated to succeed. 

If you’re not familiar with IBH, it is a 60-90 day drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.  The treatment is nearly free to Summit County residents, due to local agencies that help with funding.  One part of the clients treatment is to work towards their GED, if they need one.  Project Learn provides this service.

My students here have given me even more things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.  Every year my family makes a list of at least 10 things that we are each grateful for and we read our lists during Thanksgiving dinner.  My list usually includes the usual:  family, health, happiness, etc.  This year I am going to include something new, freedom from substances. 

I have personally never had to worry about drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.  I am extremely thankful that I don’t even have to think about avoiding these things; I grew up in an environment that made it easy for me to abstain.  I now have a new insight into how fortunate I have been.  There are many people out there that have not been as lucky as me.

I have a great respect for the men and women that have to fight their addictions daily.  It humbles me to work with such extraordinary people.  I’m grateful to Project Learn for giving me the opportunity to teach at IBH.  It’s going to be a great year, full of thankfulness.

PLCC GED class

I’m Krista the ABLE instructor at Portage Lakes Career Center.  At our site, we have Pre-GED, GED, and Pre-Nursing students. 

 We have about 25 students currently coming to class.  Our students have been post-testing this week.  Most of the 14 students that post-tested have made much progress.  Some of our students increased 5 grades or more since starting the class.  Way to go class!!!  We should have about 6 students ready for the GED before the end of the year.  Enjoy the Thanksgiving break. 

See you on the 27th of November!