What Can You Do With a GED?

There is no doubt that preparing for the GED and successfully passing the exam require stronger organizational skills and more self-discipline.

No wonder students want to know what can they do with a GED diploma. Do you get automatically a higher salary? Does the GED diploma help you get a job? Can you go to college with a GED?

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The answer to these questions is yes, the GED® diploma helps you achieve most of these things. But there’s more to it. Keep reading to get all the details.

Finding a job with a GED 

When hiring, employers usually require a high-school diploma or its equivalent, such as a GED diploma. Nowadays, holding a high school degree or a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma is considered a standard requirement for practically all positions, also at the entry level.

Higher salary and advancing your career

By getting a GED you have demonstrated that you are persistent, self-motivated, and well-organized. These are the traits employees are looking for. GED holders, just like high school graduates, are expected to make some $9,600 more annually than people without a secondary education diploma.

Going to college


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If you attain college-ready (range 165-174) or college-ready PLUS credits (175-200) scores on the GED test, you may even see the requirement to take a college entrance test, remedial coursework, or submitting ACT or SAT scores waived.

Your GED diploma, particularly if you have reached college-ready scores, qualifies you to attend any college, including top-notch schools such as Harvard.

Isn’t this enough evidence that earning your GED is really worth it? So now, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get your GED diploma.

Get prepared for the exam

Crucial for success on the GED test is getting optimally prepared. The GED is a pretty rigorous exam that assesses your knowledge and skills at a level that’s similar to what high school seniors are expected to command upon graduation.

The passing requirements and standards are actually set at such a level that some forty percent of high school graduates would not pass the exam on the first try! That’s pretty challenging, right? So get well-prepared before taking the exam!

There are four separate and independent subject tests (modules) on the GED exam that cover the fields of Literacy (Reasoning through Language Arts), Social Studies, Math (Mathematical Reasoning), and Science.

One test at a time

You can take these modules one by one. There’s no need to sit for all four subtests in one take. So prepare for one test, pass that section, and move on to the next subtest.

You can register for one or more subtests, that’s up to you, and you’re required to pay only for the subtests that you register for. Registration and payments are done online at the website GED.com where you’ll have to create your MyGED account (read more below).

GED prep classes are available at numerous locations across America, often at no cost at all thanks to state and/or federal subsidies, grants, and other contributions.

There are also many online courses that provide free support for students looking to earn their GED (General Education Development) diplomas.

Free GED classes

Free GED classes are commonly offered by technical/vocational schools and community colleges. They are designed to help students prepare for each of the four GED subject tests.

Online GED prep courses are usually self-paced so students can follow the lessons when and where they want on their computer or on any mobile device they have.

There are paid online GED courses but also quite a few free online courses that offer top-notch courses that cover all GED topics. Be aware, though, that online purchased documents are worthless.

Free GED classes are also offered by many churches, public libraries, community centers, literacy councils, and agencies that work hard to support their communities.

Usually, free physical GED classes will meet in person for a few weeks to get the students ready and many schools also offer evening or weekend sessions to meet busy students’ schedules.

Virtual classrooms

These days, more and more schools also offer GED prep courses in virtual classrooms, but often, students still are required to travel to campuses to take a placement test, often the TABE diagnostic test.

To get hold of your GED diploma, you must take the four GED subject tests at one of your state’s official GED test centers or in an online proctored (OP) format where a proctor will monitor your activities.

How to get started

Usually, the eligibility requirements to qualify and register for free GED classes resemble those for taking the actual exam. Applicants need to be 16 years or older but those 16 or 17 must be officially withdrawn from their high school, have parental consent, or need to submit other documentation.

Before students can attend a free GED prep class, they usually have to take a placement test or pre-test to assess their skills and academic level and determine which subject fields require their attention most.

For online courses, this is all a bit different as students have the freedom to register at any time and there are also several free GED prep courses that don’t require registration at all.

Free practice tests

On the internet, you can find several websites that offer free GED practice tests. This website, BestGEDClasses.org, also offers students numerous free video lessons and practice tests, and lots of GED-related information.

Taking multiple practice tests is very good for your preparation and time management as you will learn which topics and subject fields require your attention most.

If you know where you should place your attention, you don’t need to waste your precious study time and energy on subject areas that you already command.

So if you want to benefit from an online course that is free and that will get you all set from the comfort of your home, check out this website’s free video lessons and practice tests.

These short, informative video lessons are engaging and the practice quizzes will help you get ready for the four independent GED subtests (modules) fast and efficiently.

The website GED.com (the official website of GED Testing Service) offers several practice tests at a modest fee and the website also provides access to a lot of other GED prep materials.

The four GED modules

Free GED prep classes, be it online or at a physical location, will get you ready for the GED exam that includes four subtests that you can take one at a time if you wish. The four tests cover the academic fields of:

What is GED short for?

GED is short for “General Educational Development.” The four GED tests can be taken by individuals who never completed their regular high school curriculum. Learn more about the acronym GED here.

Upon completing these four subject tests successfully, they will be awarded a diploma that’s equivalent to a common high school credential. Testing occurs at a level that compares to that of graduating high school seniors.

