How Does the GED Compare to a High School Diploma?

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Many question the merit of the GED when compared to a high school diploma. However, most employers and colleges regard the GED just as highly as a high school diploma because of the rigorous studying and extensive testing that is associated with the GED.
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GED Overview

The General Educational Development high school equivalency test, better known as the GED, has been praised as a second chance for individuals who are unable to finish high school. However, many may question how a GED compares to an actual high school diploma. Read on to understand more about the GED and the purposes it can serve.

Test Details

In 2014, the GED test was reconfigured into four subject areas: reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, social studies and science. The sections range from 90-150 minutes each, with 200 points possible in each section, and the subject tests can be taken one at a time or in conjunction with one another.

The details of how the GED is administered vary among the states that offer it, but some require adult learners to take a practice test so that the results can then be used to effectively prepare and study for a better chance of success. Community colleges and adult education centers typically offer classes or assistance in some form, including online courses and materials. Adult learners can open an account online ( to find local centers, practice tests and official testing sites. The name of the credential issued for successful test-takers also varies by state.


The GED exam is set up to match national high school standards, and passing scores are based on the national averages from traditional high schools in 2013. A score of 150 or above is considered a passing score; a score of 170 or above is designated as GED with Honors and is consistent with national levels of college readiness or employment readiness. A GED 'Smart Transcript' provides details on the test-taker's skills and strengths in a format that goes deeper than the scores alone.

According to the GED Testing Service, 97% of U.S. employers consider the GED certificate to be equivalent to a traditional high school diploma. Although that statistic may surprise some, the GED is highly respected for its battery of tests that require focus and intelligence to complete. In fact, because of the preparation and dedication the test requires, employers may regard the GED as a predictor of success in an applicant's career.

Additionally, the GED Testing Service says 98% of colleges accept the GED in the same way they accept a traditional high school diploma. Students who have passed the GED demonstrate an ability to overcome hurdles and they may be more appreciative of opportunities.

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