By Leonard Williams
The GED® diploma is an official credential awarded by states and provinces throughout the U.S. and Canada. For adults who never finished high school, statistics show the GED diploma is adult learners' best alternative to a high school diploma.
500,000 People Will Pass the GED This Year.
You’re here because you want to be one of them. The one-of-a-kind best-selling GED Academy learning program can get you there, fast and easy.
The first GED tests were developed in 1942 to help war veterans finish their basic education. Today, there are more than 39 million adults in the U.S. who don't have a high school degree. For them, passing the GED test is the best solution to advance in their education or career, and to build financial security.
But many people don’t understand the GED test and the process of how to get a GED diploma. As a GED instructor, curriculum developer, and volunteer online forum moderator with the GED Academy, I've answered hundreds of questions from students. Their most common questions and answers will be helpful to people who need more information about passing the GED test, the testing process, GED materials, and more GED resources.
What do the GED tests actually test?
The GED tests are a set of five tests, which measures basic understanding of math, science, social studies, reading, and writing. For the GED science, GED social studies, and GED reading tests, you need to be able to read a short passage, and then answer questions that show you understand the information that's given and how to interpret and apply it. These tests mostly measure your ability to make evaluations and inferences in the material. The thinking skills needed for these GED subjects are ones you can improve quickly, with the right preparation.
These tests mostly measure your ability to make evaluations and inferences in the material.
The GED mathematics test requires knowledge of basic number operations, basic geometry and algebra, and some data analysis. You'll also want to know how to use a scientific calculator, since part of the test allows you to use one.
The GED writing test has two parts. The first is a multiple-choice test about the mechanics of English usage. The second is an essay test, and you’ll write a short essay based on your background and experiences.
What’s a passing score on the GED test?
That’s the big question, right? The standard GED testing scores range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 800 on each test. Passing the GED test requires a score of at least 410 on each GED subject test to pass it, and an overall average score of 450 for each of the tests. Your score for any individual GED test cannot be below 410, but if you get some that low, you need other GED tests to be above 410 so that the scores for all five GED tests average out to at least 450 for each tests. A lot of people want to know what percent they need to get right. The GED test is not scored as a percentage. It’s more like grading on a curve. But expect that you’ll need to get around 60% or 70% right to pass.
The essay portion of the GED writing test is scored differently, and readers score it based on your writing ability, including organization, sticking to the point, using good details, choosing good words, and having good enough grammar to be easily understood. Your essay is scored on a scale of 1 to 4. You need at least a 2 to pass, and the higher your essay score is, the fewer multiple choice questions you need to get right to pass the GED writing test.
What’s the pass/fail rate?
On average, two out of three people who take the GED test pass. The better prepared you are for the test, the greater your chances of doing well. Getting good GED test prep is the secret to success!
Why do some people pass easily, and other people fail?
Some people make passing the GED test seem easy. They pass the first time they take it, without studying. It's likely that they are good test-takers, and they learned some thinking skills, in high school or in life. But since one out of three people don't pass, this is the exception to the rule. To get a GED diploma the first time, most people need to spend some time getting ready for the test. It’s especially important to learn test-taking and thinking skills, as well as basic reading, writing, and math.
How do I increase my chances of passing the GED test?
The best advice is to study the right skills for the GED test. The biggest reason people don't pass the test the first time is that they don’t prepare well enough. What this means is that you'll probably need to spend time relearning some of the skills and knowledge you've forgotten since high school. But don't panic. If you do a little studying in the right areas, passing the GED test can be easier than you think.
It’s also a good start to get familiar with the GED test so you know what to expect and to increase your test-taking skills. Taking a pencil-and-paper or online GED practice test is a good idea. It will show you how the test works, give you an idea of your potential GED testing scores, and help you identify areas where you most need to study.
How can I get my GED? What’s the best way to study?
To get a GED diploma, taking some classes with a GED instructor is always a good idea. In most communities you can take a low-cost or free GED class through a local high school, community college, or university. But often it's hard to fit a GED class into your schedule, especially if you have job and family obligations. And lots of my students have problems with childcare and transportation.
If going to a class is a problem, you can find get GED online free resources and online GED classes that allow you to work at your own pace, on your own schedule. Just make sure the online education you choose is the real thing. Lots of companies are out there that promise a bogus adult high school diploma or GED diploma online after a simple online test. You cannot take your GED online. You can only take the real GED test in person at one of the official GED test locations.
You can also get a GED guide or pencil-and-paper or online GED practice test, which will help you get ready for the GED test. Many are available online, but your local library or community college may offer free GED material for loan. You may also find GED test materials in your local bookstore. Chances are, stores that sell used books or even thrift stores will also have some low-cost GED test prep books, but make sure a used GED guide is for the current version of the test.
Where do I take the GED test?
The GED tests are given at official GED test locations across the U.S. and Canada. Even though some companies or schools claim you can take your GED online, you can't. The GED tests are not given online, only at official GED locations. International testing is also available. Find GED test locations.
More GED Resources
- You can find online GED programs and GED test information at passGED.com.
- The American Council on Education also provides good information about and resources for the GED test. Visit the ACE at www.gedtest.org
Study hard, and good luck on your GED exam!