The four GED subtests are measured and scored on a 100-200 point scale where the passing score is set at 145. This score corresponds with that around 40 percent of all high school grads would not pass the four tests on the first try.

In the U.S., there are three exams used for the purpose of high school equivalency (HSE) testing, the GED, HiSET, and TASC exams. You can check out this post to learn all about which of these options are used in your state.

All three exams assess skills and knowledge at a level similar to that of high school seniors upon graduation and the contents are comparable, so you are welcome to use this website’s free support and practice tests for either one of these HSE exams.

How difficult is the GED exam?

The latest edition of the GED exam must be completed entirely in a computer-based format. There is no paper-based GED exam anymore. This makes sense because, in today’s job market, there is practically no position found anymore that doesn’t call for at least basic computer and keyboarding skills.

The GED exam has become pretty challenging. As said before, 40% of high school grads would not be able to pass the four tests on the first try, so proper preparation is absolutely required.

Across North America, the GED diploma is recognized just like a standard high school degree by employers, government agencies, and institutions of post-secondary education.

The entire GED exam takes around 7.5 hours to complete but the exam is modular meaning students can sit for one of the four modules at the time they feel properly prepared to be successful. For the price of GED testing in your state, check out this page.

GED testing can be done at certified, state-designated GED test centers or in an online format. To qualify for online testing, students need to be at least 18 years old and score in the “likely to pass” (green) zone on the GED Ready® test, the only practice test that will predict if you will pass the real exam or that you require more preparation.

What’s on the GED exam?

GED Math includes the following topics:

  • Number Sense; Problem Solving
  • Decimals; Fractions
  • Ratios; Proportions; Percents
  • Data; Probability; Statistics
  • Algebraic Expressions; Polynomials
  • Equations; Inequalities; Functions
  • Geometry

GED Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) includes:

  • Comprehension of Informational Texts
  • Organizing Ideas for Writing
  • Analyzing Informational Texts
  • Grammar; Conventions; Word Choice
  • Writing and Sentence Structure
  • Writing an Extended Response (Essay)

GED Science includes these topics:

  • Scientific Foundations and Notation
  • Life Sciences including Biology
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Physical Science
  • Chemical Science

GED Social Studies covers the following topics:

  • U.S. and World History
  • Types of Governments
  • Civics and Democracy including Rights and Responsibilities
  • Federalism and the Election Process
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Earth and Environment
  • Effects of Human Migration

Can you go to college with a GED?

Yes, your GED diploma is equivalent to a standard high school credential, and numerous students went on to pursue a college degree after they earned their GED diplomas.

Practically all North American universities and colleges recognize and accept the GED diploma in lieu of a high school degree in their admissions process.

More and more colleges and universities accept GED “college-ready” scores, meaning students with passing scores in the 165-174 (college-ready) and 175-200 (college-ready + credits) ranges are exempt from taking a college entrance test or remedial classes, or submitting SAT or ACT scores.

One of the many reasons to earn a college degree is increased career and earning potential. Keep in mind, though, that your credential is no guarantee to get accepted by a school.

Colleges and universities do not accept diplomas, they accept students. That’s why your transcript, scores, resume, letters of recommendation, are so important!

It may be wise to attend a local community college first. Most community colleges offer 2-year programs at relatively low tuition rates and at convenient locations.

And if you first earn an associate’s degree from your local community college, you can save lots of time and money on earning, for example, a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year university or college.

Many homeschooled students also take the GED exam as it is a cheaper way to get hold of a secondary education degree than signing up for an online high school diploma program, such as offered by James Madison High School, though the homeschool high school diploma is also a legitimate document in the U.S.

How do I schedule the GED test?

When you think you’re ready to take one of the four GED modules, create your account on the website GED.com (at the portal MyGED), and purchase the GED Ready® practice test for the subject you studied for.

The GED Ready test costs $6 per subject test and is about half the length of the real subtest. You will receive a report that tells you if you are likely to pass the real thing or that you should get some additional preparation lessons.

If you are ready to sit for that subject test, you can schedule and pay for that subtest on the same website, GED.com. So you can register and pay for each of the four modules separately but you can also opt to take more subtests on the same day.

If you’ve secured your GED diploma, you may also qualify for one of Google’s new Certification Programs that will lead to a rewarding and well-paying career.

Career advancement

Earning your GED diploma can also help you secure a well-paying entry-level job or help you advance your professional career as it has done all through its almost 80-year history.

So when you don’t want to pursue post-secondary education, your GED diploma qualifies you for a decent job as today, most positions require applicants to hold at least a high school or equivalent diploma, also for entry-level positions!

The GED exam is fully computer-based. And to be honest, this is quite a good development because these days, you won’t find a position easily that doesn’t’ require applicants to command basic computer skills.

Your GED diploma will also help you to access professional training courses offered by vocational schools and community colleges. These courses can usually be completed in a relatively short period of time.

So your new GED diploma will help you to secure a new high-in-demand job and qualify you for job advancement within your current job.

Last Updated on October 4, 2021.