Do I Have To Take Classes To Get My GED?

Last Updated on April 14, 2024.

Some states allow you to take the GED test without the requirement to first take prep classes and/or the GED Ready Practice Test.

In other states, GED test-takers must attend a prep course and/or take the GED Ready® test. To qualify for taking the GED test online, however, reaching a passing score on the GED Ready test is a prerequisite.

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Let’s clarify in which states you can sit for the GED® test without taking classes and/or the GED Ready test (if you take the test at a test center) and which states don’t allow you to do that.

Again, keep in mind that to qualify for the OP (Online Proctored) GED exam, candidates must first reach sufficient scores on the official GED Ready Official Practice Test.

Alabama
Alabama does not require GED applicants to first take GED prep classes. You also don’t need to take the GED Ready® practice test first unless you want to take the GED exam online.

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Underage students (16 and 17-year-olds) must be Alabama residents, but applicants 18 and over don’t need to be state residents.

Alaska
In Alaska, you’re not required to prepare for GED (General Education Development) testing in adult education, and there’s also no requirement to first take the GED Ready test (except when you write the test online).

GED testing is open not only to state residents, and 16 or 17-year-olds may take the GED test if they are officially withdrawn from high school and have written consent from a parent or a guardian.

Arizona
Arizona does not require GED testers to first take GED prep classes, but applicants need to pass the Arizona Civics test as well to receive their Arizona High School Equivalency Diploma. To qualify for online testing, applicants must always first reach passing scores on the GED Ready practice test.

There is no Arizona residency requirement, and underage examinees (ages 16 and 17) need to provide additional documentation.

Arkansas
Arkansas does not require GED hopefuls to prepare for GED testing in any official program, but here, students are required to first take the GED Ready practice test at an official adult education or a GED testing center before they can schedule their tests.

In Arkansas, GED testing is also open to 16 or 17-year-olds if they meet all requirements.

California
In California, GED applicants don’t need to take prep classes first, nor are they required to take the GED Ready test (except when testing online). The minimum age for GED testing is 16, but younger test-takers may also qualify if they are within a 60-day period of their 18th birthday or within 60 days of the day that they would have regularly graduated from high school.

Successful GED testers will not receive their California HS Equivalency Certificate until they turn 18. In California, GED test-taking is open to residents and members of the armed forces stationed in the state. California uses two options for HSE testing, the HiSET and GED.

Colorado
Colorado is not requiring test-takers to first attend a GED or HiSET prep course, nor do they need to first take the GED Ready test (this does NOT apply to online testing!). There is no state residency requirement, and the minimum age in Colorado is 16, but 16-year-old applicants only qualify if they hold an official Age Waiver and are approved by a GED testing center.

Colorado offers two different tests for high school equivalency testing, the GED and HiSET. You may also want to check out this page about Congresswoman Boebert from Colorado.

Connecticut
In Connecticut, GED applicants do not need to attend an official GED prep course or first take the GED Ready test when taking the exam at a test center. Test-takers must be Connecticut legal residents.

The minimum GED testing age here is 17, but 17 and 18-year-olds may only qualify if they meet strict regulations, and you may also want to learn more about how the GED works.

Delaware
In Delaware, GED applicants are not required to take GED prep classes first or take the GED Ready practice test (this does NOT count for online testing). State residency is a requirement, though, and testing is open to applicants 16 and over.

However, 16- and 17-year-olds must meet some pretty strict requirements, such as holding approval from their school districts and having parental consent.

District of Columbia
In Washington DC, GED hopefuls are not required to attend a GED prep course first, but they must take the official GED Ready Practice test and attain a score of at least “Too Close to Call” or “Likely to Pass” before they can take the official GED test.

The minimum age here is 16 though underage students (16 or 17) can only qualify if they are officially withdrawn from school, have parental consent, and meet more requirements. Applicants must be DC residents.

Florida
Florida doesn’t require GED test-takers to first take GED prep classes or the GED Ready Test. Online GED testing is not available in Florida. However, if candidates want to take the exam online in another state, they must first reach passing scores on the GED Ready test. The state has no residency requirements for GED applicants 18 and over.

Underage applicants (16 or 17 years of age), must have an Underage Waiver issued by their school district and meet strict requirements.

