How is the GED Scored?

Each year, roughly 59% of people who take the GED, a popular high school equivalency exam, will pass at least one section of the exam. Passing the GED can open up new doors in terms of your life and career.

But what constitutes a passing score? And how are GED scores determined?

If you’d like to learn how to pass the GED exam, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will explore everything you need to know about scoring for your GED exam.

GED Scoring Scale

There are several different GED exams that you can take. These different GED modules include:

Each subtest is scored on a scale from 100 to 200. All subjects contain the same scoring guidelines, though there are different point values for each. There are four possible GED scoring levels that your exam may fall into.

Let’s break these down.

Not Passing

A “Not Passing,” score or GED fail is any score that falls below 145. To achieve a passing score, you’ll generally need to answer 60-65% of questions correctly on each section of the GED.

You should prepare for the GED test by taking practice tests in addition to regular studying. If you do not pass, you have the option to retake the exam up to two times a year.

GED Passing - High School Equivalency

To achieve high school equivalency status, you must score at least a 145 on the GED. You must get a 145 on each section to achieve a “passing,” grade. However, if you fail just one or two sections, you can retake just those to achieve high school equivalency status.

Please note that scores do not carry over between exams. So, if you get a 190 on one and a 100 on another, they do not equal 145 total. You must score a 145 on each section to pass.

Overall, you’ll need a total GED score of 580 on all four tests combined to receive your GED diploma and achieve full high school equivalency. This score is not sufficient if your goal is to go to college.

GED College Ready

If you’ve scored between 165 and 175, you have successfully demonstrated college and career readiness. This demonstrates to colleges that you will not need additional testing or remediation before beginning a degree program.

Once again, these score guidelines apply to each individual exam. A great way to prepare for college readiness is to utilize specialized study guides during your studying.

GED College Ready + Credit

Scoring above a 175 indicates that you have successfully mastered some skills that you might learn in a college course. Depending on your school’s guidelines, this could qualify you for real college credit.

Getting college credit before attending an actual college course can help you to save lots of money and time. This way, you won’t have to spend money or time taking courses to get skills that you’ve already mastered.

Scoring Breakdowns

Scoring on the GED works in its own specific way. It’s based on the number of points you earn per section, not the number of questions you get right.

This is because some questions are worth more points than others. For example, during some questions, you’ll have to fill in the blanks or select an option via a drop-down menu. These questions are worth two points.

Each section of the GED also has a different number of questions and different possible point values. They are broken down as follows:

  • RLA – 65 points

  • Mathematical Reasoning – 49 points

  • Social Studies – 44 points

  • Science – 40 points

You must still achieve at least a 145 on each section to have passed it. The raw point values above come from how many questions you’ll come across during the exam.

The GED Score Report

Your GED score report can help you analyze your performance on the exam. You’ll be able to find which subjects you did particularly well in. You can also see the subjects and skills where you may have fallen short.

The score report contains the following information:

  • Whether you passed or failed

  • What score range you landed in

  • Which skills need improvement, along with personalized study strategies

  • Score explanations to learn where you can improve

  • Information on how to improve your RLA score and develop critical reading strategies

So, even if you fail an exam, you can easily learn from your mistakes. The score report is a great resource for helping you prepare for a retest.

Even if you’ve done well on the exam, the score report can help you prepare for continuing education. It’s also just an interesting way to review which subjects you did well in and where you might need more help.

Do GED Scores Ever Expire?

The most recent GED exam is a computer-based test. Scores taken from this edition of the test will never expire. The exception is if you took the exam in New Mexico, where results will not be valid beyond the 3-year mark.

This allows you to retake sections you’ve failed to receive credit towards your GED diploma. To achieve a GED diploma, you must have a passing score on all four sections of the exam.

Previously, you had to pass all four subjects within a two-year timeframe for the results to be valid. If you were unable to achieve a passing score on all four sections before this period was over, you would have to retake sections you may have already passed.

However, your scores will now be valid until the release of a new edition of the test. Similarly, if you took any GED exams before 2014, these results are no longer considered valid credits toward your GED diploma.

Retaking the GED Test

It’s okay to feel disappointed if you’ve failed any part of your GED test. But, you can easily retake any section of the exam that you need to, while still giving yourself plenty of time to prepare.

Before you retake your exam, there are some things to do to ensure that you pass your second time around.

Analyzing Your Performance

Take a look at your experience during the first round of testing. Which parts were most difficult for you? Did you have trouble with time management, certain subjects, or using tools such as a calculator?

Maybe you struggled during the essay portions of the exam. Did you follow the prompt? Were your essays long enough?

Once you’ve identified your weak points, you can work to solve these problems before your retest. There are plenty of learning materials and guides out there to help you prepare for your next exam.

Taking a practice test before you retest can also be a good idea. This can help you to feel more comfortable and know what to expect before heading into the real thing once more.

Signing Up For a GED Retest

For most states in the U.S., you’ll be able to retake up to two failed sections of the exam at a reduced cost. However, 12 months after your initial test, the testing fee will revert to full price.

If you’re taking the GED test online, the rules are a bit different. To start your retest, you’ll have to score a “green” on the official GED practice test.

Scoring below passing on a second attempt at the online exam will force you into a 60-day waiting period before you can take a retest. If you’re scheduling an online test, make sure you’re in the correct time zone!

Retesting Fees and Fee Waivers

The GED testing fee is usually $20 per subject. If you have to retake any of these subtests, you can have the fee waived. However, fee waivers are only good for up to two attempts.

You must complete any retesting within 12 months of the initial test to receive the fee waiver. Once the 12-month period has ended, you’ll have to pay the full $20 fee per subject again.

How Many Retakes Can You Do?

There is no actual limit on the number of GED retests you can take. However, some states will have waiting period requirements that you must adhere to.

The only retesting limit that will apply is the fee waiver, as mentioned above.

You can also retake the GED to achieve a higher grade. Even if you’ve passed, you may be aiming for college readiness or even college credit. Luckily, you can retake any subjects where you may have fallen short.

Fight for Your Future with the GED Exam

Now that you know more about how GED scores are calculated, you’ll be better prepared for your exam. The GED is a great way to broaden your career and personal horizons, which may make it feel a bit daunting. But, in truth, you have nothing to worry about.

Sign up for free with Union Test Prep to help you prepare for your exam. With our study resources, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your GED diploma.

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