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Common Questions

General Questions about the General Educational Development

1. What does GED stand for?
2. What exactly are the General Educational Development tests?
3. How long do the tests take and what subjects do they cover?
4. Why do people take the General Educational Development tests?
5. Who recognizes the General Educational Development certificate?
6. Is a General Educational Development certificate equivalent to getting a high school diploma?

Questions about Taking the General Educational Development

7. Am I eligible to take the General Educational Development tests?
8. Where can I take the tests?
9. How much does it cost to take the tests?
10. How do I apply?
11. Can I take the tests right away?
12. Do I have to know how to use a calculator?
13. What are the minimum passing test scores?
14. What happens if I don't pass the tests?
15. Is the General Educational Development offered in any languages besides English?
16. Can I take the tests online?

Answers to Common Questions about the General Educational Development

1. What does GED stand for?

It stands for "General Educational Development". It is sometimes also informally referred to as the General Educational Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma, but these are not the official names.

2. What exactly are the General Educational Development tests?

The General Educational Development is a set of five tests in the core high school curriculum areas of:

  • Language Arts: Writing
  • Language Arts: Reading
  • Mathematics: Part 1 (with calculator)
  • Mathematics: Part 2 (without calculator)
  • Social Studies
  • Science

The tests measure important knowledge and skills that are taught and learned during a regular high school education. Some of these skills include reading comprehension, basic mathematics and basic English and composition skills. The main focus of the tests is on critical thinking and the ability to draw conclusions based on the information presented. The tests are not focused on rote repetition or memorization.

Multiple-choice questions are used for each of the five tests that make up the General Educational Development . The Language Arts: Writing test includes an essay component that a candidate must pass in order to receive a score for the test. The Mathematics test includes the use of standard and coordinate plane grids and a calculator.

3. How long do the tests take and what subjects do they cover?

The five tests take a total of seven hours and five minutes to complete. The table below breaks down the basic information for each test.

Test

Content

Questions

Time

Language Arts: Writing (Part I)




Language Arts: Writing (Part II)

Organization – 15%
Sentence Structure – 30%
Mechanics – 25%
Usage – 30%


Essay Component

50





Essay

1 hour, 15 minutes



45 minutes

Language Arts: Reading

Literary Text – 75%
– Poetry
– Drama
– Fiction (Pre-1920, 1920-1960, 1960 to present)
Non-fiction Text – 25%
– Non-fiction Prose (Biography, Critical Review of Fine and Performing Arts)
– Workplace Documents

40

1 hour, 5 minutes

Mathematics

Numbers, Number Sense and Operations – 20-30%
Data, Statistics, and
Probability – 20-30%
Geometry and Measurement – 20-30%
Algebra, Functions, and Patterns – 20-30%

50

1 hour, 30 minutes

Social Studies

History – 40%
Civics – 25%
Economics – 20%
Geography – 15%

50

1 hour, 10 minutes

Science

Life Science – 45%
(Biology and Health)
Earth and Space Science – 20%
Physical Science – 35% (Chemistry and Physics)

50

1 hour, 20 minutes


4. Why do people take the General Educational Development tests?

Students who have not yet graduated from high school generally consider the General Educational Development for one of two reasons: to continue their education and get into college, or to get a job that requires a high school diploma. The General Educational Development is widely accepted by employers as an alternative to a traditional high school diploma from an accredited high school.

Here are some more reasons people take the General Educational Development tests:

  • To receive a high school equivalency certificate.
  • To gain a promotion within their own organization.
  • To achieve personal satisfaction.

5. Who recognizes the General Educational Development certificate?

The General Educational Development is widely accepted by employers as an alternative to a traditional high school diploma from an accredited high school.The majority of colleges in the United States, US territories and Canada accept students who have earned their General Educational Development instead of graduating from high school. However, most colleges do require General Educational Development graduates to also take one of the two major standardized tests for high school students: the SATs or the ACT.

