Getting Your GED: Steps to Earning Your GED

Aug 03, 2018

GED Overview

The GED test measures an individual's knowledge at the high school level. GED candidates generally must be at least 16 years old and not enrolled in an accredited high school program. Test-takers must complete a series of questions in four sections: Reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, social studies and science. The responses take the form of seven types: Drag-and-drop, drop-down, extended response, fill-in-the-blank, hot spot, multiple choice, and short answer. The entire battery of testing takes roughly 7.5 hours to complete.

Score requirements for earning the GED credential vary from state to state. Generally, the 2014 GED test has four performance levels: Level 1 is below the passing standard (100-144 points); level 2 is at or above the passing standard (145-164 points); level 3 indicates career and college readiness (165-174 points); level 4 (175+ points) means the test taker may be eligible for college credit.

Below are recommended steps toward taking and passing the GED tests.

What Are the Steps to Earning a GED?

Step 1: Prepare for the Exam

Several books have been published detailing the GED and test-taking strategies. They include the Kaplan GED, Barron's GED, The Princeton Review's Cracking the GED Test, and many others, which detail individual subject tests of the GED. These books may be found at bookstores, libraries, and online retailers.

Students can also prepare for the exam by taking GED preparation classes. Classes may be taken through a national test preparation service or through local community centers, junior colleges, and adult education programs. Students can find courses through a quick Google search, on community bulletin boards, or their local libraries. Test-takers can also use the GED website to find local classes. A free online computer tutorial is also available on the GED website.

In addition, many testing centers offer GED Ready, the official practice test, to determine areas of strength and weaknesses. There is a nominal fee to take the official practice test, but a free online version is available on the GED website. Some states require GED applicants to take the official practice test but in either case, the practice test can be a tool that helps a student prepare effectively.

Step 2: Register for the GED Exam

Students can register for the GED exam using the GED website. Students can enter their ZIP code to find a testing center. Those living in populated areas may be able to choose from several testing sites. Once a site is chosen, the student may call the exam site and find their local requirements relating to taking the exam. An individual can start the scheduling process by creating an online account ( .

Step 3: Take the Exam

Students must arrive at the test location early and are provided erasable note-boards to bring into the testing area. Students may bring a Texas Instruments TI-30XS calculator with them, though an on-screen calculator will be provided to you during the math test. Personal items such as wallets, car keys, handbags, etc., are not allowed in the test area. A limited amount of storage is available to keep these items in. Cell phones are prohibited. The four subject areas may be taken in parts on separate days or in conjunction with each other; individuals will find it best to locate the nearest testing center to obtain details on registration and scheduling.

Benefits of Earning A GED

The workforce of the 21st century requires workers in many occupations to at least have a high school diploma or equivalency. Adults without a high school diploma risk being left out of current and future job markets. A high school diploma or GED demonstrates that the holder possesses the requisite skills to enter the workforce.

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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