To get your GED diploma, you need to pass 4 GED subject tests. These subjects include Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Math.
The GED exam is modular, meaning the four subtests are independent tests that can be taken one at a time.
You can take these tests online or in person at a test center. The results of the test are available on the same day, so you don’t need to wait except for the essay part.
If you pass all four subjects, you will receive the GED® diploma or certificate, depending on your state.
Keep reading how to prepare for the GED test fast and for free. If you think you are ready to pass the GED test, create an account on the GED.com website and schedule (one of) the four tests.
In most states, the GED test costs $30 per subject, and you can take and pay for just one of the four subtests at a time.
If you don’t pass a subject test, you can retake that section two more times in a year in most states. Usually, you need to pay for retaking the test, but it will be a bit cheaper.
How to prepare for the GED test
Usually, it takes around three months to prepare for the GED test when you study 2 to 3 times per week for no less than 1 hour.
If you study only once per week, it may take you 6 to 8 months to get all set for the GED test. The more you learn and practice for the GED exam, the sooner you’ll get all set for test day.
You can use free GED practice tests and online classes to get ready for the GED test. Try our free resources:
If you want to attend a traditional class, we can also help you. Visit our database to find a GED prep school near you.
Is the GED test easy to pass?
The GED test is not that hard to pass. Be aware, though, that you will need to have a sophisticated level of knowledge to pass the GED exam.
You can prepare for the GED exam in a few steps and avoid stress. First and foremost, Start Early! You really should already start with your GED preparation a good few months before planning the final exam.
You can take the four GED subtests separately, and overall, the exam will take around 7.5 hours to complete.
Now, what type of GED preparation will suit you best? On this page, we will show you a few of the best and most popular GED prep methods that are available to all students.
Check Your Learning Style
Knowing your learning style will help you to study more effectively.
What are the GED subject fields
There are four independent GED subject tests. Your knowledge and skills are tested in the subject fields of Literacy (Reasoning through Language Arts), Math (Mathematical Reasoning), Science, and Social Studies.
Reasoning Through Language Arts
Duration: 150 minutes total – including 45 minutes for an essay
- The length of the text included in the reading comprehension questions varies from between 450 and 900 words.
- Seventy-five percent (75%) of the texts on the exam is informational.
- Twenty-five percent (25%) of the tests on the exam is literature.
- Poetry does not appear on the GED test.
There is one essay for this section that is worth six times more than a multiple-choice question. Students are presented with two passages describing opposing perspectives on a topic. Test-takers are required to decide which argument has the most support. The essay is graded by three criteria in equal proportions:
- Creation of an argument and the use of evidence.
- Development of ideas and organizational structure.
- Clarity and command of Standard English conventions.
With these grading criteria, even students for whom English is a second language can still score 4 or 5 out of 6 for an otherwise well-written essay. Don’t worry about editing your essay to polish it up. Essays are graded as if they are the first draft.
However, it is important that you complete the essay. Start by creating an outline, and don’t spend too much time on any one part. Also, keep in mind that short essays tend to receive lower scores, so if your typing speed is slow, practice with typing programs. For some great GED Language Arts test-taking tips, <- check out this page.
Duration: 115 minutes
Approximately 45% of the content focuses on quantitative problem-solving, and 55% focuses on algebraic problem-solving. The section is broken down into four parts:
- Number operations and number sense (20-30%)
- Measurement and geometry (20-30%)
- Data analysis (charts and graphs), statistics, and probability (20-30%)
- Algebra, functions, and patterns (20-30%)
The first five questions assess your basic knowledge of arithmetic skills and do not allow the use of any calculator. The skills required include the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), exponents, roots, and basic number sense.
Test-takers are expected to know basic formulas such as the areas (of a square, rectangle, triangle, circle), perimeters, the circumference of a circle, distances, measures of central tendency (mean, median, and mode), and total cost.
Some more specific skills that are now required for the math section are awareness of absolute values, rational numbers, and polynomials (basic algebra). You will NOT be asked about trigonometry or calculus.
