The "General Education Development" test or GED test consists of five standardized achievement tests that measure an applicant's high school educational proficiency in the areas of writing, reading, social studies, science, and mathematics. Applicants who pass the five subjects of the GED are certified as having successfully achieved the academic skills of a high school graduate. Depending upon the jurisdiction of the state administering the GED tests, an applicant must be a minimum of 16 years or 17 years of age. Officially, these tests are known as the GED battery of tests, and the tests GED are known by the following names:
The initials GED also have been interpreted to mean "General Education Diploma," "General Equivalency Diploma," and "General Equivalency Degree" because of the GED's accepted substitution as a high school diploma.
These five tests are administered at an Official GED Testing Center that adheres to the standards specified by the American Council on Education (ACE). There are presently over 3,000 Official GED Testing Centers worldwide. The Testing Centers also must follow the regulations mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 when the GED tests are taken in the United States and under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when these tests are administered in Canada. Applicants must take the GED battery of tests in person at an Official GED Testing Center. The test cannot be taken online. When the GED tests are administered in the United States, the individual State's Department of Education also have jurisdiction over some of the regulations that govern the tests.
To pass the GED series of tests and earn a GED Certificate, an applicant must score higher than 60 percent of graduating high school seniors when measured nationwide. Certain jurisdictions may require additional requirements of GED graduates. Some of these requirements include passing an English proficiency exam or a government civics test.
The GED test originally was developed in the 1940s as a means for World War II veterans to demonstrate that they had reached the skill level equivalency of a high school education as they reentered civilian life. Today the GED program has expanded to include nonmilitary personnel who may have left high school early for a variety of reasons. The GED also has benefited United States and Canadian immigrants who have not graduated from high school since its creation more than 50 years ago; the GED program successfully has certified more than 15 million people.
You may have heard that the GED program is being completely overhauled. That's true, but the changes won't take place until 2014. Until then, use the information on this site for the current test.
Students and potential test takers can prepare for the GED Tests in a variety of ways, but in the end each of these methods involve practice and more practice. The real point of practicing is becoming familiar with the unfamiliar. This familiarity means learning to understand the rules of the exam, the manner in which the GED asks questions, and the length of time you should spend answering each question.
One of the best features about the GED relates to the industry of practice materials that has grown up around this standardized test since its inception in the 1940s. Through this multi-million dollar business, many educational material companies provide printed flashcards, workbooks, video guides, and just about anything else that can give an individual a much needed boost of self-confidence. In particular, the Internet features many dedicated GED websites containing self-help study guides and practice simulation exams.
Preparing for the GED through classroom study is another commonly used option. In fact, every state typically has an adult education section within their Department of Education, dedicated to help individuals looking to complete their GED. Tax dollars fund these adult education departments, and their mission is to serve the public. To get started in an adult education course, simply contact the State Department of Education by telephone, email, fax, or go online to obtain information about the nearest GED classroom study. In many instances these courses may be located in your local community. In addition, many community colleges, state universities, independent learning centers, and other educational programs offer extensive GED adult classroom courses for mathematics, language arts, science, reading, and social studies. You also might wish to contact the official ACE GED testing administrator in the state in which you reside in order to access another excellent source of information and assistance.
As stated in the opening sentence, practice makes perfect. Even though you do not have to achieve a perfect score in order to pass the GED, the hours of practice you spend reviewing course material certainly will go a long way to relieve your test day anxiety.
Have you heard news accounts of a new GED that's harder? Those accounts are true, but the old test is still in use, and will be until 2014. When that happens, we'll have tips for passing the harder test, but until then you can rely on our current information.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013
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