Georgia
In Georgia, taking GED prep classes or taking the GED Ready test prior to testing is only required for underage GED applicants (16 and 17 years old) and online testers. There is no state residency requirement in Georgia.

Applicants 16 or 17 must enroll in a state-approved prep class for at least 40 hours and meet more requirements. They must attain sufficient scores on the GED Ready test or the Aztec GED Practice Test. Georgia uses the GED and HiSET exams.

Hawaii
In Hawaii, students need to complete at least 60 hours of instruction before they can register for the GED test. Hawaii’s Department of Education is requiring all applicants for the state’s “Adult Community School Diploma” to earn at least 0,5 credits from a community adult school or from an accredited public or private high school to be able to earn the credential.

Students don’t need to take the GED Ready test first, nor do they need to be state residents. Underage students (16 or 17 years of age) may qualify if they meet strict regulations. Hawaii does not offer the online GED exam.

Idaho
Idaho doesn’t require GED hopefuls to first attend a prep course or take the GED Ready test, nor do test-takers need to be Idaho residents. Online GED test-takers must, however, first attain passing scores on the GED Ready test.

The minimum age is 16 years of age in Idaho, but 16- and 17-year-olds may only qualify if they meet criteria such as holding parental consent and being officially withdrawn from the last school they attended.

Illinois
The state of Illinois is not requiring GED applicants to first attend a prep course or take the GED Ready test (this does NOT apply to online GED testers), but they need to be residents for at least 30 days. Students need to be at least 17 years old, but those who are 17 must hold an official withdrawal letter.

In Illinois, test-takers must additionally pass the U.S. & Illinois State Constitution exam, which is free and available at major testing sites or a Regional Office of Education. Illinois uses two high school equivalency tests, the GED and HiSET. The exams are now FREE in Illinois.

Indiana
Indiana uses the GED (General Education Development) and HiSET (short for simply High School Equivalency Test) for its high school equivalency testing program. Applicants must be state residents for at least 30 days and are not required to first attend a GED or HiSET prep course or take an official practice test prior to testing, except when taking the exams online.

The minimum age here is 16, but 16 & 17-year-olds must meet rather strict requirements. Indiana switched from the TASC to the HiSET on July 1, 2021, and now uses both the GED and HiSET.

Iowa
The state of Iowa is using the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). Applicants do not need to be state residents and at least 16 years old. Those aged 17 may also qualify if they meet certain criteria, and 16-year-olds are only eligible for HiSET testing if they are under the supervision of Juvenile Probation Offices.

All HiSET applicants are required to attend prior instruction first and take the official HiSET practice test.

Kansas
Kansas does not require GED hopefuls to attend a GED prep course prior to testing or take the GED Ready test, except when testing in an online format.

There’s no need to be a state resident, and the minimum age is 16. Underage students (16 or 17 years of age) need to hold an official “Compulsory Attendance Exemption Form” and/or a “Compulsory School Attendance” signed by a parent or guardian. The GED diploma allows you to become a firefighter or a police officer, so what’s holding you back from getting your GED fast?

Kentucky
In Kentucky, GED testers do not first have to take a GED prep course, but they do need to take the GED Ready test and be state residents.

Here, the minimum age is 18, though 18-year-old students may qualify if they are officially withdrawn from their school for 90 days or longer (school superintendents may, however, waive this waiting period).

Louisiana
Louisiana uses the GED and HiSET exams for High School Equivalency testing. The minimum testing age is 16, but 16, 17, and 18-year-olds may also take the exams if they meet strict criteria.

Applicants 19 and over do not have to take a prep course or the official HiSET or GED practice test first, except when testing online. Underage students (16-18 years of age) do have to take prior instruction and score satisfactory results on the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test) or GED Teady test to be able to qualify for GED or HiSET testing. Test-takers don’t need to be Louisiana residents.

Maine
Maine is using the HiSET exam for HSE testing. There’s no need for test-takers to first attend prep classes, but they must take and pass the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test) at one of Maine’s HiSET test centers or provide proof of similar preparation.

Test-takers must be 17 years of age, and HiSET testing is free to state residents. Out-of-state applicants may also take the HiSET exam in Maine but pay the ETS test fee ($10.75 computer-based) or $15 (paper-based).

