Understanding the GED Test
If you're planning to take the GED Test soon, you'll want to
know how the test works and what the test measures since test
knowledge is a good way to outline a course of study and improve
your score. You'll also need a basic understanding of the GED
test score and what score you'll need to earn your GED, the
common term for the General Education Development credential.
Understanding the GED Test
The GED Test is actually a series of five tests, a 7.5-hour
timed exam. The test series includes science, social studies,
reading or language arts, writing and math. The individual tests
in the series can be taken at different times. Once you pass an
individual exam, you don't have to take it again.
While most people have more questions or concerns about the math
and writing tests, here's a review of all the tests in the
five-part GED test series.
For the science, social studies and reading tests, questions are
designed to determine your ability to understand material, and
then apply that understanding or knowledge by selecting the best
answer among five multiple choice options. You'll need to read
and understand short passages of information and then make
inferences, evaluations and deductions to determine correct
answers. The ability to understand information and apply
reasoning skills are valuable for these tests. These abilities,
along with common sense and judgment, are more important than
memory, or the knowledge you remember from a basic skills class
or high school.
The math test is also a multiple-choice test. The test is
divided into two parts; there are 25 questions on each part,
with 45 minutes allowed for each section. Both parts of the math
test require more background knowledge and ability in basic math
skills. The test covers basic number operations, basic algebra
and geometry, along with analysis of charts and data.
Part of the math test requires use of a calculator to perform
number operations. The calculator used is the Casio fx-260, and
the official testing site will provide it for the test. But
since not all calculators are alike, you'll want to become
familiar with the fx-260 calculator functions required for the
test, and re-learn or sharpen your math skills so you'll be
ready. The writing test also has two parts. The first is a
multiple-choice test about the mechanics of English usage such
as sentence structure, verb tense, punctuation and grammar. The
second part requires an original written essay, and requires you
to make an explanation or present a point of view. The two-page
essay must address a given prompt.
Here's an example of a prompt:
'What is one career goal you hope to achieve in the next two
years? In your essay, identify your primary career goal and
explain how you plan to achieve it, using your experience,
background and knowledge to support your essay.'
Your essay scoring is based on essay organization, essay focus
to the prompt and how well you develop your ideas. The essay is
also measured on appropriate English mechanics such as grammar,
punctuation, your choice of words and sentence structure.
Timing for these tests is flexible. A total of 120 minutes is
allowed, with 75 minutes slotted for the 50 questions in part
one and 45 minutes slotted for the essay test. However, GED
candidates who finish the first part in less time can devote the
remaining time to the second part. Or, if you need more time for
the first section and less for the second, you can use remaining
time from the essay and return to the multiple-choice section of
the writing test.
Understanding the GED Test Score: A Basic Primer
The standard scores for the GED tests range from a minimum of
200 to a maximum of 800 on each test. To pass, 60% is required.
This means you'll want to score at least 410 on each GED test to
pass it, and achieve an overall score of 450 for the five-test
battery. The score for any single test can't be less than 410.
But if some scores are lower, other GED tests need to be well
above 410 so that the scores for all five GED tests average out
to a minimum of 450.
Once you're ready, you'll take the GED test at an official test
center. The centers are located in all major cities across the
U.S. and Canada. Even though some companies claim to offer the
GED Test or a GED online, it's not possible. The GED is not
given online, only at official test centers. International
testing is also available. To find your test site center, and a
list of official GED contacts, visit:
-- The American Council on Education, the national
administrative agency for the GED, provides free information
online about testing, official test sites, GED scores, example
test questions and GED transcripts.
-- PassGED is an online community with free resources and
support for GED students, instructors and programs sponsored by
businesses, nonprofits and government. Free information and
resources include test advice, study guides, student support,
financial aid and an online message board for students and
teachers. The website address is http://www.passGED.com/.
-- PBS television station broadcasts GED courses and offers some
free courses. Check your local listings for broadcast times.