GED Test

The General Educational Development (GED) test is designed to identify students who have acquired high school-level knowledge and skills outside of a typical classroom environment. Most jurisdictions in the United States and Canada treat a passing score on the GED the same as a high school diploma. For this reason, the test is popular among immigrants, home schooled students, and students who left high school without earning a degree. (Unfortunately, it's not possible to take the GED online.

The GED has five components, covering the following content areas: Writing, Social Studies, Reading, and Mathematics. In order to pass the test, a student needs to demonstrate proficiency in these areas equal to or greater than that of an average high school senior. In the writing section, the student will be asked to write an essay on an assigned topic and answer 50 multiple-choice questions on punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure. Students are given 125 minutes to complete these tasks. The Social Studies section is composed of 50 multiple-choice questions, which must be answered within 70 minutes. These questions cover the following topics: civics, economics, geography, history, and government. The Science section consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, which must be completed within 80 minutes. The topics covered in this section are Earth science, life science, space science, and physical science. The Reading section consists of 40 questions and must be completed within 65 minutes. In this section, the student is required to answer multiple-choice questions about five fiction passages and two nonfiction passages. Finally, the Mathematics section is composed of 50 questions, which must be answered within 90 minutes. Ten of these questions require the student to write out his or her work; the rest are in a multiple-choice format. The Mathematics section includes questions on the following topics: number operations, geometry, measurement, data analysis, statistics, probability, algebra, and calculus.

GED Scoring Policies

Facts about the GED test for homeschool students:

The General Educational Development (GED) exam determines whether you have acquired the knowledge and skills commensurate with graduation from high school. There are five content areas in the GED: Social Studies, Science, Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Once you have completed the exam, you will receive an individual score for each of these sections on a scale from 200 to 800. These scores are calculated using the number of questions answered correctly. In the Writing section, the score is calculated by combining the scores from the multiple-choice section and the essay section.

Although the minimum passing requirement on the GED may be adjusted by individual jurisdictions, the recommended minimum scores are 410 for each section and 450 for the average of all five sections. If you fail to reach the minimum passing score for individual sections of the exam, you should be able to retake these sections without having to retake the entire exam. GED scores are almost always accepted by universities as a measure of academic competence. Many institutions, however, will require you to take another standardized exam, such as the SAT or ACT, to supplement your application. In most states, you must be at least 16 years old to take the GED, although in a few states you must be 18.

GED Testing Procedures GED Testing Procedures

Facts about the GED every homeschool student needs to know:

The General Educational Development (GED) exam is offered at testing locations around the country and throughout the year. On the day of the examination, students need to bring acceptable identification in order to be granted access to the testing center. An acceptable piece of identification is one that includes the student's name, current address, signature, and photograph. No food or drink is allowed in the testing environment. Students will be supplied with pencils and scratch paper and should not bring any books or notes with them. In addition, the test administrator will hand out calculators. There will be a brief lesson on using the calculator before the beginning of the Mathematics section. Students will be given breaks between the various sections of the test. They will not be allowed to leave the building, but they will be given access to a restroom and a water fountain. Students are not allowed to communicate with one another during the testing period.

The GED has approximately 25 different versions at present, so it is likely that no two students in a given testing center will be taking the exact same version of the exam. Every version of the exam is designed to be of the same difficulty, although the scaling of scores does take account of any trends in student scoring. In other words, students will not be penalized for receiving a particularly difficult version of the exam.

GED Scoring Protocol GED Scoring Protocol

More information for homeschooling students about the GED test .

The GED is administered by the American Council on Education. The scoring policies are designed to give the student a clear idea of his or her level of knowledge and skill in each of the five content areas: Social Studies, Science, Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Each score report will contain two scores in each of these five areas. The first is a scaled score, which will be a number from 200 to 800. The scaled score is based on the number of questions answered correctly.

The scoring system used for the GED does not distinguish between unanswered questions and questions answered incorrectly, so there is no incentive to skip over questions on the test. You should always make your best guess. The number of questions answered correctly is converted into the scaled score using an equation that takes into account the relative difficulty of the test version. The average scaled score is a 500, and the overwhelming majority of high school degree candidates score between 400 and 600. To pass the GED, a student needs to receive at least a 410 in every area and needs to have an average score of at least 450. In addition to the scaled score, students will receive a percentile score for each of the five content areas. This score indicates the percentage of other test takers who scored the same or worse on that section of the exam. In other words, a student who scores in the 90th percentile is scoring the same as or better than 90% of the other test takers.

GED Test Registration

GED Test RegistrationAdditional information homeschool students should know about the GED test .

Registering for the GED is a relatively easy process, although it does vary somewhat by jurisdiction. At present, the GED is administered at hundreds of testing centers around the country. In order to find the testing center that is most convenient for you, visit the American Council on Education website. There, you'll find links to all of the local testing centers. Each testing center has control over the days on which the test is offered, but it shouldn't be difficult to schedule a testing date that is convenient for you. The GED is offered year-round. Also, many testing centers are able to make special arrangements for students who do not live near a regular testing center. Sometimes, a test administrator will be sent out to proctor the exam for a number of students at a location other than the usual testing center. For information on these special accommodations, contact the testing center in your jurisdiction. In most cases, it is possible to register for the exam online or over the phone. Finally, make sure that the jurisdiction in which you register to take the test is the one in which you live; students who take the test in the wrong jurisdiction may have their scores invalidated.


Last Updated: 05/24/2014