GED Test Guide

GED TestThe GED (short for General Educational Development) Tests are a series of five tests that are designed to certify that a student has academic skills that are equivalent to a recent high school graduate. The GED tests are targeted at American and Canadian adults (older than 16 years old) who do not possess a high school diploma

The GED tests are developed and maintained by the GED Testing Service (GEDTS) which is a joint venture between the American Council on Education and Pearson VUE (a test development and management company). GEDTS creates the one official GED test that is used in all 50 U.S. States. The official GED test is also used for the U.S. Military, Canadian provinces and all U.S. territories. The GEDTS partners with state and local testing programs to administer the test. The local GED testing programs administer the tests, set testing requirements and ultimately award the high school credential. The GED test is given at more than 3,000 testing centers. Approximately 800,000 adults take the GED test annually.

GED Requirements

The GED testing service sets some minimum requirements for GED test takers. The current GEDTS minimum requirements are:

  • Candidate must be 16 years of age or older
  • Candidate must not have graduated from high school
  • Candidate must not currently be enrolled in high school
  • Candidate must meet local/jurisdictional requirements regarding age, residency, and length of time since leaving high school.

Local jurisdictions typically have their own set of GED requirements. Most jurisdictions will require GED test takers to be at least 18 years old. This requirement is intended to discourage high school students from dropping out of school early. Complete GED requirements can be found at:

GED Test Format

The GED tests consist of five separate subject area tests and one essay. The five subject area tests contain a total of 240 multiple choice questions and students are given 425 minutes to complete all of the tests. The five subject area tests are detailed below:

  • Math – The GED Math test contains 50 questions and has a 90 minute time limit. The GED math test evaluates a student’s knowledge of basic high school math, including: algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, functions and patterns and data analysis.
  • Science – The GED Science test contains 50 questions and has an 80 minute time limit. The GED Science test evaluates a student’s understanding of high school science topics such as: Earth and Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science.
  • Social Studies – The GED Social Studies test contains 50 questions and has a 70 minute time limit. The GED Social Studies test assesses a student’s knowledge of key geography, history, civics and economics concepts.
  • Reading – The GED Language Arts (Reading) Test has 40 questions and a 65 minute time limit. The GED Reading Test evaluates a student’s reading comprehension. Students are given a variety of reading passages and asked to identify main concepts, understand sequences of events and make comparisons.
  • Writing – The GED Language Arts (Writing) Test contains 50 questions and has a time limit of 75 minutes. The GED Writing test assesses a candidate’s ability to revise and edit informational and workplace documents. Skills evaluated include: mechanics, usage, sentence structure and organization.

GED Test Prep

Although students are not required to take any formal classes to prepare for the GED, many students find that they do need some help in getting ready for the test. There are many ways to prepare for your GED tests. Typical methods of GED test preparation include:

  • Classroom preparation – GED classroom courses are offered by local community colleges, local high schools, and adult education/literacy organizations. GED classes are a good option for student’s that like more formal education or need tutoring.
  • Online Courses – There are a variety of online resources designed specifically for GED preparation. GED online courses can be either free or require a payment.
  • GED study guides (books) – GED study guides are a traditional method of preparing for the GED. The best GED study guides provide an overview/refresher of the subject area content and provide sample test questions.
  • Practice Tests – GED practice tests are an effective way for some students to study. Students are already familiar with the material often choose to start preparing with practice tests to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

GED Scores

Each of the GED subject tests are scored on a scale of 200 to 800. The GED testing service sets a minimum passing score of 2250 for the 5 tests combined. Additionally, students must score a minimum of 410 on any individual test. Local jurisdictions may set their own scoring requirements for granting a GED credential as long as it meets the 2250/410 requirements.
The GED tests are a practical way to earn your high school equivalent credential. Earning your GED credential can help you get into college or get a desired job. To earn the GED credential, however, students must have a firm grasp of the knowledge that a typical high school graduate would have.