Do I Have to Take Classes to Get My GED?

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.

Let’s clarify in which states you can take the GED test without taking classes and/or the GED Ready test, and in which states you don’t allow you to do that.

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. 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. GED testing is open not only to state residents and 16 or 17 year-olds may take the GED test if they are officially withdrawn from high school, and have written consent from a parent or a guardian.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. 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. The minimum age for GED testing is 18 but younger test-takers may also qualify if they are within a 60 days 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 three options for HSE testing, the TASC, HiSET, and GED.

Colorado
Colorado is not requiring test-takers to first attend a GED prep course, nor do they need to first take the GED Ready test. There is no state residency requirement and the minimum age in Colorado is 17 but 16-year-old applicants may also qualify if they hold an official Age Waiver and are approved by a GED testing center. Colorado offers three different tests for high school equivalency testing, the GED, HiSET (High School Equivalency Test), and the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion).

Connecticut
In Connecticut, GED applicants do not need to attend an official GED prep course or first take the GED Ready test. Test-takers must be Connecticut legal residents. The minimum GED testing age here is 19 but 17 and 18-year-olds may also qualify if they meet strict regulations.

Delaware
In Delaware, GED applicants are not required to take GED prep classes first or take the GED Ready practice test. State residency is a requirement, though, and testing is open to applicants 16 and over, though 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 the 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 18 though underage students (16 or 17) may also 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 18 years of age and up to first take GED prep classes or 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 the taking GED Ready test prior to testing is only required for underage GED applicants (16 and 17 years old). 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.

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 o,5 credit 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 first take the GED Ready test, nor do they need to be state residents. Underage students (16 or 17 years of age) may qualify if they meet strict regulations. Hawaii also offers the HiSET.

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. The minimum age is 18 years of age in Idaho but 16- and 17-year-olds may qualify if they meet criteria such as holding parental consent and being officially withdrawn from the lat 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 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 available at major testing sites or a Regional Office of Education. Illinois uses three high school equivalency tests, the GED, HiSET, and TASC.

Indiana
Indiana uses the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) 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 TASC prep course or take an official practice test prior to TASC testing. The minimum age her is 16 but 16 & 17 year-olds must meet rather strict requirements.

Iowa
The state of Iowa is using the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). Applicants do not need to be state residents and at least 18 years old. Those aged 17 may also qualify if they meet certain criteria and 16-year-olds only are eligible for HiSET testing if they are under the supervision of Juvenile Probation Offices. All 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. There’s no need to be a state resident and the minimum age is 18. Underage students ( 16 or 17 years of age) need to hold an official “Compulsory Attendance Exemption Form” and/or a “Compulsory School Attendance Disclaimer” signed by a parent or guardian.

Kentucky
In Kentucky, GED testers do not first take a GED prep course but they do need to take the GED Ready test and be state residents. Here, the minimum age is 19, 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 HiSET exam for High School Equivalency testing. The minimum testing age is 19, but 16, 17, and 18-year olds may also take the HiSET if they meet strict criteria. Applicants 19 and over do not have to take a prep course or the official HiSET practice test first. Underage students (16-18 years of age) do have to take prior instruction and score satisfactory results on the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test) to be able to qualify for 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. Testing is open to residents 19 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.

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. The minimum age in Massachusetts is 18, though students 16 and 17 years of age may also 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 three options for high school equivalency testing, the GED, TASC, 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. The minimum age is 18, but underage students (16 or 17) may also take the test is 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. Testing is open also to out-of-state students and the minimum age here is 19, though 17- and 18-years old applicants also qualify if they meet some pretty strict conditions.

Mississippi
In Mississippi, there are three options to earn the state’s high school equivalency diploma, the GED, HiSET, and TASC. There’s no need to first attend adult education classes or take the GED Ready prep test. In Mississippi, there’s no state residency requirement and the GED exam is open to applicants 18 years of age and older but underage students (16 or 17) may also take the test if they meet specific requirements.

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

Montana
The state of Montana uses the HiSET exam 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) to qualify for HiSET testing. HiSET test-takers must be at least 16 years old to qualify for HiSET 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. 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 18 here, but applicants 16 and 17 years of age may also sit for the GED test if they meet strict conditions.

Nevada
In Nevada, there are three options for HSE testing, the HiSET, GED, and TASC exams. GED applicants don’t need to attend a prep course first or take the GED Ready practice test. 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 credential need to pass the five subtests of the HiSET exam. There’s no need to first get instruction or take and pass an official practice test. The minimum age in New Hampshire is 18, though applicants 16 and 17 may also qualify when they’ew meeting strict regulations and requirements. Applicants must be New Hampshire residents.

New Jersey
In New Jersey, there are three options available for HSE testing, the GED, HiSET, and TASC. All three 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. Test-takers must be New Jersey residents of at least 18 years old. Applicants 16 and 17 years old may, however, also 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 and there’s no need to be a state resident as well. The New Mexico minimum age for GED testing is 18 but 16 and 17-year-old applicants may qualify as well under strict regulations.

