For adults who did not complete high school, attaining a GED is a good first step to reaching one’s career and education goals. The General Education Development, or Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED), is a test that evaluates whether or not one has a high school-level education.
High school diplomas do not have any more weight than a GED. According to GED.com, 97 percent of employers accept GEDs and high school diplomas equally. GEDs are commonly accepted by community colleges and accepted by universities when combined with SAT/ACT scores.
To take the four tests required for a GED, you must be 16 years old and not enrolled in high school. The tests are always taken on site at a test center. To register for the tests, you can make an account at GED.com. From there, you will be able to select a test center near you. Depending on your location, the cost of the test can range from $0 to $75 per test, in addition to the nominal test center fees. Check out this link to see what the rules and costs are in your state.
GED tests can be taken in Spanish and a couple of other languages. As you register, there will be an option to choose your preferred language. Before you go, check the rules about residency in your state, as requirements do vary. For non-U.S. residents, there are some test centers run by Pearson Vue. Call 1-877-392-6433 to inquire about accommodations.
The tests aim to assess applied knowledge and skills in four areas: Reasoning Through Language Arts (150 minutes), Social Studies (115 minutes), Science (90 minutes), and Math (70 minutes). The test is all multiple choice, and calculators are generally provided by the test center. Depending on the test center, you may be able to take the tests all at once or on different days.
A scoring system with differently weighted questions will give you a cumulative score between 100 and 200. To pass, 145 out of 200 points on each of the sections is required. If you fail part of the test and your total score is above a threshold, you will only have to retake the failed section(s).
Your local library may have test preparatory courses for loan or additional adult education resources, and there are test preparatory courses available online. Reviews.com chose UGO Prep as the best course for busy schedules, Kaplan as the course with the most extensive resources, and Essential Education as the best budget pick. Also, be sure to check out FinishYourDiploma.org to find free adult education classes near you, as well as other resources.
Tips for Mom! So that you can perform best on the day of the test, it’s not a bad idea to arrange child care or transportation more than a day in advance and to try to get a few good nights’ sleep beforehand, if possible. For extra accommodations, you will be asked to fill out a form with proof of your needs (a doctor’s note, etc.). Be specific and definitely reach out to the company if you encounter any difficulty.
By Annemarie Arnold