Maryland
Maryland party subsidizes GED testing, so it is available for state residents only. There’s no need for test-takers to first attend prep classes or take the GED Ready test, except when taking the test online.

Testing is open to residents 16 and up, but 16, 17, and 18-year-olds also may sit for the test if they meet strict criteria. Thanks to government subsidies, GED testing costs $45 for the entire test in Maryland, and retesting costs $11,25 per subject test. But this is only for 1st-time GED testers. All others pay the regular fee of $36 per subtest ($44 for the full exam).

Massachusetts
Massachusetts offers two options for HSE testing: the GED and the HiSET. Students don’t have to first enroll in an adult education class or take an official practice test prior to testing. HSE testing is only open to residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Online testing is not available in the state.

The minimum age in Massachusetts is 16, though students 16 and 17 years of age may only qualify when they hold an official Letter of Withdrawal that’s been approved by the state’s High School Equivalency Office.

Michigan
Michigan is offering two options for high school equivalency testing, the GED and HiSET. In Michigan, students are not required to attend a prep course or take the GED Ready test prior to sitting for the GED exam, except when writing the GED test online.

The minimum age is 16, but underage students (16 or 17) may also take the test if they meet specific criteria. There is no state residency requirement here.

Minnesota
In Minnesota, there’s no requirement for GED hopefuls to first attend an adult education course or take the GED Ready practice test. To qualify for online testing, however, passing four GED Reqdy tests is a prerequisite.

In Minnesota, testing is also open to out-of-state students, and the minimum age here is 17, though 17- and 18-year-old applicants also qualify if they meet some pretty strict conditions.

Mississippi
In Mississippi, there are two options to earn the state’s high school equivalency diploma, the GED and HiSET. There’s no need to first attend adult education classes or take the GED Ready prep test (this does NOT apply to online GED testing).

In Mississippi, there’s no state residency requirement, and the GED or HiSET exam is open to applicants 16 years of age and older, but underage students (16 or 17) may only take the test if they meet specific requirements.

Missouri
Missouri uses the GED and HiSET exams for its high school equivalency (HSE) testing program. You don’t have to attend any preparatory instruction or an official practice test prior to testing (this does NOT count for online GED or HiSET testing).

The Missouri minimum age is 16, but 16-year-olds may qualify for GED or HiSET testing only if they have completed 16 units or more toward high school graduation. Applicants must be Missouri residents.

Montana
The state of Montana uses the GED and HiSET exams for HSE testing. The state has no test instruction or preparation requirements, and students are also not required to take the Official Practice Test (OPT) or GED Ready practice tests to qualify for GED or HiSET testing when taking the exam at a test center.

In Montana, GED or HiSET test-takers must be at least 16 years old to qualify for testing, but for 16, 17, and 18-year-old students, there are strict policies and requirements that apply. For students 19 or older, there are no further requirements or policies other than they don’t hold a high school diploma.

Nebraska
Nebraska is not requiring GED applicants to first attend an adult education course or take the GED Ready practice test (this does NOT count for online testing). Underage students, though, must attend GED instruction to qualify.

Nebraska doesn’t have a residency requirement for testing, but to receive the diploma, students must have lived in the state for at least thirty days. The minimum age is 16 here, but applicants 16 and 17 years of age may only sit for the GED test if they meet strict conditions.

Nevada
In Nevada, there are two options for HSE testing: the HiSET and GED exams. GED applicants don’t need to attend a prep course first or take the GED Ready practice test when they take the exam at a test center.

However, a school district may require underage students (16 and 17 years old) to demonstrate sufficient GED readiness through a practice test. The Nevada HSE exam is only available to state residents.

New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, students looking to earn their high school equivalency credentials need to pass the four GED or five HiSET subtests. There’s no need to first get instruction or take and pass an official practice test when taking the exam at a testing facility.

The minimum age in New Hampshire is 16, though applicants 16 and 17 only qualify when they’re meeting strict regulations and requirements. Applicants must be New Hampshire residents.

New Jersey
In New Jersey, there are two options available for HSE testing: the GED and HiSET. Both options are computer-formatted in New Jersey. Applicants are not required to receive prior instruction, nor do they have to take an official practice test first when writing the exams at a test center.

