What is the GED® Test?

The GED® Test is a four-subtest high school equivalency (HSE) exam that measures basic knowledge at a level that high school students must command upon graduation. The GED includes four subtests on these subject areas: Language Arts (Writing and Reading), Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. An occasional test taker may be able to pass four GED tests (that can be taken separately within two years) without any special preparation, but most applicants will need a lot of preparation. You can follow prep classes in your area or study online to become ready to take the GED test.

Since January 2014, there are additionally two alternative exams available in some states, the HiSET and TASC. All across the nation, you can find numerous locations where proper preparation is offered. The new GED test allows you to take one of the four sub-tests at the time when you feel properly prepared, and you only need to pay for that section that you take! You have two years to complete all four tests. This does not apply to HiSET and TASC.

The GED exam

The following are the subject fields of which your knowledge is assessed on the 2014 edition of the GED test:

Math (Mathematical Reasoning): Students now need to solve real-world issues that involve inequalities, they must demonstrate their ability to factor polynomials, deal with linear inequalities in one variable, and graph these linear inequalities.

Literacy (Reasoning through Language Arts): Applicants must show that they command reading at a higher level.  They now need to be able to evaluate arguments and claims in several or one text(s), such as the validity of the arguments used.  They now are required to read two opposing passages, and evaluate the perspectives and determine which of the positions is best supported.  This must be done in an essay.

Social Studies: This test includes new questions that assess the ability of test-takers to analyze the relations between more texts, and they also must interpret charts,  graphs, and more data. U.S. and World History and Geography are also part of Social Studies.

Science: This deals with more or less the same material as in the 2002 GED Series, but the questions are more detailed and go deeper into issues.

To sign up for the GED test you need to visit and create your account with MyGED. This is a great and efficiently designed website that allows you to schedule your exam.

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The GED Passing Score

Below Passing Score: 100 – 144
Passing Score (High School Equivalency): 145 – 164
College Ready Score: 165 – 174
College Ready Score + Credit: 175 – 200

TASC and HiSET tests come with separate writing and reading tests (so five in total) and are available both on paper and computer-based (except in New Jersey where all tests are only available on a computer).

Is the GED test the same as the HSE test?

HSE stands for High School Equivalency, and the best-known test is the GED (General Education Development) test, but since early 2014 two other HSE testing options were introduced, the HiSET and TASC exams.

Adults who never finished high school have another chance to obtain a certificate or diploma that is nationally recognized and accepted as the equivalency to a regular high school diploma. Practically all American governmental organizations, employers, and institutions of higher education recognize and accept the GED just like a regular high school diploma.

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GED vs. TASC and HiSET

So the GED exam is no longer the sole option available for earning the HSE (high school equivalency) credential. Some states now offer the TASC by CTB/McGraw-Hill, others decided for the HiSET by ETS (Educational Testing Services), and there are also states that offer multiple options.

The TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) and the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) are cheaper than the new GED exam and provide the exam in both paper and pencil, and computer-based formats, whereas the latest edition of the GED exam is only available fully computer-based.

The HSE certificate is your ticket to a college education and will definitively improve your employment options.  If you want to qualify for credit classes and be able to receive financial aid at institutions of higher education, you need to have a high school or GED  diploma.

The GED is modular

The GED test comes with four separate tests (modules) that can be taken independently in a two-year time frame, but the HiSET and TASC are not “modular” and must be taken as a “block”, usually spread out over a few days. TASC and HiSET contain five tests as the Literacy portion includes separate writing and reading tests.

HSE classes are developed to train individuals to become properly prepared so they can complete the GED (General Education Development) test or the TASC or HiSET, successfully.  These prep classes can be obtained online for a small fee or sometimes at no charge at all, but all across America GED preparation classes are offered at community schools, public libraries, and community centers often for free.

GED 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 Chief Examiner for arrangements and official approval.

Obtaining a GED diploma has many benefits, and successful completion of the program and passing the exam gives adults better employment options and the opportunity to continue their education.  More than 95 percent of all institutions of higher education recognize and accept the GED certificate as being comparable to a common high school diploma.

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