Once you've decided to get your GED, it can be difficult to figure out how to get prepared. Our poll shows that most people searching for GED info are either looking for classes and study programs, or are taking practice tests and looking for a testing center. It sounds easy, but it isn't always.
In the U.S., every state has its own GED requirements that can be difficult to locate on the state's government pages. GED is sometimes handled by the Department of Education, sometimes by the Department of Labor, and often by names like Public Instruction or Workforce Education. Find your state's requirements in State GED: Official GED Websites in the United States.
Finding a Class or Program
Now that you know what's required by your state, how do you go about finding a class, either online or on campus, or some other kind of study program? Many of the state sites offer learning programs, sometimes called Adult Basic Education, or ABE. If your state’s classes weren't obvious on the GED page, search the site for ABE. State directories of schools offering adult education are often included on these pages.
If your state GED or ABE websites don't provide a directory of classes, try finding a school near you on America's Literacy Directory. This directory provides addresses, phone numbers, contacts, hours, maps, and other useful information.
Contact the school that matches your needs and ask about GED prep courses. They'll take it from there and help you achieve your goals.
If you can't find a convenient or appropriate school near you, what next? If you do well with self-study, an online course may work for you. Some, such as gedforfree.com, are free. Others, such as the GED Academy and GED Online, charge tuition. Do your homework and make sure you understand what you're buying.
Remember that you cannot take the GED test online. This is very important. Do not let anyone charge you for taking the test online. The diploma they offer you is not valid. You must take your test at a certified GED Test Center. You can locate the testing center closest to you at the American Council on Education.
Studying completely on your own is also a possibility, especially if you're not comfortable using a computer. There are many GED study guides available at national book stores, and some of these are probably available at your local independent book store as well. Ask at the counter if you're not sure where to find them.
Study guides come in comprehensive editions, or broken down into the five parts of the GED test: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, and Social Studies. Compare prices and how each book is laid out. People learn in different ways. Choose the books that make you feel comfortable using them. This is your education.
Adult Learning Principles
Adults learn differently than children. Your GED study experience is going to be different from your memory of school as a child. Understanding adult learning principles will help you make the most of this new adventure you’re beginning.
If you haven't been in the classroom for a while, you might find it difficult to get back into studying mode. The Tips for Older Students series offers helpful suggestions:
Time management tips might also come in handy:
When you're ready to take the GED test, there are practice tests available to help you find out how ready you really are. Some are available in book form from the same companies that publish the study guides. You may have seen them when you shopped for guides.
Others are available online. Following are just a few. Search for GED Practice Tests and choose a site that is easy for you to navigate. Some are free, and some have a small fee. Again, be sure you know what you're buying.
Registering for the Real Test
If you need to, refer back to your state’s GED website, or visit the American Council on Education to locate the GED testing center closest to you. Tests are usually offered on certain days at specific times, and you'll need to contact the center to register in advance.
The GED Test
The GED test has five parts:
- Language Arts, Writing
- Language Arts, Reading
- Social Studies
- Physical Science
- Life Science
- Earth and Space Science
How Well Do You Need to Score?
Each of the five GED tests has a maximum score of 800. The highest possible score for all five tests is 4000 points. The average high school graduate scores 500 on each test, or a total of 2,500 points.
The GED test is scored based on this average. You must pass each test with a minimum score of 450.
Calming Test Stress
No matter how hard you've studied, tests can be stressful. There are lots of ways to manage your anxiety, assuming you're prepared, of course, which is the first way to reduce test stress. Resist the urge to cram right up to test time. Your brain will function more clearly if you:
- Arrive early and relaxed
- Trust yourself
- Take your time
- Read the instructions carefully
- Answer the questions you know easily first, and then
- Go back and work on the harder ones
Remember to breathe! Breathing deeply will keep you calm and relaxed.
Relieve study stress with 10 Ways to Relax.
Getting your GED will be one of the most satisfying accomplishments of your life. Good luck to you. Enjoy the process, and let us know in the Continuing Education forum how you're doing.