Most high school students have contemplated leaving high school early at least once. Dropping out really isn't a viable option but "testing out" can be a good choice for students. Students may want to “test out” of high school for a number of reasons. Gifted or academically-accelerated students may want to proceed directly to more challenging courses of study at college. Some teens may want to start a job to earn money in preparation for college. Young adults who have participated in homeschooling may have finished their required coursework early. The American Council on Education administers the General Educational Development or (GED) which is accepted by many colleges as an entry test.
What is the GED?
The GED test is a series of exams that confer a high school graduate equivalency on any individual who passes the exams. The included exams are mathematical reasoning, reasoning through language arts, social studies and science. Students who meet the requirement of their state can take the GED to test out of high school or as an alternative to complete high school if they left early for other reasons.
Contact your state's Department of Education to determine if you or your child is eligible to take the GED exams. These requirements can differ by age and residency restrictions, among other factors, such as employment or incarceration. For example, Massachusetts requires students who are 16 or 17 to obtain an “official letter of withdraw” from their local high school whereas Vermont permits any student 16 or older to take the GED and “test out” of high school with their parents’ permission. The GED must be taken in person. Like the SAT and ACT tests, you cannot take the GED or any of its exams online because the tests are proctored in person.
Fulfill Pre-Test GED Requirements
Fulfill the requirements of your particular state to register for the GED. For instance, Arkansas requires that home-schooled students who wish to take the GED must obtain and provide a notarized letter that certifies that their parents intend to instruct them at home. Vermont only requires that students and their parents fill out a permission form at the registration center.
Study For GED Sections
Study for the sections of the GED you want to take at the testing site. A number of educational companies produce study guides, online and paper sample exams that will help you prepare for the GED.
Register for GED Exam
Register to take one or more sections of the GED exam at a testing center near you. Age and other testing requirements also vary by area; learn more about rules for testing in your area before registering. You can register in one of two ways: register directly at the testing site or completing registration online. If you choose to pre-register, you will still need to print out your proof of registration and take it with you to the testing center on the date of the exam. Take a pen, pencil, eraser, proof of identification and payment to the testing center on the date of the exam.
In 2018, the cost for each subject test is $30 and you can choose to take one, two, three or all four of the subject tests all at once or individually on your own schedule. That test subject fee includes the GED test, same day scoring, personalized score report, two retakes per subject, a transcript and diploma.
GED Test and Passing Requirements
The ultimate goal is to take and pass all sections of the GED test. Students who pass receive a certificate of high-school equivalency and no longer need to attend high school. The standard score for passing in all states but New Jersey is 145. New Jersey has a required passing level of 150. Further notations of GED performance behind simply passing include scores of between 165-174 which qualify you as GED College Ready. A score of 165 or above on any test subject indicates college readiness. That notation may qualify students for waivers from further testing during college enrollment. The final test score designation is GED College Ready + Credit. If you score over 175 on any test subject, there is the added potential of also qualifying for up to 10 college credit hours at enrollment.
Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.