What Is GED and How to Get It?

Education is a link that unites people all over the world, fuelling their enthusiasm for reaching success and filling them with determination to improve their credentials. It’s a commonly known fact that the United States has one of the best education systems in the world, with millions of students hoping to take their place within it. But the problem is, it’s very demanding, and to reach the level of true success, you must pass several complex stages full of expected and unexpected challenges.

These days, if you don’t have a college or university degree, your chances of finding good work and building a career that would let you live comfortably are limited to a frustrating extent. In turn, you cannot access college or university unless you have successfully finished high school and got the corresponding diploma. Since the world is unstable, a big number of people miss their chance. They cannot study in the actual high school to then move on to college timely. Does it mean they are condemned to remain on the same academic level, though? Not at all. American education system might be harsh, but it’s far from being unforgiving.

GED: Definition, Significance, and the Target Audience

GED stands for General Educational Development, and it entails a set of four major tests in four different areas that any willing person of 18 years and older can take. The reasons for it might vary, but the core motivation is the desire to enhance one’s academic skills and receive official recognition proving one’s success in doing it. In particular, GED is a replacement for the US high school diploma. It’s relevant for various groups of individuals who didn’t finish an American school on time but who would like to further their education now. They include US citizens, immigrants from other countries, Americans who had to move elsewhere and now consider going back to their home country, and so on.

The limits the society places upon us aren’t as rigid as they have been once, which gives people hope and freedom. For instance, they can drop out of high school if the pressure gets too unbearable, spending their free time figuring out their preferences, resting, or even working some low-paid jobs. Sometimes the harsher circumstances strike, forcing young people to leave without a chance to complete their studies. Then there are individuals living outside the US or Canada. They might have finished high school in their country, but the diploma from there might not be recognized in accordance with international standards. Every person like this can take GED, and if they pass all four tests successfully, their academic level is sufficiently high for proceeding with their education in any of American colleges. This is a unique chance to develop as a student and as a professional, and if you are already 18 or older, you can easily apply and try yourself. Of course, thorough preparation is needed. If you want to understand how GED functions and what it comprises, take a look at detailed information below.

GED Structure: Four Large Parts You’ll Be Taking an Exam On

Like it was already stated, GED has four vast academic areas that you’ll have to cover if you want to obtain a passable overall grade. They entail Math, Science, Social Studies, and Reasoning through Language Arts (which consists of reading and writing). Here’s what you might encounter in them.


This test is going to last 115 minutes, though of course, you can finish it sooner if you can. There will be two parts with algebraic as well as quantitative problem-solving tasks, both having 46 questions in total. The first part has a smaller part of them, seeking to check your arithmetic knowledge. The second part is more complex and diversified. Note that you must be done with part 1 before you are allowed to get to the next one.

You’ll be provided with an online calculator as well as instructions indicating how to use it, but it’s better to take your own to the exam instead of wasting time on figuring out what to do with the unfamiliar one. The tasks themselves will involve a range of different actions. There will be multiple-choice questions where you’ll have to select the correct answer from several provided ones. Drop down and fill-in questions will be present, too, so you’ll have to type down detailed replies based only on your knowledge. In addition, there is a drag-and-drop design of tasks. You should know how to conduct operations related to subtractions, division, basic numbers, addition, exponents, multiplication, roots, etc. The topics are diverse as well, so you must understand simple interests, mean, perimeters and surface area, quadratic formula, and so on.


This part worries potential students most because let’s face it, few of us are actually good at something as specific and complex as science. But don’t panic: according to the official GED website, the passing rate is as high as 90%. All you need is to possess common reasoning that most people capable of finishing a standard high school have. You’ll have to read charts with data, interpret them, apply some science-related concepts about Earth, space, etc., and answer some basic related questions. The time limit is 90 minutes and there will be no breaks, so concentrate and do your absolute best during this period.

Social Studies

This area consists of questions about such subjects as History, Geography, and Civics. Don’t think it’s about memorization, though! There won’t be such obvious and senseless tasks as indicating what country has which capital. Again, most average students with an average understanding of the world around them and minimal knowledge could easily pass this part. Context is crucial here, so be prepared to decipher provided situations, offer your interpretation, and apply some relevant concepts. The time limit is 70 minutes, so be quick and don’t linger on questions even if you cannot answer them! Better leave them for later, and after you complete everything, go back to them. GED system has such an option, which is very convenient.

