What is a GED?

GED stands for General Educational Development Test is for the students who never obtained a high school diploma. For those who have completed high school will have two options: You can either receive your diploma or a GED. 

Updated by Niharika Padiga on 19th March 2020

GED stands for General Educational Development Test is for the students who never obtained a high school diploma. For those who have completed high school will have two options: You can either receive your diploma or a GED

Most of them will get confused by these terms. You will receive a diploma certificate once you have completed all the courses to graduate whereas the GED test enables you to take your series of tests even if you have not completed your high school education.

GED tests are conducted to assess students' proficiency in standard high-school subjects and identify to what extent they have gained knowledge. However, by qualifying for the GED test, you will obtain a high-school equivalency diploma. 

Before choosing to take this test in the place of your diploma, there are a few points you’ll have to remember..

GED Test Pattern

The GED test is a paper-based exam and not an online exam. It has mainly 4 sections:

Mathematical Reasoning

  • Number operations and number sense

  • Measurement and geometry

  • Data analysis, statistics, and probability

  • Algebra, functions, and patterns

Reasoning through language arts

  • Poetry

  • Drama

  • Fiction

  • Non-fiction

  • Workplace documents


  • Physical Science

  • Life Science

  • Earth and Space Science

Social Studies

  • History

  • Geography

  • Civics and Government

  • Economics

You have to take each test separately and each test takes one hour and you need to get a minimum score of 145 per subject is really important to clear the exam.

You no need to take all the tests within a day. Few states fixed a particular time schedule for finishing the tests.

Most of the questions are multiple-choice, only a few are fill-in-the-blank questions. You will also have an essay question on the Reasoning paper.

After you attempt each exam, you will get your exam scores within 24 hours. 




Mathematical Reasoning

115 minutes

Part 1 (first 5 test questions) - calculator not allowed

Part 2 (remaining 41 test questions) - calculator allowed

Reasoning through language arts (RLA)

150 minutes

Section 1 (27 minutes*)

Section 2 (45 minutes)

Student Break (10 minutes)

Section 3 (60 minutes*)

*The time allotted for sections 1 and 3 may vary slightly, but the total test time will always be 150 minutes.


90 minutes


Social Studies

70 minutes


Note: You can retake the exam if you don’t qualify for the first time. Different states follow different prerequisites for those who need to retake the tests (like additional fees).

How to Register for GED?

  • Firstly, check enrolled state GED websites. 

  • You can also visit the American Council of Education to search for testing centers near you.

  • Create an account on GED.com. Then,  choose a test center near you.

  • Later, go to the website, click on locate a test center (at the end page) to search for a state testing center.

  • If you are not a U.S. resident, you can take the exam at a testing facility by Pearson VUE

  • Visit the official website for any details about the test procedures and exam locations.

  • Registration fees vary from location to location.

If you still have any doubts regarding the registration, you can contact the customer service where you will be provided with more information. 

You need to register yourself in advance as there will be specific time tables for these exams.

GED Requirements

All the students who are above the age of 16 and who do not register in high-school are free to take the test. Also, students should not have graduated from high school. 

What is a Good GED Score?

Scoring depends on the points you earned per section rather than the number of questions you attempted correctly. Different points for different questions. The total points you earned during the test per each section are converted into a standard test score. GED score has a point scale from 100 to 200

Your final GED marks memo possess your standard grades and percentages. You should get an overall score of 60% or above to earn a certificate.

GED Vs High-School Diploma

  • GED can be earned without the completion of a diploma whereas a high school diploma is awarded right after the completion of your high school.

  • The one with a diploma and the one who has cleared all the GED tests creates an identity of equal ability and skills.

  • Students who pass all the tests in GED are considered an equal priority as a diploma with great caliber; is known as GED-General Educational Development.

  • Not only dull students take the GED, but also the skilled students drop out from a diploma with a reason to skip high school and enter college at an early stage.

  • Also, few students have their financial and family problems that play a major role in these drop-outs.

Why is GED Important?

  • GED is important if you don’t have a high school diploma.

  • GED is specifically for finding job opportunity or continuing your education if you decide to study later in life

  • Most recruiters or community colleges accept the GED. But some four-year universities/colleges have some strict prerequisites.

  • There are approximately more than 3,500 testing websites across the U.S if you are willing to attempt the test.