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Pennsylvania (PA) GED Information and Requirements

Pennsylvania students over the age of 18 who haven't graduated from high school have the option to take the General Educational Development (GED) exam. Many colleges, postsecondary schools and employers require applicants to hold either a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Keep reading to learn more about how to earn a GED in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania GED Information and Requirements

Pennsylvania awards a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma to every state resident who passes the language arts, math, science and social studies GED tests. The four tests are taken on computer and are available in English or Spanish. Tests are taken at many different colleges, schools and educational programs throughout Pennsylvania. You can search for the nearest test center on the official GED website, ged.com.

State Requirements

While 18 is the minimum age for GED candidates in Pennsylvania, students who are 16-17 can also take the tests if they provide a statement of withdrawal from their high school and a recommendation from an employer, college, military recruiter or a state institution. All test takers need to prove they are Pennsylvania residents with a state driver's licence or other ID that is proof of residency.

Testing Information

The 2014 GED is a seven-and-a-half hour test with four sections that can be taken individually, in any order.

  • The Reasoning Through Language Arts test is 150 minutes, and tests your writing skills and your ability to read, interpret and analyze text. The test includes an essay that you have 45 minutes to write.
  • The Mathematical Reasoning test assesses your quantitative problem-solving abilities and algebraic problem-solving skills. The 115-minute test has two parts, and for the first part of the test, which is only 5 questions long, you may not use a calculator. The second part of the test consists of 41 questions, and calculators are allowed.
  • The Science test is 90 minutes and has a variety of questions that cover life science, physical science and Earth and space science. It includes short answer questions.
  • The Social Studies test is also 90 minutes long and uses charts, graphs, illustrations, tables and text as a basis for questions on civics and government, U.S. history, economics and geography. It has two sections, one of which is an extended response section.

In order to pass, you need a minimum of 150 points on each test, and a total of 600 points on all four tests. You can retake any individual test two times without waiting, but you must wait 60 days for a third retest. There is no limit of times you can test within a given year.

Test Preparation

You can study to take the GED exam with free classes located throughout Pennsylvania. Study assistance may be available at high schools, adult learning centers and community colleges. More information on GED preparation and testing can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and prep classes and other study help can be found on the state's adult education program's website at paadultedresources.org

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