Frequently Asked Questions

What do the letters "GED" mean?

GED is short for "General Educational Development," the GED test is the high school equivalency test.

Is the GED test new?

The GED test was started during World War II.  Its purpose was to provide a quick way for veterans to graduate from high school so they could go to college.

How many people need the GED?

There are over 50 million people in the United States over 18 who do not have a high school diploma.  Each year almost a million high school students do not graduate with their class.

What type of test is the GED test?

The GED test is primarily a multiple-choice test.  This means that each question is followed by five choices and you must pick the one correct answer.  There are 2 exceptions to this: The Writing Skills test requires you to write a short essay and the math test requires you to bubble some answers on a grid.

What is on the GED test?

The GED test consists of five separate tests:

Test 1 is the Writing Skills Test. 

This test has two parts.  Part one is a multiple-choice test and it measures your proofreading skills.  You must be able to identify errors in organization, punctuation, capitalization, grammar and sentence structure.

Part Two of the Writing Skills test asks you to write your thoughts on a topic that is given to you.  It must be about 250 words or about 2 pages.

Test 2 is the Social Studies Test.

There are 50 questions and 80 minutes for this test.  Most of the questions can be answered by using information found in short articles, graphs, charts and maps.  The subjects covered on this test are: history, geography, economics, civics or government.

Test 3 is the Science Test.

There are 50 questions and 80 minutes for this test.  Most of the questions can be answered by using the information found in the articles, definitions, and illustrations.  The subjects covered on this test are: biology, earth science, physics and chemistry.

Test 4 is the Language Arts Reading.

The Reading Test consists of 40 questions and 65 minutes.  Almost all the questions on this test can be answered by reading a poem, play excerpt, essay or business document and answering multiple choice questions.

Test 5 is the Math Test.

In this test there are 50 questions and 90 minutes.  About half of the test is arithmetic and the other half is divided between algebra and geometry.  You don’t have to memorize complicated algebraic formulas to pass this test, but you must be very good at handling word problems.  A calculator may be used on the first half of the test.

How hard is the GED test?

Every few years the GED test is evaluated to see if it still reflects the ability level of the typical high school graduate.  GED tests are sent to randomly selected high schools across the country.  Hundreds of graduating seniors from cities, suburbs and rural environment are tested.  Then the passing scored standards are made.  For you to pass the GED test, you have to do better than 30% of the high school graduates in this country.

How many do I have to get right to pass?

You must get a little more than half right on each test to get a passing mark.  The exact number correct needed to earn a passing mark may vary slightly from test to test and from state to state.  More than 500,000 people pass the GED test each year and almost no one gets all answers correct-so getting half-right is not as easy as it sounds.

Is there a time limit on the test?

Yes, all tests are timed-tests.

Test 1 – Language Arts, Writing (formerly Writing)            2 hours
Test 2 – Social Studies                        1 hour 20 minutes
Test 3 – Science                            1 hour 20 minutes
Test 4 – Language Arts, Reading (formerly Literature and Arts)    1 hour 5 minutes
Test 5 – Mathematics (Part I Calculator/Part II non-Calculator)    1 hour 30 minutes

Because all the tests would take over 7 hours, they are usually spread out over a number of days or weeks.

How much does it costs to take the test?

In most places it costs between $100.00 and $130.00 for the entire battery of five tests.  You must check with your local test center to find out for sure.  If you fail one of the tests, you can re-take it for an additional fee.  Fees are payable in advance, and no personal checks are accepted.  Individual tests may be taken one at a time and in any order.  Once a passing score is achieved on a particular test, it need not to be taken again.  You may take as long as you wish between tests.

Where do I take the tests?

The GED test is given at a number of sites in the South Bay.  Consult the Testing Center Schedule for details.  Your teacher will supply you with a schedule of locations, times and directions.  Students must call first and make appointment to take tests.  There are no walk-ins.  Photo identification is required.

GED Test Results

1.  The GED test results may be presented by any student for elective and/or required subject credit.  The student must be at least 18 years of age and not attending a regular day high school.  A single, unmarried student under 18 years of age who is not attending the day school, may take the GED test with written permission from the district administrator.

2.  A minimum satisfactory standard score is an average of 450 points for five tests with no individual test scores lower than 410 points.  A student may not take an individual test and receive credit; all five tests must be taken.

3.  Credit is allowed toward a high school diploma according to the following schedule:

Standard Scores:

450 – 500     5 credits per test (elective only)
510 – 600    10 credits per test (elective or required)
610 – over    15 credits per test (all elective or 5 elective and 10 required)

4.  With the following limitations, the schedule above may be applied as follows:

Writing Skills Test        10 credits of English
Reading            10 credits of English
Social Science Test        10 credits of world history
Mathematics Test        10 credits of mathematics
Science Test            10 credits of physical or biological (as needed)

5.  Upon completion of all five tests, the official test center will issue a standard reporting form to the student applicant.  Please present a copy to the registrar.

6.  Students earn additional 2.5 elective credits for every 21 hours of class time completed in the GED classroom.


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