Taking the GED Exam
GED stands for "General Education Development," and your GED diploma is considered the equivalent of a high school diploma in the United States. If you didn't finish high school for some reason, you can take the GED exam instead.
Passing the GED test will open doors with prospective employers while helping you continue your education, if you choose to. Finishing high school or completing a GED program is a requirement for admission to a community college as well as trade schools.
Passing the GED will open a lot of doors for you. Don't let your lack of a high school diploma hold you back any longer.
What is on the GED Test?
The GED test has five components, each of which is scored out of a possible 800 points. Thus, the maximum score you can possibly get on the GED is 4,000. An average score is 500 out of 800 on each section, for a total of 2,500 points. To pass the test, you must get at least 450 points on each of the five sections. The five sections are:
- Section 1: Language Arts, Writing. In the first part of the writing section, you'll have to display your understanding of sentence structure and mechanics. In the second part, you'll have to write an essay.
- Section 2: Language Arts, Reading. You will have to display your ability to understand and interpret poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction and technical writing.
- Section 3: Social Studies. Your knowledge of history, geography, civics and economics will be tested in this section.
- Section 4: Sciences. This part of the test will challenge your understanding of physics, biology, Earth sciences and space.
- Section 5: Math. The mathematics section focuses on number operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis, statistics, probability, patterns, functions and algebra.
How to Prepare for the GED
Study materials for the GED test are readily available in bookstores and online. These workbooks contain samples of the types of questions you'll face on the test, and will help you master them through drills and practice exercises. When you're familiar with the subject matter, it is highly recommended that you take at least one timed GED practice test before you write the real thing.
While online GED courses will help you study, keep in mind that official GED tests should not be available online. The practice tests you'll take will be approximations, not replications, of the real thing. However, an online GED school is more interactive than studying from a book, which can help you if independent learning isn't your strong suit. When it comes to online GED preparation courses, you generally get what you pay for--those who enroll in free GED classes are typically less prepared to write the test than those who pay to enroll in a reputable course.
Websites offering the chance to take a free GED practice test can be helpful in preparing to take your GED, but it's important that you recognize that even the best free GED practice tests available online are only an approximation of the official test you will take (and many of the free GED tests you'll find online are worthless because they are nothing like the official test). We won't advise you to avoid looking around the Internet for a free online GED test (every bit of studying can help), but you need to know exactly what you're getting into and you shouldn't expect to much. There's no such thing as a free lunch, as they say.
How to sign up to take the GED
The procedure for writing the GED varies from state to state, as does the cost. Some states provide free GED testing for students under a certain age, as well as veterans, while others charge a fee. Some states charge under $10, while others charge over $100. Contact your local testing center to find out what fees to expect in your area and to inquire about GED registration procedures.
Taking the GED in another language
A common question that many Americans have is if they can take the GED in their native language. Yes, it is possible to take the GED in a language other than English, but the only other languages offered are Spanish and French. Study guides and test preparation resources exist for the Spanish GED and French GED just as they do for the English GED. You can find these resources by searching for "GED en Espanol" or a similar phrase.