GED Test Information

What is the GED?

GED is short for General Educational Development, though it is also often thought to be an acronym for General Equivalency Diploma or General Education Diploma. Each of these refers to the same thing, a test given individuals in the United States and Canada who did not receive a high school diploma. By taking and passing the GED test they are able to certify that they have high-school level academic skills. What's more, beginning in January of 2014 the test will expand its mission to provide an academic springboard beyond high school equivalency and prepare GED graduates for college and beyond. The test is developed by the The GED Testing Service, and joint venture between the American Council on Education and Pearson.

GED Test Requirements

To take the GED test one must be at least 17 years. One must also pay a GED testing fee which is set by the test's jurisdiction. The test can be given on a computer or pencil and paper format at an official location, so taking the roughly seven hour exam in person is required. Fortunately there are over 3000 locations to take the exam in the United States alone. Some of the benefits of the computer version include faster registration and scheduling, a typed essay, working at your own pace and instant unofficial results. Beginning in 2014, the test will be primarily delivered on a computer, with paper testing available as an option.

GED Test Components

The GED is a battery of five tests; Language Arts (Reading), Language Arts (Writing), Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Each test awards a score between 200 and 800, with 800 indicating the test taker's knowledge is comparable to that of the top 1% of graduating high-school seniors. Most jurisdictions require students to obtain a score of 410 on each of the five tests and an overall average of 450 per test to pass the GED battery. Beginning in January of 2014 the test will change to four content areas: Reasoning through Language Arts (150 minutes), Mathematical Reasoning (90 minutes), Science (90 minutes), and Social Studies (90 minutes).

GED Language Arts (Reading) Test

The Reading portion of the GED is a 40 question test taking a maximum of 65 minutes. The test consists of seven, 300-400 word passages. The test taker must read the passages and answer questions to demonstrate reading comprehension. The passages come from a variety of fiction and non-fiction sources.

GED Language Arts (Writing) Test

The Writing portion of the GED is a two part test. The first is a 50 question test on sentence structure, sentence organization, usage and mechanics. There are 75 minutes available for this section of the test. Test takers are expected to read sample sentences then correct or improve the text.

The second portion is a 45 minutes essay on an assigned topic. Generally the remaining time from the first portion of this test may be used to supplement the 45 minutes. The goal of the essay is to demonstrate the ability to organize thoughts, develop ideas and show knowledge of sentence structure, grammar and punctuation.

GED Mathematics Test

The Mathematics portion is 90 minutes, split into two equal parts. The first differs in that test takers can use calculators issued by the testing center. The second portion does not allow calculators. Test takers are asked a series of multiple choice and grid based questions. These questions cover mathematical disciplines including geometry, statistics, algebra, measurement and others.

GED Science Test

The Science portion of the test is 80 minutes covering physical science, life science, space and earth science. The 50 multiple choice questions test the candidate's ability to interpret tables, graphs, diagrams, charts and text. The questions focus on testing those skills a scientifically literate adult should be able to understand and perform in academic and professional settings.

GED Social Studies Test

The Social Studies portion of the test is 70 minutes and 50 questions in length. This section covers topics such as economics, geography, government, history and civics. Candidates read short passages and answer multiple-choice questions.

GED Preparation

There are many ways a candidate for the GED can prepare for the battery of GED tests. Local adult education centers are a valuable resource. Often they have materials or live courses available. If not, they will be able to refer a candidate to a respected source, such as private GED preparation courses or community college programs.

For those preferring self-paced GED preparation to instructor led courses, a variety of online GED test prep programs exist. Many cable broadcasters even provide programming on demand.

Online GED Testing

There is a lot of confusion around the ability to take the GED test online. Put simply... you cannot take the GED online. Only online test preparation courses are available. The GED test must be taken in person at a certified GED testing location.

GED Practice Test Online

There are a great many online GED practice test offerings. Some are full GED practice tests online; others are more specific to separate sections of the GED exam.

Two free GED practice exam services I would endorse are from www.gedstudyguide.org and from www.practice4ged.com.

GED Preparation Class Online

There are a lot of sites and companies advertising online GED prep classes. Unfortunately it is difficult to gauge all of them myself. One that is commonly endorsed is produced by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) through the University of Pennsylvania. They require a user to create a login to access their materials, but that login comes at no cost.

I would be happy to endorse additional GED preparation courses if any visitor would send me a private email giving some details on their experiences.

GED Language Options

In addition to English, the GED is offered in Spanish and French language versions. For those with special needs, Braille, audio and large-print versions are also available. Please contact your selected testing center ahead of time if any of these versions will be required.

GED Centers

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