What Do I Have to Do to Pass the GED?

About this article
The General Educational Development Test (GED) allows people who did not finish high school to earn a high school equivalency diploma or certificate. This article gives you an overview of what is on the test, and the score you need to pass it.
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The GED Test Format

The GED Test has four separate test sections on language arts, math, science and social studies. The test is taken on computer at an official state testing center, and cannot be taken online. The GED Test is offered in English and Spanish, and special accommodations are available for those with special needs. You can take the four test sections all at one time if scheduling allows, or you can take the following test sections individually, in any order:

  • Reasoning Through Language Arts - This section of the GED is 150 minutes long and allows you to demonstrate your reading and writing skills. You will need to answer questions that ask you to interpret and analyze literary and informational reading passages. There are also questions that will ask you to review and revise written selections that have problems with grammar, organization and language use. The test also requires an essay that you will have 45 minutes to write.
  • Social Studies - The Social Studies test section covers civics and government, history, geography and economics. You will need to answer questions based on information presented in reading selections, maps, charts and illustrations such as political cartoons.This is a 90-minute test, and, as part of the test, you will have 25 minutes to write a short essay.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - This test section is 115-minutes with a brief break. You will be able to use a calculator for most of the questions which ask you to solve multi-step problems involving whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percents. You will also be asked to calculate the area, perimeter and volume of geometric figures, to factor polynomial expressions and to solve equations and linear inequalities. You will have a formula sheet to help you during the test.
  • Science - During the Science portion of the GED, you will be asked questions on life sciences, physical science and Earth and space science. The 90-minute Science test has been designed to let you demonstrate your ability to interpret and analyze scientific and technical information. You will also have two extended-response questions that may ask you to summarize or evaluate science-based ideas and to support your answers with evidence provided in the text.

Passing the GED

In order to pass the GED, you need to score 150 on each of the test sections and have a total score of 600. If you earn 170-200 points on a test section, you will receive an Honors score.

If you score below 150, you can usually retake the test twice without waiting. If you need to take a third retest in any of the four subject areas, you need to wait 60 days.

Some states and jurisdictions have specific retest policies and you should check whatever rules might apply to you on the GED website, GED.com. You can also find testing centers, adult education centers that offer prep courses, study materials, sample questions and practice tests at GED.com.

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