Some basic arithmetic skills are spread throughout the GED test. For example, data interpretation questions are now also seen in the Science and Social Studies portions of the test.
Duration: 90 minutes
The Science section is divided into three parts:
- Physical Science (Chemistry and Physics) – 40%
- Life Science – 40%
- Earth and Space Science – 20%
These cover smaller topics, including the system of living organisms, diseases, evolution, heredity, sources of energy, transformations of energy, uses of energy, and Earth’s geochemical systems, to name a few. The science section also includes two short answer questions. Each is worth three times as much as a multiple-choice question.
The short answers are not timed separately, but test makers suggest students spend about 10 minutes on each of them and write a paragraph. The environment, ecosystem, and human activities are important themes in the science section and are often the subject of the short answer questions.
Other frequent topics are the scientific method and experimental design. A clear and complete explanation will receive a high score, and grammar is not considered a part of the grade for these answers. Read also these GED Science Test-Taking Tips.
Duration: 70 minutes
The four high-level topics covered in the Social Studies section are:
- Civics and Government – 50%
- U.S. History – 20%
- Economics – 15%
- Geography and the World – 15%
The Social Studies section requires similar analysis skills as needed in the “Reading through Language Arts” section. Students should be able to identify bias in a passage, and understand tone, point-of-view, and structure.
Skills more specific to Social Studies are awareness and understanding of chronological order and the historical aspect of a passage. Check out also these interesting GED Social Studies Test-taking Tips.
Students should also be able to understand charts and graphs that represent Social Studies data. This way, students can show their general educational development on test day.
GED prep classes
Sometimes students pass the GED test without prior preparation. Most students, however, need to spend some time getting familiar with the GED topics.
Students can prepare for the test by attending traditional classes or by taking online courses.
You can find many locations where GED instruction is offered, often at no cost at all. Also, your local bookstore and library will be able to provide lots of study materials to get you all set for the GED exam.
Help is also offered at many schools, community learning centers, and colleges that provide preparatory classes, and if you’re on Twitter, you may also find assistance at some other site, and please keep in mind that preparation is key to being successful at GED testing and earn your diploma.
Paid and free online GED courses
Additionally, you can use a GED prep course over the internet, such as the free online video prep lessons for all GED subjects provided by this website, and also use these free GED practice tests.
There is also a good selection of paid GED courses if you are serious about your GED prep and want additional features; popular choices are GED Academy, Onsego GED Prep, and Kaplan.
Read this article about choosing the right GED Course.
How about a private tutor?
If you feel a personalized approach may be good for you, consider hiring a private GED tutor to get all set.
Sessions that include 1-on-1 tutoring make sure that you’ll get direct feedback and that you will get customized lessons that suit your needs and typical learning style.
Practice Makes Perfect
So if you quit high school without a diploma and want to go on the GED track, be sure to get used to the technology of the computer format before you register for the test, practice writing essays in a timed setting, and take the free practice tests offered at this website before you take the actual test.
Without study, your chance to be successful may be very slim, and check out also the age requirements in your state, as they may vary slightly per state.
GED practice test
At what level would you score if you had to take the GED exam today? To find out how you would do on the actual GED exam, take a practice test. Beware, though, that the conditions should be mimicking the actual testing environment, so use a timer and shut off your cell phone.
The practice test score will be your baseline that may help you develop a good study plan that’s in line with what you should be working on most.
When you have taken a free GED practice test, you’ll be able to discover your weaknesses and strengths so you can set up a detailed action plan to help you increase your score.
Taking practice tests is also a great way to get familiarized with the various sections and contents of the exam you’re planning to take. You can prevent disappointment if you won’t be faced with surprises.
GED passing score
The GED test includes four independent modules that are scored on a scale that runs from 100 to 200. On each of the four modules, you need to attain a score of no less than 145, and averaging is not possible. Scoring is as follows:
Below Passing Score: 100 – 144
Passing Score (High School Equivalency): 145 – 164
College Ready Score: 165 – 174
College Ready Score + Credit: 175 – 200
Online GED testing option
To register for the GED tests (one at a time if you like), you need to visit GED.com and set up your account with the portal MyGED. This is a great and efficiently designed website that allows you to schedule your exam.
