Getting your High School Equivalency (HSE) credential can result in:
- Getting a job or getting a better job
- Increased earning power
- Financial security for your family
- Opening of doors to advanced training and higher education
Did you know that famous GED recipients include:
- Peter Jennings, ABC News Anchor
- Ben Night Horse Campbell, former U.S. Senator from Colorado
- Mary Lou Retton, medal-winning Olympic gymnast
- Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's restaurant
- Chris Rock, comedian
- Mark Wahlberg, actor and musician
- Gretchen Wilson, country music singer
Depending on where you live, you will need to take either the GED®, HiSET®, or TASC™ test to get your high school equivalency credential and finish your diploma. Enter your ZIP code above or call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-877-389-6874 to connect with your local adult education center. They will direct you to the tests offered in your area. Learn more about the individual tests below.
*Many people need to take classes before they are ready to take the GED, HiSET, or TASC tests. To find classes near you, search the National Literacy Directory. Practice tests, such as this one, are available online to help too.
- The GED® test is a four-subject high school equivalency test that measures skills required by high schools and requested by colleges and employers. The four subjects are Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA).
Why take the GED® test?
When asking why you should finish your diploma, the answer might simply be that without it you could have a difficult time finding a job. Depending on where you live, your state may offer the GED® test as the main high school equivalency test. Millions of adults in the U.S. did not graduate from high school, and they are eligible to take the GED® test.
The GED® credential has long been recognized as a valid substitute for a high school diploma, with 98 percent of colleges and universities in the United States accepting it in applications. All branches of the U.S. military and most employers accept the GED® test or other high school equivalency diploma. In fact, the GED® test was created in 1942 as U.S. military veterans returned home after service in World War II, since many of them had left high school prior to graduation.
Individuals preparing to take the GED® test range in age from late teens to senior citizens, and they span a wide variety of backgrounds. Many participants learn English as a second language.
The GED® test has been around for decades, and many forms of testing assistance are available, from local adult education centers to printed resources that should be available at your library. In some cases, financial assistance can be made available if you're taking the test.
Your local adult education center can help you with the process and is the best place to get started with the GED® test. To get started, use the Directory to find a center near you.
How to study for the GED® test
Earning a high school equivalency is a major step that can open the doors to new opportunities. Whether your state offers the GED® test or another test, studying is essential and significantly increases the odds of earning a good score.
States in the U.S. that offer the GED® test maintain their own requirements and standards for the issuance of a GED® diploma. While much of the material will be quite similar, it's very important that students select the preparation materials appropriate for their state's requirements. Adult education centers and public libraries in most states offer free GED® preparation materials, and local staff can help you get started on the process.
Here are five tips for studying for the GED® test:
- Dedicate a specific amount of time each day to studying. This can be in the evenings after work or early in the morning — whatever works best for you.
- Divide your study time into 15-minute sections: some for reading the practice material, some for reviewing the material once you've read it, and another period for taking practice tests.
- Don't try to cram the studying into one extended session. Studies show that a person's ability to focus lessens after 45 minutes, so it's important to break up study periods into manageable sections.
- Try to visualize real-world examples of the lessons in your studies. For example: If you are trying to remember a math equation and you have worked in retail or as a cashier in the past, think of a time when that equation would have applied to your position.
- Establish a support network of family and friends who are positive and support your success. Surrounding yourself with positive energy and cheerleaders is key to reaching your goal.
To get started, use the Directory to find a local adult education center — they'll help you every step of the way!
Interpreting the test results
Taking the GED® test is a great accomplishment.
The GED® test covers four subjects: Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA). The goal of the test is to gauge your knowledge of these subjects relative to that of a high school graduate.
The GED® test assigns a separate score for each section, using two different numbers. The standard score is set to a scale of 200 to 800, along with a percentile rank between 1 and 99. A top score of 800 in a section would likely place one in the 99th percentile, or the top 1 percent of all test-takers, meaning it exceeded 99 percent of the other participants.
The average score for students is typically at the 500 level, although the percentile might vary depending on how others scored while taking the test. The standard score is a fixed number and the percentile is a relative ranking.
To pass the GED® test, participants must earn a minimum score of at least 410 in each of the content areas and an average of 450 or greater across the total test, for a total score of at least 2250. The percentile rank does not affect whether somebody passes the test.
Students who fail to achieve a passing score can retake the content area tests twice in a calendar year, for a total of three times total in a calendar year.