Exam Overview: GED Test Prep
Planning to take the GED? Here's what you need to know to get started. This article covers the basic information about these important exams. You will learn how the exams are structured, how to register, and how the exams are scored.
Edward dropped out of high school at 16 when his mother became ill and could no longer work or take care of Edward and his younger brother. He began working full time and never finished high school.
Rajesh came to the United States with the equivalent of a tenth-grade education from his native country. He dreamed of becoming a computer programmer but had to work full time. He often worked extra shifts to help make ends meet.
Marie was a certified nurse in her native Caribbean country. But when she immigrated, she found out her nursing certification was not valid in the United States. She could not apply to a U.S. nursing program without a high school diploma.
Today, after taking the GED and earning their high school diplomas, Edward, Rajesh, and Marie—like thousands of others who take the GED each year—are able to pursue the education and careers of their dreams. For more than half a century, the GED diploma has given millions of people the opportunity to find better employment, enroll in colleges and training programs, improve their standard of living, and feel better about themselves and their futures.
What the Tests Are About
The General Educational Development (GED) examination is a series of exams covering the broad range of knowledge and skills students are expected to master in high school. They are exams for people who wish to earn a high school diploma but who have been unable to graduate in the traditional manner. Passing the GED certifies that you have a high school level education and entitles you to a GED diploma, the equivalent of a high school diploma. For hundreds of thousands of people each year, the GED is an important stepping stone to a better job and continued education.
The GED is jointly administered by the General Education Development Testing Service, a program of the American Council on Education (ACE) Center for Adult Learning and Education Credentials, and the education department of each participating state or province. The GED exams are actually a battery of five exams that measure knowledge in five content and skills areas: writing, reading comprehension (understanding literature), social studies, mathematics, and science.
The complete battery of GED exams takes a total of seven hours and five minutes. The level of difficulty is set so that only two-thirds of traditional high school seniors will pass. On average, at least two-thirds of adults who take all five exams earn their diploma, and many states report even higher pass rates.
In many testing centers, you can take the GED one exam at a time until you complete all five exams. In others, you must take the entire battery of exams in one or two sessions.
The questions on the GED are all multiple choice with two important exceptions. Part II of the Language Arts, Writing Test requires you to write an essay, and about 25% of math questions are "alternate format" questions that may include short written responses. You will learn details about each exam, including the specific material covered and the kind of questions to expect, throughout the rest of this book.
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