What is the GED?



The General Education Development (GED) test measures your knowledge of high school level material. When you pass the exam, you're awarded a GED certificate, which is the equivalent to receiving a high school diploma.

What's on the GED Test?

The GED test consists of five sections, which include social studies, science, mathematics, reading and writing. The reading and writing parts together make up the reasoning through language arts subject area. Most of the sections have 50 multiple-choice questions, with the exception of reading, math, and the second part of the writing section.

The reading portion has 40 multiple-choice questions. The math section does have 50 questions, but 20% of them are not in multiple-choice format. Below is a table that shows the breakdown of the GED exam, and the percentage of content for every subject.

Social StudiesScienceMathLanguage Arts WritingLanguage Arts Reading
U.S. history 25%Physics and chemistry 35%Number operations & number sense 20% to 30%Part I: Organization 15%Fictional literature 75%
World history 15%Life science 45%Measurement and geometry 20% to 30%Part I: Sentence structure 30%Nonfiction 25%
Geography 15%Earth and space science 20%Data analysis, statistics, and probability 20% to 30%Part I: Usage 30%
Civics and government 25% Algebra, functions, and patterns 20% to 30%Part I: Mechanics 25%
Economics 20% Part II: Write an essay

How Long Is the Test?

The entire GED test requires roughly seven and a half hours from start to finish. The different subject areas are timed as follows:

  • Social Studies - 90 minutes
  • Science - 90 minutes
  • Math - 115 minutes
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts - 150 minutes

Testing Centers and Cost

The GED test is administered through school districts, adult educational centers and community colleges. You can locate the closest official testing center by doing a search on the GED website. Instead of one price that covers everything, you pay for each subject area. This fee can be $30 or under in most states.

Preparing for the GED Test

When you're ready to take the GED test, consider Study.com as your all-inclusive prep resource. Study.com provides an array of educational courses that include engaging video lessons and practice quizzes and exams. You're never alone, because online instructors are always available to help you with any questions, problems or concerns.

You can get started with the comprehensive GED Study Guide and continue with these other Study.com GED courses:

Continue reading: How to Pass the GED Test

GED stands for the General Educational Development tests. These exams are taken by individuals who did not earn a high school diploma and cover four main subject areas. The successful completion of these tests provides the same benefits as graduating high school. Read on to learn more.

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