New York State
New York State uses the five-test TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) for HSE testing. There’s no need to first take an instructional course or an official practice test. The minimum age in New York State is 19 but applicants 16, 17, and 18 years of age may qualify as well if they meet the state’s strict criteria. TASC testing is free but only to students who have lived in New York for at least 39 days.

North Carolina
North Carolina offers all three available options for high school equivalency testing, the GED, TASC, 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. There is also no residency requirement and the minimum age for GED testing is 18. Underage students (16 or 17) may qualify as well but they need to meet some very strict 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. 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.

Ohio
The state of Ohio is offering all three available options for its HSE program, the GED, TASC, and HiSET exams. 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. Students must be Ohio residents and the minimum age here is 18 years old. However, 16 and 17-year-olds may also qualify if they meet stringent requirements such as holding parental consent and approval from their school districts.

Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, students are offered three options for HSE testing, the HiSET, TASC, and GED exams. Here, there’s no need for students to take instructional classes or the GED Ready test prior to testing and there is also no state residency requirement. The minimum age in Oklahoma is 18 but those applicants 16 or 17 years of age may also 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. There is also no residency requirement and the minimum age in Oregon is 18. GED applicants may qualify as well if they are 16 or 17 but they need to hold parental consent and approval from their school districts.

Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, students looking to earn their HSE credential 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. In Pennsylvania, GED applicants must be residents and at least 18 years of age. Underaged applicants (16 or 17) may qualify as well but they must 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. Testing is only available for state residents 18 years of age and older. 16 or 17-year-olds may, however, also qualify but only 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 two options to earn their high school equivalency diploma, the GED (General Education Development) and the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion). There’s no need for GED test-takers to attend a preparatory course or take the GED Ready test prior to testing. State residency is a requirement and the minimum age here is 19. Applicants 16, 17, or 18 years old may qualify to take the GED test as well but only under strict 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. There’s also no state residency requirement in South Dakota and here, the minimally required age is 18. However, applicants 16 or 17 years of age may also be 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 credential. 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 minimally required age in Tennessee is 18 years old but applicants 16 and 17 may also take the HiSET exam if they meet strict regulations. There is no state residency requirement.

Texas
The state of Texas uses all three available HSE exams, the GED, TASC, and HiSET exams. 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. Testing is only for state residents and the minimum age is 18, though those applicants who are 16 or 17 can also sit for the exam if they meet some strict conditions.

Utah
Utah doesn’t require GED test-takers to follow an adult education instruction program first or take the official GED Ready test. Testing is not restricted to state residents and applicants need to be at least 18 years old though underage students (16 or 17) may also qualify 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. Vermont doesn’t have a residency requirement as well and test-takers must be at least 18 years old. However, if applicants are 16 or 17 years old, they will need to have signed parental consent in order to qualify for GED testing.

Virginia
Virginia doesn’t require GED applicants to take prep classes or the GED Ready test to qualify for testing. There’s no state residency requirement in Virginia and the minimum age for GED testing is 18, though younger applicants (16 or 17) may also qualify under strict conditions.

Washington
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. Washington State applicants must be at least 19 years old but there are exceptions for 16, 17, and 18-year old students if they meet some rigorous requirements. In Washington, GED testing is only available to residents.

Washington DC: See District of Columbia above

West Virginia
As one of four states, West Virginia offers high school equivalency testing for free and uses the TASC exam for that purpose. Applicants are not required to attend a prep course first but must take the TASC Readiness Assessment (the official practice test) before they qualify for the exam. The West Virginia TASC exam is only available for state residents of at least 16 years old, though for applicants 16 and 17 years of age stringent requirements apply.

Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, GED applicants are not required to attend a prep course or take the GED Ready test prior to GED testing 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 18.5 years of age but 17-year-olds may qualify if they meet stringent criteria. Wisconsin requires GED test-takers to be state residents for at least 10 days.

Wyoming
Wyoming uses all three options available for HSE (high school equivalency) testing, the TASC, HiSET, and GED exams. Wyoming is not requiring GED hopefuls to first attend a preparatory course or take the official GED Ready practice test. There’s no residency requirement in Wyoming and the minimum age to qualify for GED testing is 18, though youth 16 & 17 years old may also 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-year old but they must meet additional requirements.

Bermuda
Bermuda is not requiring students to first 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.

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. GED testing is only open to residents and the minimum age is 19. 17 and 18-year old students may qualify as well but they must 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 18 years old, though 17-year-olds may also quality under strict conditions.

Disclaimer: GED Testing Service holds all rights reserved to GED and GED Ready Test and is in no way involved in, or associated with, this website. GED and GED Ready are terms used here for identification and reference only. The GED diploma is issued by your state’s education department.