If a student with a General Educational Development wants to get into a college that does not accept the General Educational Development , then they can simply enroll in a community college and transfer from the community college to the desired college after one year (or about 30 credits). General Educational Development graduates with at least a year of college credits can successfully transfer to almost any college in the country, provided they meet the college's other criteria and are accepted by the college's admissions department.

6. Is a General Educational Development certificate equivalent to getting a high school diploma?

The General Educational Development tests compare your performance on the tests to the results of high school seniors on the same tests. The tests take into consideration the skills and knowledge people are expected to retain from high school, especially the ability to reason, put together information and draw conclusions from information they've been presented.

If you're considering getting a General Educational Development to qualify for a job, then you can be confident that the General Educational Development is accepted by almost all employers in place of and as an alternative to a regular high school diploma. If you're considering getting a General Educational Development to continue your education and go to college, then most colleges will accept you with a General Educational Development , though they will generally also want you to take the SATs or ACT standardized tests.

7. Am I eligible to take the General Educational Development tests?

There are two sets of eligibility requirements students need to meet in order to qualify for taking the General Educational Development : national eligibility requirements established by the American Council on Education, and local eligibility requirements established by the jurisdiction (generally state) each student lives in.

The national eligibility requirements from the American Council on Education are listed below:

  1. Students must be a recognized resident of the jurisdiction they will be taking the General Educational Development in.
  2. Students must not have earned a high school diploma from an accredited high school.
  3. Students must not be currently enrolled in an accredited high school.
  4. Students must be at least 16 years old.

8. Where can I take the tests?

The General Educational Development tests can be taken at testing centers throughout the United States, US territories and Canada. For a testing center locator from the American Council on Education, click here. If you'd like to take a GED online practice test to prepare for the GED test, please go to GED Online where you will have the opportunity to take this type of alternative prep test online.

9. How much does it cost to take the tests?

There is a nominal charge for taking the General Educational Development tests. The specific charge amount is determined by the jurisdiction (state, territory, etc.) you are a resident in and where you'll be taking the General Educational Development . For more information, contact the official General Educational Development site for your state. For a convenient list of official General Educational Development sites for all US states, click here.

10. How do I apply?

The application process for the General Educational Development is determined by the jurisdiction (state, territory, etc.) you are a resident in and where you'll be taking the General Educational Development . For more information, contact the official General Educational Development site for your state. For a convenient list of official General Educational Development sites for all US states, click here.

11. Can I take the General Educational Development tests right away?

You will first need to contact your jurisdiction's General Educational Development organization and submit an application. They will then let you know when you can take the tests. It generally takes between 1 to 2 months from the time you apply until you can actually take the tests.

12. Do I have to know how to use a calculator?

Yes. You must be able to use the Casio FX260 solar scientific calculator, which is the only calculator approved for use with the test. You will have practice time with the calculator before starting the math test.

13. What are the minimum passing test scores?

The minimum passing scores for the General Educational Development tests is an earned standard score of 410 on each test and an average standard score of 450 on all five tests.

14. What happens if I don't pass the tests?

Students 16-18 years old:

  • Required to return to classes and re-qualify by passing the half-length General Educational Development Official Practice Test.
  • Students may retake any or all parts of the test in order to improve individual or overall scores.
  • Persons may only test three times in a calendar year and are required to wait at least 30 days between each subsequent testing period.

Students 19 years of age or older:

  • Students 19 years of age or older may retake the test after a 30-day wait, for a maximum of three (3) times per calendar year.
  • Any or all parts of the test may be retaken in order to improve individual or overall scores.

15. Is the General Educational Development offered in any languages besides English?

Yes. The General Educational Development is also available in Spanish and French.

16. Can I take the tests online?

No. The General Educational Development is not currently available online. The primary reasons for this are that it is not currently possible to accurately determine someone's identity online and make sure someone else is not taking the test for them, and putting the test online would encourage hackers to sell access or answers to the test and dramatically increase potential cheating.


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