GED Test Introduction

The tests of General Education Development, also called the GED, are used to measure the academic knowledge acquired by persons who have not completed a high school curriculum. Some students may drop out of school while others may face certain hardships that prevent them from completing high school. Whatever the reason for not completing high school, most students discover that a high school diploma is essential for obtaining a long-term career. GED tests allow people to obtain a high school diploma by taking and passing a multi-part test.

The GED consists of five multiple-choice tests plus a timed essay test. The five subject areas covered by the GED test are Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Reading, and Mathematics. Each area covers the material that high school students learn during that particular course of study.

The GED test is created by the collaborative efforts of secondary school educators, adult educators, and subject matter experts. In order to ensure the fairness and accuracy of the GED tests, each question is scrutinized by test specialists.

In order to create a test that most accurately reflects the content students learn in high school, the GED is standardized on a regular basis. The standardizing procedure uses the test scores of a stratified random sample of graduating high school students who are tested in the spring of their senior year. The scores of these students are used as the performance standard that must be matched by students attempting the GED.

GED tests were first developed in 1942 as a means to allow World War II veterans to complete high school. According to the Digest of Education Statistics and GEDTS statistics, 1 of every 9 high school diplomas is a GED credential. Statistics also reveal that 1 out of every 20 first-year college students are GED graduates.

The GED test will be undergoing its biggest change ever quite soon. In 2014 a completely redesigned GED exam will be unveiled, and it is expected to be much harder to pass. Rest assured that all the information on this site is up to date with the current test.

Why Take the GED?

After a candidate has successfully taken the GED tests, they may choose to pursue enrollment in a college or university. It is estimated that over 60 percent of candidates who take the GED are doing so with the intention of entering college or a postsecondary training facility.

Ninety-eight percent of colleges and universities in the United States recognize the GED credential. Students who do not graduate from high school but who wish to enroll in a college or university must pass the GED to demonstrate that they have achieved the necessary skills and knowledge for entering an institute of higher learning. Enrollment in a college or university may also be subject to successful completion of standardized tests such as SATs or ACTs.

Candidates who do not anticipate attending an undergraduate school or university after obtaining their GED will have the opportunity to pursue a greater number of jobs than if they had not obtained their GED. Many candidates who pursue a GED report doing so in order to get better jobs resulting in better income. Many candidates report that obtaining a GED makes them feel better about themselves. Obtaining a GED should be viewed as an investment in one's future.

GED Testing Fees and Requirements

Each state is allowed to select its own requirements or limitations for GED candidates as long as the rules adhere to minimum requirements set by The General Educational Development Testing Service, or GEDTS. Each state can choose the fee it wishes to charge for taking the GED tests. States may also select additional age requirements for GED candidates.

GED testing fees are determined by each state or jurisdiction. Candidates can contact their local GED Administrator by phone, in person, or by visiting their website. The GED Administrator can provide the information regarding testing fees, schedules, age requirements, eligibility requirements, and passing scores. The General Educational Development Testing Service, or GEDTS, requires only that candidates be at least 16 years old and not enrolled in high school. As long as this minimum standard is met, each state or jurisdiction can amend the requirements to suit their own needs.

For example, the state of Montana requires that candidates be 17 years old. If a 16 year old would like to apply for the GED they must provide specific documentation. The fee charged by the state of Montana for GED testing at an official testing center is $55.00. The retest fee is $14.00 for the Language Arts Writing test. A retake fee of $7.00 is assessed for each additional part of the test. This is just an example of the fees charged by one state. Each state determines its own fees and requirements. Candidates should contact their local testing center to determine the fees and requirements for their specific location.

Preparing for the GED Tests

There are a variety of ways for GED candidates to begin preparing for the GED tests. Taking a GED practice test is the best way, but there are others, too. Candidates are encouraged to contact adult education resource centers in their area. Adult education resource centers can refer candidates to preparation classes, adult education programs, or community college programs. To locate adult education centers, candidates can go to America's Literacy Directory online or the National Institute for Literacy

Candidates may also contact The National Center for Family Literacy and speak with a counselor who can help to determine the appropriate instructional programs for GED candidates. Candidates who would prefer to pursue self-instruction programs may choose from a variety of television study aids, online instructional courses, and written sample tests. Local television stations may broadcast study programs during certain time slots. Candidates can consult local television listings to identify if any stations in their area offer GED preparation programs. Candidates should visit their local testing center to receive a full listing of the preparatory resources available to them.

Students can begin GED test preparation by understanding the various skills that will be required. The tests will require higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and information analysis. GED practice tests can help students to better understand the types of questions that will be on the actual test.

GED Special Accommodations

All GED candidates must be given fair accommodations according to their needs. Some candidates may have disabilities that prevent them from taking the regular print edition of the GED in the regular testing manner. Candidates who request special accommodations due to a disability must provide appropriate documentation. Candidates must obtain a Request for Testing Accommodations form. Any candidate requesting special accommodations due to a disability must have documented and verifiable proof of their disability. The candidate must complete the form and provide documentation from a professional diagnostician. In addition, the candidate must submit their documentation with a signature from the Chief Examiner of the candidate's testing center.