Test-takers must be New Jersey residents of at least 16 years old. Applicants 16 and 17 years old may, however, only qualify if they meet specific criteria.

New Mexico
In New Mexico, there are two options available for high school equivalency testing, the HiSET and GED exams. New Mexico does not require GED test-takers to first receive instruction or take the GED Ready test when writing the tests at a testing site. There’s no need to be a state resident as well.

The New Mexico minimum age for GED testing is 16, but 16 and 17-year-old applicants only qualify under strict regulations.

New York State
New York State uses the four-test GED (General Education Development) exam for HSE testing. There’s no need to first take an instructional course or an official practice test. The state no longer uses the TASC exam and does NOT offer online GED testing.

The minimum age in New York State is 16, but applicants 16, 17, and 18 years of age only qualify if they meet the state’s strict criteria. GED testing is free but only for students who have lived in New York for at least 30 days.

North Carolina
North Carolina offers two options for high school equivalency testing: the GED and HiSET exams. GED applicants don’t have to receive instructions prior to testing, nor are they required to first take the GED Ready test when sitting for the team at an official state-recognized testing center.

There is also no residency requirement, and the minimum age for GED testing is 16. Underage students (16 or 17) may qualify only if they meet some very strict additional requirements.

North Dakota
In North Dakota, GED students don’t have to attend instruction class prior to testing, and taking the GED Ready test is also not needed if they write the exam at a test center. The minimum age in North Dakota is 16 years old, and there is no state residency requirement.

North Dakota allows GED test-takers to combine language versions (English, Spanish) to complete the exam. In North Dakota, testers must also pass a Civics Exam.

Ohio
The state of Ohio is offering two options for its High School Equivalency testing program, the GED and HiSET tests. Ohio doesn’t require GED test-takers to prepare for GED testing through an adult education program, nor are they required to first take the GED Ready test when writing the exam at a testing center.

Students must be Ohio residents, and the minimum age here is 16 years old. However, 16 and 17-year-olds may only qualify if they meet stringent requirements such as holding parental consent and approval from their school districts.

Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, students are offered two options for HSE testing, the HiSET and GED exams. Here, there’s no need for students to take instructional classes or the GED Ready test prior to testing at a test center. There is also no state residency requirement.

The minimum age in Oklahoma is 16, but those applicants 16 or 17 years of age may only qualify if they’re meeting strict criteria.

Oregon
In Oregon, GED test takers do not have to attend some instructional course or take the GED Ready practice test first when they write the exam at a test center. There is also no residency requirement, and the minimum age in Oregon is 16.

GED applicants 16 & 17 years of age, however, only qualify if they hold parental consent and approval from their school districts.

Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, students looking to earn their HSE credentials have two options, the GED and the HiSET. They won’t have to attend any instructional program first or take the GED Ready practice test (this does NOT apply to online testing).

In Pennsylvania, GED applicants must be residents and at least 16 years of age. Underaged applicants (16 or 17) may only qualify if they hold an approved Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) age waiver and parental consent.

Rhode Island
Rhode Island doesn’t require GED applicants to first take a GED prep instruction course or take the GED Ready test if testing is done at a test facility.

Testing is only available for state residents 16 years of age and older. 16 or 17-year-olds may, however, only qualify if they meet some pretty strict regulations like holding parental approval and having permission from their school districts.

South Carolina
South Carolina offers individuals without a high school diploma the GED for high school equivalency testing. There’s no need for GED test-takers to attend a preparatory course or take the GED Ready test prior to testing if it takes place at a testing facility.

State residency is a requirement, and the minimum age here is 16. Applicants 16, 17, or 18 years old may, however, only qualify to take the GED test under strict additional conditions.

South Dakota
In South Dakota, GED students are not required to attend an instructional course or take the GED Ready test to qualify for GED testing at a test center. There’s also no state residency requirement in South Dakota, and here, the minimum required age is 16.

However, applicants 16 or 17 years of age only are eligible for GED testing if they are officially withdrawn from high school and hold written parental consent.

Tennessee
In Tennessee, students need to pass the five tests of the HiSET exam to earn their HSE credentials. There’s no need to first attend a HiSET prep course, but applicants must take the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test) before they can register for the exam.

