Being competitive in today's workplace requires at least a high school education, and the General Education Development certificate - better known as the GED - is an equivalent certification earned by thousands of teenagers and adults each year. Earning a GED means passing a standardized test administered in locations across the country. More than 12 million Americans over the age of 15 hold GED certificates, which pave the way for those who want to enter the workforce or pursue secondary education goals at vocational schools and college campuses.
Earning a GED is an excellent decision for people who want to advance on their professional or academic paths. Many employers are as willing to hire someone with a GED as someone with a high school diploma, especially in jobs dependant on labor or vocational skills. In addition, many college admissions boards consider a GED certificate to be on par with standard high school credentials. The GED program was developed during World War II as a military entrance test for teenagers who hadn't finished high school. Obviously, the test has evolved over the years to reflect what students need to have learned by the time they finish the 12th grade.
A key strength of the GED program is how it opens doors for people who might otherwise be left behind for reasons beyond their control. Our education system is designed to guide students to earn diplomas during their teenage years before moving on to college or careers. However, life doesn't always follow this convenient script. For many reasons, thousands of teens are unable to finish high school along with their peers. A GED certificate can be earned at any time, allowing adults to take their GED tests whenever they're ready to do so. In addition, teens who are struggling academically or socially in high school may opt to earn GEDs early and move on.
Although GED certificates and high school diplomas reflect the same accumulation of knowledge, there are still perceived differences between the credentials. Some employers may be reluctant to hire a GED holder over others with standard diplomas, while competitive research universities may also refrain from accepting GED holders. However, earning a GED certainly opens doors both academically and professionally. People who have earned their GEDs should be competitive for most entry-level positions that don't require prior experience or college educations, and those pursuing higher education can eventually transfer into higher-tier universities.
Preparing for the GED test is extremely important for those who plan on taking it. The GED test is a highly regulated exam that takes several hours to complete, and it can't be taken lightly. People can retake the GED test if they fail, but tests can only be taken at certain times and in specific locations. The easiest way forward is to pass on the first time.
Online GED practice tests can get people ready for their big days. These tests are structured in the same manner as actual GED tests, and they're often interactive to point out mistakes along the way. In addition to containing the subject matter of the GED tests, these online practice exams also ask questions in the same way as the real thing. Some online GED test preparation courses also include forums, online chats and other instructional materials to help people get ready. Not everyone needs to enroll in GED prep courses, but these programs are often helpful for adults who've been out of the classroom for several months or years. Free GED tests found online can also be used for practice, although verifying the validity of free online practice tests is more difficult. Paid GED preparation services are much more likely to update their test materials with more current question structures and subject matters.
If online prep courses aren't your thing, you can also consider enrolling in GED practice courses at college campuses in your area. Unlike online practice tests, in-person GED prep courses provide the benefits of classmates and instructors to improve the learning process. In these classes, you can answer practice questions while getting immediate feedback on what you could do better or differently. Many people who would struggle in online classrooms tend to do better with in-person settings.
The GED is a time-intensive test covering the subjects of writing, natural science, math, social studies and reading. The time spent on each portion of the test varies by state. Generally, test takers have two hours for the writing portion, 90 minutes for math, 80 minutes for natural science, 70 minutes for social studies and 65 minutes for reading. Knowing how your test is administered can help you choose the GED practice course that most adequately prepares you for your exam.
Before taking the GED, check with your state's department of education to make sure you are eligible for the exam. Most states require test takers to be at least 16 years old while having proper identification, such as a driver's license or passport.
Roughly 40 percent of high school seniors fail the GED test on their first try. When retaking the test, only sections that weren't passed the first time need to be completed again. Different states may have limits on how many times people can take the test in one year, and certain states may also require testing fees for sections that must be repeated. A total of 2250 points are needed to pass the GED, and it's possible to pass each individual section without eclipsing the necessary total point requirement. If that's the case, then the test must be retaken. Low scores on test sections are thrown out, meaning people can never be harmed by taking the GED more than once.