Students who struggle in high school, or who can't afford to spend the time attending four years of high school classes, may find a GED to be a suitable alternative. However, there are some things to consider when planning your education. Certain requirements must be met in order to obtain a GED. In addition, it's important to know what's included in the test and how to prepare for it.

What Is a GED?

A GED, or General Education Development, is a battery of tests taken by a student who wishes to obtain an educational certification equivalent to a high school diploma. A common misconception of the GED is that it's the "easy" way out of attending high school. This is not really the case; the GED test will require you to have approximately the same level of knowledge, in a variety of areas, as a high school graduate.

Testing Components

The GED will test your knowledge in a variety of fields. The format of the test is similar to the ACT test. The language and writing component includes a grammar and organizational section followed by an essay. The reading section covers fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama and business documents. Social studies and science sections are also included, as well as a comprehensive mathematics exam including geometry, algebra, statistics and number sense.

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Required Score

The maximum score attainable on a GED test is 4000, with each section worth 800 points individually. People who have graduated from high school have an average score of 2,500 when taking the test, with 500 out of 800 points earned on each section. The minimum score allowable to pass the GED is 2,250. As you can see, GED holders must have a knowledge level close to the average high school graduate.


The amount of preparation you put forth while getting ready for your GED test will depend on a few factors, including your current level of knowledge, the length of time that has passed since you last attended high school and the amount of time you have to study. It's important to schedule your GED test well in advance and create a studying plan in order to make sure you're proficient in all five sections of the GED.

Testing Locations

Contrary to what some advertising websites will tell you, it is not possible to take a valid GED test online. Although many websites will help you to study for the GED by offering online courses, they cannot administer an official test. There are nearly 3,000 GED testing locations throughout the world. The American Council on Education's website includes a search feature where you can enter your zip code and find a testing location near you.

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