Earn Your GED Online: GED Exam Information

Aug 05, 2018

More than 17 million people have earned a GED certificate since 1942. The GED exam is developed through the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered through state education departments.

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GED Exam Information

The General Educational Development (GED) exam is designed for students who have not earned their high school diploma and want to continue their education. According to GED Testing Service, 98% of U.S. postsecondary institutions and 96% of employers accept the GED as a high school equivalent. The organization also notes that the majority of test takers pursue education beyond the GED within three years of taking the test, indicating that the GED is often a first step toward earning a college degree.

Test Content

The GED consists of four sections: mathematical reasoning, science, social studies, and reasoning through language arts. Each section takes 70 to 150 minutes to complete. More than 50% of the questions are multiple choice questions. The questions that are not in a multiple choice format are called alternate format questions. These questions ask you to complete tasks, such as plotting mathematical or scientific information on a grid. The GED also contains three constructed response items, which requires you to develop a written argument and support it with evidence. There is one extended response item in the Reasoning Through Language Arts section and two short answer items in the Science section.

The GED Testing Service wants exam questions to represent situations familiar to test takers, so you can expect questions to be in common real world contexts.

Test Centers

According to GED testing service, there are 3,400 registered testing centers around the United States. Testing sites are often located at community colleges and continuing education centers. It's important to contact a local testing site to determine eligibility, testing schedule, and practice requirements.

GED candidates cannot take the test online. According to the GED Testing Service, many organizations offering online GED exams are non-accredited, for-profit organizations that award illegitimate diplomas. Because the test must be highly regulated to avoid cheating, test takers must take the test on-site at a certified testing location. However, GED online classes are an option to help prepare for the actual exam.

Other Tests

If you're hoping to enroll in a college program, you may be required to take other entrance exams, such as the ACT or SAT, to be considered for admission. Additionally, some postsecondary admissions committees may require those who earned a GED, instead of a traditional high school diploma, to undergo further testing or counseling.

Need help preparing for the GED? Check out's GED Test Prep study guides, complete with bite-size video lessons, practice tests, informational resources, and more to make sure you ace the exam!

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