High School Equivalency Options: Information About the GED

The GED allows adults to earn, through testing, a credential equivalent to a high school diploma. Tests are developed and standardized by the American Council on Education (ACE), and programs are administered in conjunction with a state's department of education or workforce training.

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GED Information

The GED is accepted by most employers and postsecondary institutions as a high school equivalent. The test consists of four exams, covering mathematical reasoning, science, social studies, and reasoning through language arts. The tests are mostly multiple-choice questions, but there are also alternate formats, such as drag and drop, fill in the blank and short answer. Extended responses might also be required. Alternate format questions ask students to complete tasks like plotting information on an X, Y grid or inputting number values. Most questions appear in the context of day-to-day situations.


While each state has specific eligibility requirements for test takers regarding age, residency, and the amount of time since you have been away from school, the basic requirements are shared by every state. You must be at least 16 years old and you cannot have graduated from high school.


As of 2014, the GED is scored on a scale of 100-200 points, with a minimum passing score of 145 points on each of the four sections of the test for a required total of 580. A minimum score of 165 in each section is needed for career or college readiness. A score of 175 points or higher could make you eligible for college credit.

The difficulty level of the test is equal to that of high school. Students will be awarded a high school equivalency diploma or certificate. The GED Testing Service issues official test transcripts upon request, which can be used to apply to colleges or jobs. In addition, some states issue a state high school equivalency diploma or certificate to adults who pass the GED.

Online Testing

The GED cannot be taken online. The GED Testing Service, the division of the American Council on Education that develops the GED tests, stresses that no GED exam offered online is legitimate. Like similar tests that represent nationally recognized standards of education, the GED is regulated to prevent cheating and therefore must be taken in person. While the test itself cannot be taken online, preparation materials are available online.

Non-English Testing

The test can be administered in Spanish and French in addition to English. Examinees taking non-English versions of the exam may also be required to pass an English as a Second Language (ESL) exam depending on a state's requirements. Not all testing sites administer non-English versions of the tests.

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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