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GED® Test Study Guide

A Complete Lesson Plan For Passing the General Educational Development Test


The GED® test, or the General Educational Development Test, is designed to reflect the educational level of a twelfth grade student who is expected to earn his or her high school diploma. Passing this exam earns you a certificate that the vast majority of colleges, training schools, and employers in the nation recognize to be the equivalent of a high school diploma. Over one million people take the GED® exam every year worldwide, and of these, about 70% pass. The average age of a GED® test-taker is over 24 (over 30 in Canada) and almost three-fourths of test-takers are over the age 19, proving that it is never too late to receive the recognition and benefits of GED® certification. 

So Why Choose to Take the GED® exam?
The GED® credential is highly regarded by both colleges and employers.  In fact, the American Council on GED® testing reports that nearly all employers throughout the nation are prepared to offer the same benefits, wages, and opportunities for advancement to GED® graduates as they are to regular high school graduates.

Students and adults choose to take the GED® test for a variety of reasons and at different stages of their lives. Many people make the decision to take the GED® exam to improve their resumes and consequently the likelihood of obtaining good employment. Others take the test to further their current careers, to qualify for military service, or to apply for college. One of the authors of this course took her GED® test and went on to achieve straight A's in college, graduating with a 4.0! It is estimated that approximately two-thirds of people who choose to take the GED® test do so to work towards degrees, whether they be in trade, business, or technical education. A recent study showed that the majority of GED® graduates saw improvements in their employment status, financial success and even in their psychological and physical health after passing the exam!

The questions on the GED® exam are meant to assess your ability to communicate effectively, process information, and to employ critical thinking. There is a marked emphasis on questions that prepare you for entering further education or for entering a new work environment. As a result, a lot of your experience outside the classroom will come in handy in taking the test — informal learning through employment and other forms of training may help you in passing the exam’s five different sections.
The following lessons are meant to help you succeed in the exam by familiarizing you with the test’s basic format and highlighting the essential material that will be tested. In addition, this study guide will introduce you to some simple strategies and test-taking tips that can drastically improve your overall score. These will help you to get through questions, even when you have no idea what the answer should be, show you how to pace yourself, and teach you how to avoid common mistakes that many GED® test-takers make. Sample test questions and practice exams are included — it is very important that you utilize these questions in your preparation. Taking practice exams will get you used to the time constraints and the order of the actual exam, and help you to assess how much more preparation you may need. Do your best with these - read through the lessons, and do your best!


Q:  Am I able to take the GED® test more than once if I do not pass the first time?
A: The answer is yes, though certain states require that you wait a period of time before re-taking the test. To be certain about if you have to wait and how long the waiting period might be, you can contact your local GED® Testing Center for more information.

Q:  When and where is the GED® test administered?
A:  The exams are administered throughout the year at designated locations nationwide. You can generally find this information at local high schools or adult schools, GED® Testing Centers, or on the internet at, a web-site that is a good resource for all information regarding the GED® test.

Q:  Who administers the GED® exam?
A: The test is administered by the General Educational Development Testing Service of the American Council on Education (ACE). 

Q:  What percentage of questions do I need to answer correctly to pass the exam?
A: Generally, you need to answer an average of 50-60% of the questions correctly in each section to pass. This percentage varies from state to state.

Q:  Does the test have to be taken all at once or can I take it in sections?
A: Every state has its own rules regarding the exam. In some states, you will be required to take the entire exam in one day. In other states, the laws are more flexible and you can take the individual sections bit by bit, as you feel ready for them. Some states require that you take the exam over a two-day period. Contact ACE to find out about your own state’s laws.

Q: What will happen if you pass some sections of the GED® exam but not the others?
A: Most states require you to retake only the sections that you did not pass the first time. However, some states encourage you to retake the entire test. This is because only your best scores are kept. When you take the test again, you will be given a completely different set of questions and your results could improve.

Q:  Is there any reason why I should try and do better than just pass the GED® test? Will higher scores in certain sections be an advantage?
A: This completely depends on your goals. While some colleges do offer scholarships for those with high GED® test scores, most do not. Regardless of whether you barely pass or get a perfect score, you still pass the exam. As a general rule, it is a good idea to study enough so that you will pass the GED® exam, but you should not focus on trying to answer every single question correctly, as that may be an unrealistic goal.

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