What is a GED?

Want to have a clear idea about what is a GED? Learn in detail on General Educational Development, its importance, requirements, application process and more.

TCM Staff

20th October 2020

The government of the United States of America propagates 100% literacy in the nation. Keeping this in utmost priority, the US Department of Education has initiated several policies to ensure the attainment of education to all. One such initiative is the GED test. The GED has been a haven for millions of students who had to drop out or stop their high school education due to unsolicited circumstances. 

What is the 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

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.

Eligibility and Requirements for the GED?

The GED is only available for candidates who are not enrolled in high school. The eligible age for the GED is 16 years.

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.

Why is GED Important?

The GED has ample advantages. It proves as a refuge for all those who could not attain high school for various circumstances, yet wishes to continue their education. It serves as the bridge to colleges and universities for this demographic. We have laid down the reasons behind its importance. It is essential to thoroughly understand its importance to have a clear understanding of the different aspects related to it.

  • 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

How to Register for GED?

There are several steps to followed to register for the GED test. These steps are primarily to ensure good user experience. It is highly recommended to religiously abide by these steps and perform them as needed. This would prevent any unsolicited circumstance that might hinder the registration process. We have laid out the steps to register for the GED test:

  • 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 Test Pattern

The GED test is a paper-based exam and not an online exam. All the questions are mandatory and carry no negative marking. The GED tests the candidate on his/her knowledge of Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language. The difficulty level of the GED test is the same as that of high school exams. It is rigorous and needs advance preparation. The test pattern comprises of 4 compulsory sections which are enlisted below,

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).

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.

The highest GED score range is 175-200 points per subject. This score is termed as “College-Ready plus credit.”

GED vs High-School Diploma

Many people confuse between the GED and a High-School Diploma. With a common goal to serve as the gateway to college and university education, GED and high school diploma have certain differences that define their varying nature. Below are the differences between the GED and 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.


It is essential for the candidates to be updated on the latest changes and amendments to the GED rules and policies. Simultaneously, it is expected of the candidates to prepare for the test to avail of a good score. This can help them in qualifying for good educational institutes. Students who pass all the tests in GED are considered an equal priority as a diploma with great caliber.

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