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GED FAQs: What if I Fail the GED?

Those who choose to take the GED typically do so because of the new personal and professional opportunities it will create, but what happens if you don't pass? There are plenty of options in case you don't make it through on your first attempt.

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If you scored below passing on the GED, it can be helpful to find out about the logistics of retaking the test, as well as the educational resources that can help you do better when retaking the exam.

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Scoring Below Passing on the GED

So, you prepared for the GED and managed to make it through the several actual hours of test taking, only to find that you failed one or more of the four standard sections. While you may feel frustrated, keep in mind that the average high school student had three to four years of significant instruction, while you may have only had a few weeks or months to prepare. Take comfort in knowing that you have more than one opportunity to boost your score.

Exploring Your Options

If your total score is not at the passing level, you may retake those sections that are below the passing level. For the current 2014 version of the GED test, that means a minimum score of 145 on each section. As of 2017, the GED Testing Service offers discounted retakes up to two times for each subject. The only fees you're responsible for during this time will include state and testing center charges. It's best to research your state's guidelines before attempting to re-register; according to the GED website, most states allow retakes up to three times as soon as you need. After this period, you often need to wait for sixty days.

Study Resources

If you studied prior to taking the GED test the first time, make sure you prepare specifically for the sections you plan to re-take. Face-to-face prep classes are often available through community colleges and vocational schools, though classes often cover the test in its entirety. Free online study options are widely available that may cover single subject sections. The GED Testing Service also offers single-subject study guides for purchase via its website.

Another helpful resource will be your score report, which provides information about the skills in which you demonstrated proficiency, as well as the areas where you came up short. On the score report, the testing service provides the following information:

  • Students can see their score, which tells the test-taker whether they passed, passed with honors or failed the section.
  • In another section, the GED Testing Service highlights the skills that the test-taker needs to improve in order to pass, and it provides an individualized study strategies.
  • Students can also view explanations of their scores. This section indicates what areas the student did well on, so that they do not focus on improving those skills in further studies.
  • For the reading/language arts section of the test, test-takers can look at their open responses and find out how to improve them the next time they take the exam.

Further Information

For more information about the GED, visit your state's official Department of Education page. The official GED website also contains more information about retaking policies and lists every state's fee for re-registering.

Even if you failed one or more sections of the GED on the first try, there are a variety of resources that can help you prepare for success on the next try, such as discounted retakes, online study options, and detailed score reports.

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