Check our step-by-step manual on how to register for the GED exam. You can also email or call the organization.
Free learning services, video lessons, and practice tests that are available on this website will also help students enhance their skills and get their diplomas efficiently.
The GED test may now also be taken in an online format. Learn more here about -> online GED testing, and the HiSET alternative is also available online. Check here for more information about -> the HiSET-At-Home exam.
GED Test Language options
The GED exam is offered in English and Spanish with special formats available for the visually handicapped and at some testing sites in French as well.
Special arrangements for physically disabled applicants are possible; please contact the office of the Chief Examiner for arrangements and official approval. Students can view their GED scores and transcripts right after testing.
If you have any further questions, contact your local adult education department and request to receive additional information or advice. The GED exam has a high accessibility level, but before you sign up for the exam, you don’t need to study for a year or longer, but proper preparation is required.
Free GED testing
Four states offer the GED or HiSET exam at no charge: West Virginia, New York, Maine, and Connecticut, and an increasing number of states offer free testing to first-time testers.
- in New York State- free GED testing
- in Connecticut, test takers must sit for the GED (General Education Development) exam, but there is a modest administration fee
- in Maine, you must take the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test)
- in West Virginia, you must take the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test)
Two states and DC are partly subsidizing GED testing:
- in Arkansas, the GED testing fee is $16 ($4 per subject area test)
- in Maryland, the GED exam will set you back $45 for all four subject area tests, or $11,25 per subject
- Washington DC also subsidizes the GED test. You only pay $3.75 per subtest test ($15 for the entire exam)
Prep classes are offered on this website online and at numerous technical colleges, community education centers, libraries, churches, and other facilities across the nation.
The GED test is the most used high school equivalency test, but there is also the HiSET exam. All tests offer you the chance to earn your state’s high school equivalency diploma. This credential allows for a college education and gives you a chance to get a better and more fulfilling career.
Practically all North American private and public colleges offer GED graduates the same rights as high school graduates.
There is also the possibility of earning an online high school diploma. Just make sure the course is legit and accredited.
- Visit our resources about High School Diploma for Adults
Getting your GED degree has lots of benefits. Successful completion of the GED exam will surely lead to far better employment opportunities, and the diploma qualifies for a great college education. Learn more about what happens after you earned your GED <- here.
GED test summary
If you couldn’t finish your high school curriculum, you can take the GED test to earn your high school equivalency diploma. Getting back to school might, however, be an intimidating process and many GED hopefuls experience test anxiety as well. But there are some good and proven strategies to cope with test anxiety so you can take the GED exam confidently.
Holding the credential means you will be able to go to college and apply for jobs that require a high school diploma.
- The 4 GED subject area tests are Language, Science, Math, and Social Studies
- The passing score is 145 (out of 200) on each subject area test
- You are allowed to take the four subject area tests one at a time
- In most states, the GED testing fee is around $30 per subject area test, and retakes are often cheaper. In some states, testing is free. Check here about the -> GED fee in your state
- Age requirement: usually, you must be at least 16 years old, but for those 16 and 17 years of age, restrictions apply. Check the GED Age Requirements in your state <- here
- To sign up for the GED test, you need to make an account on the official GED website
GED prep summary
- It may take you three months to earn your GED diploma when you study 2 to 3 times per week for no less than 1 hour.
- If you study only once per week, it may take you 6 to 8 months to get all set for the GED test.
- Make sure you check our online classes to prepare for the real exam.
This test is provided by GED Testing Service LLC and was offered exclusively at official GED test centers, but now, there also is an online option to sit for the test. Read more above.
More than 96 percent of all institutions of higher education recognize and accept the GED certificate as being comparable to a common high school diploma.
All local, state, and federal government departments and agencies accept the GED diploma in lieu of a common HS diploma, so go and earn your GED credential and work toward a better future! So now you know how to get your GED!