GED Facts and Requirements
The GED tests were created during World War II to help soldiers transition back to civilian life with good jobs and educational opportunities. A GED diploma or certificate is recognized as an alternative high school diploma in all 50 states, all U.S. territories and Canada as well as in some locations internationally. The GED has four separate sections on language arts, science, social studies and math. The tests are designed to be taken on computer and are offered in English and Spanish. To pass the GED, you must earn a minimum score of 150 on each of the following test sections:
- Reasoning Through Language Arts - This is a combination reading and writing test. Some questions will ask you to analyze reading passages and identify themes, interpret implications and draw conclusions. Other questions require you to edit written selections and correct problems such as grammatical errors and disorganized paragraphs. The test is 150 minutes and is broken into three parts, including a 45-minute section that requires you to write an original essay.
- Science - The 90-minutes science test measures your ability to read, understand and evaluate information and concepts on topics from life sciences, physical science and astronomy. Questions on this test are based on reading selections, diagrams, charts and graphs.
- Mathematical Reasoning - For the math test, you will need to solve problems involving arithmetic, algebra and geometry. Questions cover a range of topics including fractions, ratios, proportions, percents, linear inequalities and equations, algebraic functions and graphs and the area and volume of geometric figures. You are allowed to use an on-screen calculator and a formula sheet for most of the questions on this 115-minute test.
- Social Studies - Question on this 90-minute test are based on reading selections, illustrations, tables, maps and graphs that present information on civics, geography, history and economics. For this test, you will also have 25 minutes to write a short essay.
Although the minimum age for GED testing is typically 18, most states allow you to take the tests at 16 if you meet certain requirements and provide different types of age waivers or documentation. You can check the requirements of your state on the GED website, GED.com.
Online GED Resources
The GED covers a wide rage of knowledge and skills, and there are online resources that can help you prepare for the tests. The following list is a sample of some of the online options now available to GED candidates:
You can find sample questions, short sample tests and an official practice test called GED Ready on the GED website. Although there is a fee for the GED Ready test, it can be a useful resource especially if you are new to computerized tests. Unlike earlier versions of the GED which were made up of mostly multiple-choice questions, the new GED uses a variety of question formats. Beside multiple-choice, there are fill-in-the-blank and drag-and-drop style questions as well as questions that use hot spots and pull-down menus. In addition to helping you review content and familiarize yourself with the test format, GED Ready also assesses your skills and scores and tells you if you are prepared for the test, and if not, it shows you which areas you need to review.
You can also find other free practice tests online through different websites. If you use any of these resources, check to make sure you are using a practice test for the new GED 2014 test.
GED Prep Courses
While many states and schools offer in-person preparation programs, there are also courses available online. Kentucky Educational Television's Fast Forward GED prep course and DCS GED Prep Online offer resources such as interactive lessons, instructional videos, practice tests and step-by-step instructions on GED essays and extended response questions. DCS also offers teacher support through email. Online GED prep courses allow you to study at your own pace and are available 24-hours a day. Both of these courses are subscription-based, and you can sign up and pay for several months or a full year of access to prep materials.
A number GED tutors and educators have launched blogs that offer testing advice, lessons and other free study materials. These blogs may be helpful because the writers have seen which subjects and questions pose the biggest challenges to GED candidates. Again, if you use these resources, be sure they are for the 2014 version of the test.
Online GED Registration and Scheduling
The GED tests can't be taken online. You need to take the tests in person at an authorized GED test center. You can register for the tests, find a testing center located near you and schedule test times at GED.com.