All About the GED: Illinois

If you're an Illinois resident with questions about the General Educational Development test, or GED, you've come to the right place. Read on for information about succeeding at the GED and earning your Illinois High School Equivalency Certificate.

Overview of the GED in Illinois

The General Educational Development test is an option for those who wish to fill the gap that can result from the lack of a high school diploma. According to the GED Testing Service, which is owned by the American Council on Education (ACE), 97% of colleges and employers recognize the GED credential (www.GEDTestingSerivce.com). In Illinois, the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) administers the test.

Who Is Eligible to Take the GED?

In Illinois, you must be at least 18 years of age to take the GED. However, individuals who are 16 or 17 years old may be eligible for the exam if certain criteria is met. You should contact your local Regional Office of Education (www.isbe.net/regionaloffices) for more information. At least 30 days of Illinois residency is also required to take the test in Illinois. Individuals with certain documented disabilities can request and receive accommodations in order to complete the exam. The test is not available online, but can only be completed at official testing centers.

How Do I Register in Illinois?

To register for the GED, visit www.GED.com. Information on testing centers is available through the website as well. In Illinois, the GED exam costs $30 for each of the four subject area tests. Upon successful completion of the GED exam, the state charges additional fees in order to obtain an Illinois High School Equivalency Certificate ($10) and/or an official transcript of GED scores ($3).

How Do I Prepare?

There are many ways you can prepare for the GED. If you choose to work independently, you can order study books and might be able to access television programs offered for GED candidates through your local public television station. Videos, sample questions, an official practice test and practice activities are also available online, many of which are free. You could also consider taking a preparation class at an adult education center or community college.

What Is the GED Test Like?

Once you have prepared and registered, you'll go to a testing center at the scheduled time to take the GED. You will be tested in four subjects:

  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Reasoning through language arts

The entire GED test generally takes a little more than seven and a half hours. The test can be taken in English or Spanish, but non-English test takers may need to complete an additional English proficiency test. Illinois also requires its residents to complete the Illinois State Constitution Exam if they haven't previously passed it.

The test is comprised of multiple-choice questions, reading tasks, short answer, and extended response questions. Each subject area test is divided into parts or sections with varying time allotments ranging from 25 to 65 minutes. You are allowed to use a calculator (which is provided at the testing center) for the first part of the math section, but not the second.

How is the Test Scored?

You must receive a score of 150 or above on each of the four tests. For individuals who don't pass all of the sections, retakes are an option for an additional fee.

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