When all five test sections of a General Educational Development diploma are completed and student receives a GED passing score, like a high school diploma, the GED does not expire. However, there are some situations where individual section scores do expire because old GED scoring system is no longer meets the national requirements. For example, when the GED test undergoes major changes, the old test and all of the scores that you earned will be discarded. If you the test taker does not obtain the GED certificate by the change date, they must retake the entire test with the new test version.
Does a GED Retain its Value Under the Old GED Scoring System?
Since a GED certificate is a high school equivalency diploma, demonstrating that the person who earned it has the same level of knowledge as 60 percent of high school graduates, it retains its educational value. That means once it's earned, this credential can be used to obtain employment or higher education at most organizations as long as those organizations accept the GED certificate. According to the GED Testing Service, the organization responsible for developing and issuing the GED test, approximately 95 percent of U.S. colleges and 96 percent of U.S. employers accept a GED as an equivalent to high school graduation.
Can GED Scores Expire?
Individual section scores are valid in some states, such as Washington, until a new version of the GED test becomes available. The GED Testing Service issues a new version of the test about every decade and the GED passing score criteria is reported then as well. In other states, you must complete all test sections within one year of taking the first test section, whether you pass the sections or not. You must pass all test sections within three years of taking the first test. These distinctions sometimes apply to different jurisdictions, as well, including federal prisons and the military. For more specific information, contact the GED testing administrator for your jurisdiction, which you can find on the GED Testing Service website.
What Happens if the Test has to be Completed in a Different State?
If the test was started in a state with a score-expiration policy -- where one must complete and pass all five sections within three years -- and the student moves to a state that does not have that restriction before completing all sections, the original jurisdiction’s time limit may or may not apply. The GED Testing Service recommends contacting the GED testing administrator for the original jurisdiction to determine if the three-year time limit applies to transferred scores. It could take several weeks for scores to transfer from one state to another, and the transfer process varies from state to state. This impacts the available time to complete testing, which could be an issue if the original time limit still applies for finishing the full GED test.
Is it Possible to Get a Better Score?
Since a GED credential never expires, it's never necessary to renew the certificate or complete additional learning to maintain the credential or to improve upon old GED test scores. There are some circumstances, however, when a student may not be satisfied with their final grades or they do not receive a passing score on their GED and would like to retake the test. As with most GED test-taking policies, each jurisdiction varies on when and how certain people can retake all or a portion of the GED test. The Education Portal website indicates that it is often only possible to retake the GED test if a college or employer requires it.
Joanna Polisena has been writing professionally since obtaining a high school mentorship at her hometown's city newspaper. Her work has appeared in daily newspapers, an employment agency's monthly newsletter and various corporate multimedia productions. She earned an AA in letters, arts and sciences from Pennsylvania State University.