Accommodations are available for a variety of disabilities. Accommodations include, but are not limited to audiocassette tests, large prints tests, use of scribes, extended test time, use of calculators, frequent supervised breaks, and private testing rooms. Additional accommodations can be discussed with GED Administrators.

Candidates who have questions about the special accommodations or required documentation can contact their nearest GED testing center to receive a listing of resources. Candidates can use the resource list to contact a professional who handles the candidate's particular disability. The resource list covers a variety of special needs areas including visual impairments, learning disabilities, speech impairments, hearing impairments, developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, chronic illnesses, and specific disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder.

GED Testing Sites

GED testing is done throughout the United States, Canada, and various international locations. GED testing sites can provide a wealth of information about the test. They can also provide information on the various resources available to GED candidates. There are over 2,800 testing centers in the world which can be located by calling the toll-free-hotline at (800)-626-9433. Candidates may also visit various online sites that can help to locate the testing center closest to the candidate's residence.

Candidates are encouraged to visit their official GED testing centers. However, different testing centers operate during different hours. It is important to contact the testing center before visiting to confirm business hours. While most testing centers remain open during normal business hours, some are open on evenings and weekends.

Candidates are also encouraged to discuss alternative testing locations with a staff member from their nearest testing center. Many sites offer alternative testing locations so that candidates do not have to travel excessive distances to take the GED tests.

GED candidates located abroad and foreign nationals have access to over 100 testing center locations. Military personnel who wish to take the GED may do so at military installations operating DANTES programs, or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support.

This information is very likely to change in 2014, when the new version of the GED exam is introduced. Our website will keep you up to date with any and all changes related to the GED.

Visiting GED Test Centers

Candidates are encouraged to visit their local GED testing center prior to taking the GED tests. The testing center can provide a great deal of helpful information and many valuable study resources. Most centers operate during normal business hours while some centers are also open on weekends and evenings. Some testing centers operate additional testing facilities that may be closer to a candidate's home. Candidates should be aware that testing centers operate like any other business and candidates should call for hours before making a trip to the center. Candidates are also encouraged to inquire about additional facilities at their nearest GED testing center.

Testing center staff members can provide a wealth of information to GED candidates. Candidates can obtain a list of websites, books, and materials that offer test preparation programs. Candidates can receive answers about the content of the GED tests, the nature of test questions, the process required for requesting special accommodations and the resources available for candidates with special needs. Testing centers can also refer candidates to public and private GED study programs and courses located within the candidate's residential area.

Certain states or counties may have residency restrictions that require candidates to take the GED test at a center located within their county of residence. Candidates should inquire about residency restrictions with their local GED testing center.

Obtaining Copies of Transcripts

GED test transcripts can be obtained by contacting the person in charge of GED testing in the area where the test was taken. Testing centers do not hold GED transcripts except in the case of certain military personnel. Testing centers hold transcripts for the following:

  • Active duty U.S. military personnel tested after October 1, 1985
  • U.S. military personnel tested overseas after September 1974
  • Coast Guard personnel tested after January 1975
  • Overseas civilians tested between November 1966 and May 1998
  • Ft. Jackson personnel tested after March 1975
  • Federal prison inmates tested after 1954
  • Michigan prisons inmates tested after 1957
  • West Point personnel tested after September 1982
  • Canadian military tested between June 1982 and September 1997
  • Ft. Hamilton personnel tested after January 1984
  • Ft. Knox personnel tested after July 1, 1985
  • Ft. Campbell personnel tested after July 1, 1985
  • U.S. Veterans who tested at VA Hospitals after October 1989

Candidates ordering transcripts must fill out a GED Transcript Request Form. Candidates will be asked to provide their name, address, date of birth, social security number, telephone number, military status at the time the test was taken, the location where the test was taken, and the year the test was taken. Candidates must select the location where they want the transcript mailed. A payment is also required in the form of a money order or credit card.

GED Practice Tests: Make the Most of Them

GED practice tests are a test taker’s best friend. If you hope to make a good score on your GED exam, you simply must take advantage of their benefits. Many people despise taking tests, and they figure that it’s bad enough that they have to actually take the GED—there is no way they’re going to spend time taking a practice test. This is a recipe for disaster. Anyone who feels this way is at high risk of not passing the GED exam. Having to take it all over again (and pay the test fee, too) is far worse than studying for a practice test. With the wide range of GED practice tests available and how much they can help a person, it’s simply foolish to ignore them.

If you’ve been dreading the idea of a practice test for the GED, think of it as a warm-up for the real event. Just as in your old phys ed classes back in school, you need to stretch and warm up gradually before getting into heavy-duty action. If you’re out of shape, you wouldn’t go out and run a marathon this weekend; you would start off slowly and build up to the big challenge. GED practice tests serve the same purpose. They let you “stretch” your mind and give you an idea of what the real test is like, but without the pressure. Many, many people who have passed the GED will tell you that they could not have done it without making use of GED practice tests, and you would be well advised to follow suit. Take the tests, with no pressure, and see where your weak areas are so you can brush up on them. It’s far better to take a practice test or two and pass the real GED than it is to have to it several times because you failed.

Last Updated: 06/19/2014