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What it Takes to Get Your GED

How, Where, and How Much?

Since 1942, when the GED was first established, the test has gone through a number of renovations, each a bit more challenging and intended to keep time with the general requirements of a high school graduate. The test is actually a collection of five tests that examine an individual’s skills in the areas of reading, writing, social studies, math, and science. For some individuals the GED is a breeze, and for others not so easy. But not everyone who takes the tests passes.

GED candidates are all advised to engage in a solid curriculum of study and practice tests that lead up to the real test. Data from 2005 shows that of the over 600,000 people that took the GED tests, only 400,000 passed. Why do so many fail? Some sources argue that high school drop outs may be categorized in one of two ways: those that left school due to personal problems and those that just had no motivation and little regard for education. This would likely mean that the ability to pass the GED or to succeed in higher education is not so much about whether you finished high school, but is more related to your identification with one of the above groups.

Get Your Head Straight

In the article, “Get a Real GED - Is it Worth It?” we examined the data that supports the benefits of a real, legitimately earned GED. This website gives you the truth about the diploma mill and fake degree business and of course you could buy a phony GED for a hundred dollars or so if you wanted. However, chances are good that fake GEDs and high school diplomas are unlikely to get you anywhere. Avoid websites that offer quick and easy high school diplomas or offer to give you the GED test online. No legitimate online GED tests exist.

A real GED, like any other accomplishment, is a good self-esteem and confidence booster. And armed with these two very powerful motivators you can do almost anything.

Where Do I Go?

Every state has dozens, maybe hundreds, of places where you can find reliable information on the GED. The American Council on Education (ACE) designs and adapts the GED. ACE also maintains a comprehensive list of GED sources by state.

Most community colleges are a good source for local information, as well, and most communities offer regularly scheduled adult education courses that specifically prepare GED candidates. The value of these courses cannot be underscored. By some accounts nearly 30% of GED testers fail on their first test. Most study classes are cheap and offer convenient hours for adults with jobs and families. When you feel ready to take the test, use the ACE GED Testing Locator to find a GED test center that’s convenient for you.

Am I Qualified and How Much Does the Test Cost?

If you are over the age of 19 and have no high school diploma, you are eligible to take the GED. Costs are set by individual testing centers, and may vary significantly by region. Typically test costs fall between $50 and $100 for the set of five tests. But, since the tests are administered individually they may be priced separately.

Passing the Test

The GED test is made up of five smaller tests designed to analyze an individual’s skills in reading, writing, social studies, math, and science—all the areas required of any high school graduate. The bulk of the tests are multiple choice, with a short essay required of the writing test, of course. Tests may be taken individually.

Motivated candidates often study independently. Dozens of GED study books are available. Buy used copies online for low prices, spring for new, or check them out from the local library. Many more people choose to participate in adult education classes that specialize in GED preparation. When you think you’re ready, check out the ACE sample test.

GED Test Scores

According to the ACE, the scores for the GED tests are derived from the scores of a sample of high school seniors. Scores for each of the five tests fall between 200 and 500, with 800 as the highest. Passing scores are no less than “410 on each test and an average score of at least 450 on all the tests in the battery.” The good news is that if you fail you may take the test again.

The GED is a boon to individuals who, for whatever reason, dropped out of high school. The value of a diploma cannot be overlooked, both for economic and for educational reasons.

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