How To Get A GED

How to Get a GEDMany adults are puzzled about how to get a GED. First you need to understand what the GED is and its purpose. The GED is actually a series of five subject tests and one written essay. The GED is intended to evaluate whether a candidate is academically equivalent to a typical high school graduate. Most adults seek a GED credential in order to go to college or for employment requirements. The GED test is developed by the GED Testing Service which is a partnership between the American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson VUE (a test development company). Over 800,000 students take the GED yearly. According to ACE, over 95% of U.S. Colleges and employers will accept the GED credential instead of a high school diploma.

The process to getting a GED is outlined below:

How To Get A GED

Step 1: Determine if you are eligible for a GED

The first step in getting your GED is to understand the requirements. The GED testing service sets minimum requirements for taking the GED. The GED minimum requirements are:

  • Minimum age of 16
  • Not currently enrolled or attending high school
  • Do not possess a high school diploma
  • Must meet local requirements for residency, length of time since leaving high school, and age.

Each local jurisdiction (e.g., State) will have its own set of requirements. Many states, for example, will require a candidate to be 18 years old. A complete list of GED state requirements can be found at

Step 2: Prepare for the GED

After you have confirmed that you are eligible to take the GED, the next step is to begin to prepare for the test. The type and amount of preparation necessary to do well on the GED depends on the student and their goals. If your goal is to get into a top college and you have been out of high school for some time, then you might require extensive preparation. If you only need to pass the GED test and have a good understanding of the different subjects, then you may need little preparation. You need to not only understand “how to get a GED”, but also “why you are getting a GED”.

In general, there are several options available for students to prepare for the GED. These options can consist of one or more of the following approaches:

  • Traditional Classroom – GED preparation classes are tried and true method of studying for the GED. Classes are offered by community colleges, high schools, and adult education organizations.
  • Online Courses/Study Aids – There are a variety of online options available to help a student prepare for the GED. Online resources include study guides, flash cards, practice tests, videos, exercises and more. GED online resources can either be free or require a fee (ranging from $10 to over $100).
  • GED Study Guides – There are a number of GED books that candidates can use to prepare for the GED. The best books provide refresher information on the five subject areas as well as hundreds of sample questions.

Step 3: Register

You must follow the registration instructions as prescribed by your local testing administrator (usually a state testing authority). The local testing agency will specify the registration process, fees, requirements, and test locations. You can find the contact information for your state’s GED test authority at

The GED exam cannot be taken online. You must take the exam at an official GED testing center. You can find the nearest official GED testing center at the GED Testing Service’s website –

Step 4: Take the Test

You will be given about 7 hours (425 minutes) to complete the five GED subject tests and one written essay. The test times will be governed by your local testing administrator. Some states allow you multiple days to complete the test, while other states require the test to be completed in one sitting. Some testing locations may also offer evening test hours.

Currently, the GED test may be given via pencil/paper or on a computer. 24 states allow candidates to take the test via computer. Both the computer based and the pencil/paper versions of the test must be taken in an official testing center location.

Each GED testing center will have strict security measures in place. Candidates will be required to show acceptable identification prior to sitting for the exam. In addition, you will only be allowed to bring pens, pencils and erasers into the testing area. You will be required to leave all other items outside (including coats, purses etc.).

Step 5: Determine Your Scores and Next Steps

After you have finished your GED exams you will be given two scores for each of the five content test areas: a standard score and a percentile rank. The standard score will range from 200 to 800. The percentile score will show how your score compares to graduating high school seniors.

The GED Testing Service sets the minimum required passing score as a standard score total of 2250 and a minimum score of 410 in each subject. These minimum scores correspond to an academic ability greater than 60 percent of high school seniors. Local jurisdictions may set their own passing requirements, but most use the GED Testing Service standard requirements.

If you pass the GED exam, you will need to request a copy of you transcripts to apply to college or to show your employer. If you fail your exam, you are allowed to retake a content test up to three times a year.

That’s it!  Now you know how to get a GED!