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The GED Exam
The GED is an alternative diploma program for people who did not graduate from high school. The GED exam is made up of four separate tests that cover language arts, math, science and social studies. The exam is taken on computer in either English or Spanish. Although the GED Testing Services develops the exam, states manage testing centers and prep classes.
Some states require you to enroll in a GED prep program and pass a practice test before taking the actual exam, but many do not. You should check your state's requirements on the GED website at GED.com.
Most states have adult education centers which offer classes, tutoring and study guides to prepare for the GED exam. The hours, location and cost vary by state, but classes and tutoring are typically free or affordable. A list of adult education study centers is available at GED.com. Because individual preferences and study habits vary, you may want to consider the following pros and cons when signing up for a GED prep program in a traditional classroom setting:
- Most learning centers provide workbooks and other printed study resources. Some adult education centers will allow students to borrow books for home study.
- Many GED prep classes begin with an assessment test that identifies your strengths and the areas that you should focus on to pass the four GED test sections
- Students receive one-to-one attention and feedback which is especially helpful for individuals who have been out of school for a while.
- Adult educational centers usually have current information on the test so that the study material they provide is accurate.
- GED classes have a set date and time which could be inconvenient for adult students who work or care for families
- Everyone brings a different level of academic skill and experience to the GED. In a structured class, you may find yourself reviewing material that you have already mastered.
- Classes may have large numbers of students. This may limit individual attention by instructors and extend other classroom resources.
Online GED Classes
There are online programs available for adult students who want to prepare for the GED tests independently. In some states, adult education programs provide free access to online prep programs and courses. Other online classes are available through individual memberships and subscriptions. Before you sign up for an online GED prep class, you should consider the following factors:
- Online courses offer instructional videos and step-by-step interactive lessons. Students can study 24 hours a day anywhere there is an Internet connection, and some programs have materials you can access on phones and mobile devices.
- Online programs allow you to study at your own pace, spending more time on subjects that you need to review and less time on topics that you already know
- Online prep courses can be a significant resource to people who live in rural areas and would have to travel to attend a traditional GED class
- Online classes may not have live support when you need it. You may have to submit questions through email and wait for a day or longer for a response from a teacher or tutor.
- The costs of online programs vary, depending by the school offering the program. While online programs can be free through an adult education center, generally you pay for access to online videos and materials for a set time that can be extended by paying additional fees.
- Some online programs require in-person orientation. Others require you to complete a certain number of online study hours or assignments each week.