Note: This information reflects the most recent GED changes that took effect in January 2018.
The General Education Development (GED) test was created after World War II as a way for returning soldiers to complete or finish their high school education. Back then, most people who obtained their GED certificate immediately began working in their chosen field of employment. Many changes have occurred in the world since then, and today only about 30% of those with their GED certificate enter directly into the workforce, while the rest use the certificate as a “stepping stone” to further their education. In an effort to better reflect current educational and workplace requirements, the GED test has also undergone several updates since its inception. While the core subjects being tested have remained the same—English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies—today’s GED test places more emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The most recent overall revision of the GED test occurred in 2014 and includes several important changes. If you have only had GED testing experience before 2014, you will need to be aware of the differences between the old and new forms of the test.This will help you prepare appropriately for the test you actually take. Here is some basic, current information about the GED test:
There are four subject area tests: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Science. Reading and Writing are both covered in the Reasoning Through Language Arts section.
One GED test section, Reasoning Through Language Arts, includes some sort of written response, either essay, short essay, or short answer (several sentences) items. See specific descriptions of each section for details. They are located in the practice question areas of this site.
The GED test contains a handful of question types to measure a wider variety of knowledge and skill levels. They include not only the traditional multiple-choice question format, but also drag-and-drop, hot spot, fill-in-the-blank, and extended response (short and long essay) types.
The GED test provides detailed score reporting available on the testing day.
Students must score at least 145 out of 200 possible points on each of the four sections to get a GED certificate. There is no provision for combining all section scores to obtain a “passing average.”
Students can strive for scores higher than the 145 passing score and earn exemption from college placement tests and remediation courses in college, and even earn college credit hours.Registering for, scheduling, and taking the GED test is done via computer.
The GED test is available in both English and Spanish.
There are provisions for free accommodations, such as extra time and the use of scratch paper. For test security purposes, test-takers are normally issued wipe-off boards for scratch use, instead of paper.
There are official practice tests you can take to determine your readiness to take the GED test. The results of these practice tests will also identify areas in which you need to work before taking the final test.
Students may take the GED test up to three times with no waiting period and then again, every 60 days. This provides eight testing opportunities in a calendar year for those students needing to retest.
Be sure to read all of the information about the GED test that is available on this site as there were significant changes in test content in 2014 and minor modifications to scoring in 2016. If you have taken the test between 2014 and March 1, 2016, please check out this link from the official GED website. It covers the changes that went into effect on March 1, 2016. These include new, slightly lower passing scores, two new GED credential levels, and changes to the Social Studies test. The scoring changes are retroactive to January 1, 2014, in most states. Check the status of your state here.