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A Stepwise Guide to Getting a General Educational Development (GED)

College Exams December 18, 2012

If you successfully complete the General Educational Development exam, you can obtain credentials equivalent to a high school diploma, if you do not have one. Getting a GED will prove beneficial to getting admission to a college and could improve your career prospects later.

The General Educational Development (GED) exam was developed by the American Council on Education ( Although the GED is different from a high school diploma, it is considered as an equivalent credential by employers and admission to secondary education programs, 95-96% of employers and colleges accept it (source: ACE).

The following is a stepwise guide to getting a GED:

Stage One: Reviewing of State Prerequisites

A prospective GED test taker must be sixteen years of age or older. Those enrolled in high school, receive a diploma or other qualification of equal value, are not permitted to take the GED. GED eligibility requirements vary from state to state; these policies can apply to the GED Official Practice Exam, preparatory courses and testing fees. Students should visit their state’s official website to research the state’s specific requirements.

Stage Two: Preparation for the General Educational Development

Five subject tests make up the general educational development exam, namely: social studies, science, writing, reading and mathematics. Each section of the general educational development exam carries 200 to 800 marks. To pass, a student needs an overall score of at least 2250, with a minimum score of 410 on every individual test. Students need a 60-percentile score in the general educational development exam and they will need to study to prepare for it (source: ACE). Students can prepare for the exam by employing various available resources.

Classroom Preparation Courses: Your local GED testing center will notify you about classroom training courses that are available. A list of such courses is provided by ACE on its website. You can find the location of such programs in your area by visiting the American Literacy Director locator and entering your address (source: You can access the needed information from phone book listings by looking for literacy programs, continuing education or adult education categories.

Classes are offered by community colleges and high schools. Study online in the comfort of your home. Free online practice tests (including answers and questions) are available; you can access them via the official website of the ACE. At PBS Literacy Link, you can find a GED course that employs Internet resources including videos (source:

Steck-Vaughn Adult Education is a store that you can purchase GED workbooks; you can get practice questions from the GED Official Pretest ( that you can use to test yourself. You can visit the official GED website of your state in order to access other useful resources for home study.

Stage Three: Registering for the General Educational Development

You need to go to an official test center to take the general educational development exam, which is not offered online. Every US states has testing centers and they are available at the majority of international destinations. You can visit the ACE website for a list of test centers in the U.S.; international locations are listed on the Prometrics website ( Personal registration at your testing center may be a mandatory requirement, but visiting the official general educational development website of your state will help you find out whether pre-registration can be done online or forms can be downloaded for mailing. Apart from having to pay any applicable fees, you have to show your social security number, proof of residence and a government-issued ID.

Stage Four: Taking the General Educational Development

The GED exam will take about seven hours to finish. Some states do not insist that you take all the tests at a single sitting. In some locations, you can take the test in the evening. Get in touch with your test administrator for information about the testing options available. There are options available to test takers who have specific needs. Individuals with learning disorders, vision or hearing impairments can require special accommodations. Contact the ACE website or your test center for request forms for such special accommodations. If you are a non-native English speaker, you can take the GED in either French or Spanish, this varies from state to state. In some states, you may be required to complete the ESL (English as a second language) exam.

Stage Five: Post-GED Follow Up

Contact your local testing center to find out your scores. People in the armed forces, in jail, the U.S Job Corps or located outside of the U.S. who has a desire to take the GED must visit the ACE website to obtain a transcript request form that they need to submit; alternatively, get in touch with the appropriate organization.

In case you did not pass the exam, you can retake the test or part of it, most jurisdictions and states allow this. You will have to find out about the waiting period before being able to retake the exam. You may have to take a test preparation course before you are allowed to retake the GED.

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