The minimum required age in Tennessee is 16 years old, but applicants 16 and 17 can only take the HiSET exam if they meet strict regulations. There is no state residency requirement.

Texas
The state of Texas uses the GED exam. There’s no need for GED testers to first attend a GED prep course, attend adult education classes, or take the official GED Ready test prior to sitting for the GED exam (this does NOT count for online GED testing).

Testing is only for state residents, and the minimum age is 16, though applicants who are 16 or 17 can only sit for the exam if they meet some strict conditions. The HiSET exam is not available anymore in Texas.

Utah
Utah doesn’t require GED test-takers to follow an adult education instruction program first or take the official GED Ready test when they sit for the exam at a testing site.

Testing is not restricted to state residents, and applicants need to be at least 16 years old, though underage students (16 or 17) may only sit for the GED exam if they meet stringent state requirements such as holding school district approval and parental consent.

Vermont
In Vermont, GED hopefuls are not required to attend a preparatory GED course or the GED Ready test prior to sitting for the real GED test (this does NOT apply to online testing). Vermont doesn’t have a residency requirement as well, and test-takers must be at least 16 years old.

However, if applicants are 16 or 17 years old, they can only take the GED exam if they hold signed parental consent and are officially withdrawn from school.

Virginia
Virginia doesn’t require GED applicants to take prep classes or the GED Ready test to qualify for testing at a test center.

There’s no state residency requirement in Virginia, and the minimum age for GED testing is 16, though young applicants (16 or 17) may only qualify under strict additional conditions.

Washington State
In Washington, there is no need for GED test-takers to attend a prep class before testing, nor do they have to take the GED Ready test to be able to sit for the real GED test at a testing facility.

Washington State applicants must be at least 16 years old, but there are additional requirements for 16, 17, and 18-year-old students. In Washington State, GED testing is only available to residents.

West Virginia
As one of four states, West Virginia offers high school equivalency testing for free. The state uses the GED and HiSET exams.Online testing in West Virginia is not possible.

The West Virginia HSE exam is only available for state residents of at least 16 years old, though for applicants 16, 17, and 18 years of age, stringent requirements apply. There’s no requirement to first attend a prep class, but to qualify for online testing in a state other that West Virginia, attaining passing scores on the GED or HiSET practice test is required

Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, GED applicants are not required to attend a prep course or take the GED Ready test prior to GED testing at a testing center, but they must complete a counseling session at a state-approved and licensed organization (school district, high school, and so on).

The minimum age in Wisconsin is 17 years of age, but 17 to 18.5-year-olds only qualify if they meet stringent criteria. Wisconsin requires GED test-takers to also pass a Civics Test and be state residents for at least 10 days.

Wyoming
Wyoming uses two options available for HSE (high school equivalency) testing, the HiSET and GED exams. Wyoming is not requiring GED hopefuls to first attend a preparatory course or take the official GED Ready practice test. Online testing is not available in Wyoming.

There’s no residency requirement in Wyoming, and the minimum age to qualify for GED testing is 16, though youth 16 & 17 years old may only qualify if they meet strict requirements.

American Samoa
American Samoa is not requiring GED students to take adult education classes before they may sit for the test. Test takers must be legal residents, though. In American Samoa, GED testing is open to applicants 16 and 17 years old as well, but they must meet additional requirements.

Bermuda
Bermuda is not requiring students first to take adult education classes, but they must successfully take the GED Ready Practice test. Test-takers must be at least 17 years old and be legal residents of Bermuda.

Guam
In Guam, there’s no requirement to first take a prep course or the GED Ready test to qualify for GED testing, which is open to residents only. The minimum age here is 16. To qualify for the online GED test, attaining satisfactory scores on the GED Ready test is a prerequisite.

North Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands don’t require GED students to prepare first in an adult education course or take the GED Ready test prior to taking the test (this does not count for online testing). GED testing is only open to residents, and the minimum age is 17. 17 and 18-year-old students, however, only qualify if they meet strict requirements.

Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands is not requiring GED test-takers to prepare for GED testing in an adult education course, but here, applicants must first take the official GED Ready Practice test and have satisfactory scores. Residency is required, and applicants must be at least 17 years old, though 17-year-olds can only sit for the exam under strict conditions.