Language Arts

This test goes on for 150 minutes. It will involve tasks related to grammar, reading skills, as well as editing. If you understand what communication is and are capable of maintaining all kinds of it, you are unlikely to fail here. The tasks themselves are simple: you are going to be provided with excerpts from different texts on various topics, and afterward, you’ll have to prove you understood what they were about by replying to questions. You’ll also have to analyze sets of texts and make a conclusion as to which one is more persuasive. It’s relatively easy, and the passing rate is high.

Steps You Have to Cover When Getting GED

So, how does the process of taking GED actually work? There are four major steps that need to be covered before you can access your exam results.

  1. Learn about your requirements in your location. Each place that officially represents GED and offers taking it has its own set of requirements. If you’re in the US, you’ll have to go to the local center of your state. If you are an international student, look for a school or center in your own country. Learn about the fees, needed documents, specific requirements, policies on retakes, or even age if you are younger than 18 (since some states allow passing GED starting with 16). Collect all possible information so you wouldn’t be caught unaware and miss a chance to take the test when you want it.
  2. Start the preparation process. Even if you are fully confident about yourself and your skills, you must undergo several practice tests before getting to actual GED. There are several ways of doing it. You can pass them online for free. You could use the official US GED website or go to special paid classes that propose relevant materials and similar tasks that will happen during the real exam. Train as hard as you can, it will make the tests much easier in the end.
  3. Register. Create an account via the official site. Indicate true information about yourself and check it several times – making a mistake here could have severe and unfortunate consequences. You can select a place where you want to take GED from there. More than that, your account will be a place where you’ll be able to check how much you scored after everything is over.
  4. Take the test itself. Come on time, arrange special accommodations if they are needed, and most importantly, stay calm. You can take all four exams at once or you can ask to do it in different ways — it’s up to you, just make sure you specify your request from the start to avoid miscommunication. If you are passing everything during one and the same day, you’ll be allowed to take breaks between the subjects. Within several hours after you have submitted everything and left, check results from your online account. Usually, they are ready in about 3 hours.

Where to Get GED?

Note that you cannot take GED from your home online. If you see any companies offering you to do it for a fee, beware and know that they are scammers. Due to GED importance, the examiners treat the process of testing extremely seriously. You must come to the special center and do it from there, where your performance can be observed and where it’s clear that you’re who you say you are. For example, at home, you could easily hire a professional to pass the test for you. It doesn’t work like this with GED, which is why the security measures are pretty tight. Browse the available options via your account created on an official website — it has the function of the search for a center closest to you. Another way is the Pearson VUE site. It can also help you find your desired center, just type in your address and that’s it, you’ll see all available locations. Finally, you could also search for consultation online, browsing discussions threads of other people or contacting GED for details.

Imagine You Failed GED: What’s Next?

There is a specific amount of points you need to get to succeed. The passing score requires you to earn at least 145 points for each subject. You could also earn a distinction if your score is high enough. But of course, there might be a situation when you won’t be able to collect as many points as needed. If it happened to you, don’t let it discourage you. Such things are more common than you think, so remember that you aren’t the only one who failed — there are lots of students who had the same problem at some stage of their education, whether they were passing GED tests or something similar. Most importantly, there is a chance to retake the exam — several of them, in fact. You are provided with two immediate attempts of improving your results. Did you fail them, too? There is still no need to despair. Sure, it’s clear at this point that you have to prepare yourself better, but you can try again in 60 days. You could even get a discount — clarify state requirements in this regard. Another situation could be you getting a sufficient result but still wanting to do better. The same retake requirements will apply.

Believe in Yourself, Practice, and Take GED for as Many Times as You Need

Now that you know what GED comprises, where to pass it, and how to arrange everything, you are ready to take first steps in getting a certificate. Let the knowledge that there are multiple attempts available soothe you. If you undergo enough sample tests and manage to concentrate during the exam itself, you’ll most likely succeed. There are lots of useful resources with practice tests and state information, so check them and start fighting for your certificate.

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