By Leonard Williams
If you plan to take the GED® test soon, you’ll want to know how the exam is scored, what your GED results mean, and what score you’ll need to earn your GED test credential.
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The GED test is actually a series of five tests, over a total of 7.5 hours. In most places, you can take the GED tests separately. The test series covers GED social studies, GED science, GED reading, GED writing, and the two-part GED mathematics test. The math tests cover basic number operations, basic algebra and geometry, along with analysis of charts and data. All tests are multiple choice, except for some math questions and part two of the GED writing test, where an original essay is required.
About GED Test Scores
The scores needed for passing the GED test may vary slightly from place to place. But overall, most GED test locations have adopted the scoring standard set by the American Council on Education, the administrative agency for the GED test.
The standard GED testing scores range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 800 on each test. To get a GED diploma, you’ll need minimum GED results of at least 410 on each GED test to pass it, and you’ll an average score of 450 for the five-test battery (for a total of 2250). The GED results for any single test can’t be less than 410, but the average of all the GED test scores must be at least 450. These means if some scores are lower than 450, other GED tests need to be higher than 450 so that all five GED test scores average out to a minimum of 450.
GED Essay Scoring
The original, two-page essay is scored differently, and accounts for about 40 percent of the overall GED writing test score. Scoring is based on your written response to a prompt. GED essay readers score your test based on how well it’s organized, whether you answer the prompt and stick to a main idea, and whether you include details and examples to back up what you’re saying. The essay also needs good grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and word choice. At least, your writing needs to be clear enough so the GED reader can easily understand what you’re saying. Basically, your GED writing essay score is based on:
- How well can you make your point, remain on-topic and focused, and create an impression with your words and ideas?
Do you have a good basic command of the language and its
structure? Is your use of language easy to understand?
What’s the pass/fail rate?
On average, two out of three people who take the GED tests pass. The better prepared you are for the GED test, the greater your chances of doing well.
Taking a GED practice test will give you an idea of your potential GED results and help you identify areas that you need to study in your GED test prep before you take the actual test. A GED practice test is also a good way to acquaint you with the timing of the test and how the test is structured. You can take a GED practice test online and GED classes online to prepare for the GED exam.
What’s the most difficult part of the test?
How hard is the GED test? That depends on your GED test prep, as well as your abilities and skills. Most people say the GED mathematics test or GED writing test is hardest, and GED testing scores reflect this, since the overall passing rate is less for these tests. It’s important to understand both test expectations in these areas and how these sections are scored. You’ll want to really examine and understand your skill strengths and weaknesses in these areas.
How Does My GED Diploma Compare to a High School Diploma?
The GED tests are standardized and normed using a national random sample of graduating high school seniors. To get a GED diploma, a candidate must demonstrate a level of skill that meets or exceeds that demonstrated by 60 percent of graduating high school seniors. In other words, 40 percent of graduating high school seniors wouldn’t pass the GED tests. So after passing the GED test, you have an excellent credential. It’s reflective of high school proficiency and more, since what’s tested is the ability to apply knowledge, and not just remember it.
Taking the Test
Once you’re ready, you’ll take the GED test one of the GED test locations near your home. You may want to find the GED centers near you early and contact the most convenient one for a GED schedule or GED testing dates. Also ask for a clear definition of GED results scoring for your locale or state. GED centers are located in all major cities across the U.S. and Canada. For a list of GED locations, visit: http://www.passGED.com/test_state.php
Note: Even though some companies claim you can take your GED online, it’s not possible. The GED test is not given online, only at official GED centers. International testing is also available. However, you can take an online GED practice test or an online GED class.
Getting Your GED Results – and Using Them!
Once you’ve taken the test, you’ll receive your GED testing scores in the mail, in the form of GED transcripts. If you pass, you’ll receive a GED test credential or GED diploma from your state. You can use your GED results to apply for colleges, trade school, and scholarships, as well as to qualify for jobs. If you pass some parts and fail others, you don’t need to retake the whole test, just the parts you didn’t pass. Before retaking a test, be sure and study. Take an online GED class, or an additional GED practice test.
You’ll also want to check with your GED testing center to determine if there’s a waiting period before retesting and if your center limits the number of times you can retake tests. Different GED locations have different requirements.
- The American Council on Education provides information online about testing, official GED test locations, GED testing scores, sample GED test questions, and GED transcripts. Visit the ACE at www.gedtest.org.
- The GED Academy is an online GED school with free GED resources and support for GED students, instructors, and programs sponsored by businesses, nonprofits, and government. Free information and resources include test advice, study guides, student support, and an online message board for students and teachers. Visit the GED Academy at www.passged.com.
- PBS television station broadcasts GED courses and offers some free online GED courses. Check out this link for resources or broadcast times: http://www.pbs.org/literacy.