Answers to common questions about the GED
1. What does GED stand for?
It stands for “General Educational Development”. It is sometimes also informally referred to as the General Educational Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma, but these are not the official names.
2. What exactly are the General Educational Development tests?
The General Educational Development is a set of five tests in the core high school curriculum areas of
- Language Arts: Writing (Parts I and II)
- Language Arts: Reading
- Mathematics: Part 1 (with calculator); Part 2 (without calculator)
- Social Studies
The tests measure important knowledge and skills that are taught and learned during a regular high school education. Some of these skills include reading comprehension, basic mathematics, and basic English and composition skills. The main focus of the tests is on critical thinking and the ability to draw conclusions based on the information presented. The tests are not focused on rote repetition or memorization.
Multiple-choice questions are used for each of the five tests that make up the General Educational Development. The Language Arts: Writing test includes an essay component that a candidate must pass in order to receive a score for the test. The Mathematics test includes the use of standard and coordinate plane grids and a calculator.
3. How long do the tests take and what subjects do they cover?
The five tests take a total of seven hours and five minutes to complete. The table below breaks down the basic information for each test.
|Language Arts: Writing (Part I)||Organization – 15%
Sentence Structure – 30%
Mechanics – 25%
Usage – 30%
|50||1 hour, 15 minutes|
|Language Arts: Writing (Part II)||Essay Component||Essay||45 minutes|
|Language Arts: Reading||Literary Text – 75%
– Fiction (Pre-1920, 1920-1960, 1960 to present)
Non-fiction Text – 25%
– Non-fiction Prose (Biography, Critical Review of Fine and Performing Arts)
– Workplace Documents
|40||1 hour, 5 minutes|
|Mathematics||Numbers, Number Sense and Operations – 20-30%
Data, Statistics, and Probability – 20-30%
Geometry and Measurement – 20-30%
Algebra, Functions, and Patterns – 20-30%
|50||1 hour, 30 minutes|
|Social Studies||History – 40%
Civics – 25%
Economics – 20%
Geography – 15%
|50||1 hour, 10 minutes|
|Science||Life Science – 45% (Biology and Health)
Earth and Space Science – 20%
Physical Science – 35% (Chemistry and Physics)
|50||1 hour, 20 minutes|
4. Why do people take the General Educational Development tests?
Students who have not yet graduated from high school generally consider the General Educational Development for one of two reasons: to continue their education and get into college, or to get a job that requires a high school diploma. The General Educational Development is widely accepted by employers as an alternative to a traditional high school diploma from an accredited high school.
Here are some more reasons people take the General Educational Development tests
- To receive a high school equivalency certificate.
- To gain a promotion within their own organization.
- To achieve personal satisfaction.
5. Who recognizes the General Educational Development certificate?
The General Educational Development is widely accepted by employers as an alternative to a traditional high school diploma from an accredited high school. The majority of colleges in the United States, US territories and Canada accept students who have earned their General Educational Development instead of graduating from high school. However, most colleges do require General Educational Development graduates to also take one of the two major standardized tests for high school students: the SATs or the ACT.
If a student with a General Educational Development wants to get into a college that does not accept the General Educational Development, then they can simply enroll in a community college and transfer from the community college to the desired college after one year (or about 30 credits). General Educational Development graduates with at least a year of college credits can successfully transfer to almost any college in the country, provided they meet the college’s other criteria and are accepted by the college’s admissions department.
6. Is a General Educational Development certificate equivalent to getting a high school diploma?
The General Educational Development tests compare your performance on the tests to the results of high school seniors on the same tests. The tests take into consideration the skills and knowledge people are expected to retain from high school, especially the ability to reason, put together information and draw conclusions from information they’ve been presented.
If you’re considering getting a General Educational Development to qualify for a job, then you can be confident that the General Educational Development is accepted by almost all employers in place of and as an alternative to a regular high school diploma. If you’re considering getting a General Educational Development to continue your education and go to college, then most colleges will accept you with a General Educational Development, though they will generally also want you to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests.
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