Getting your GED can open the door to better job opportunities and a higher starting wage.
However, if you haven’t been in school for a while, the idea of returning to a learning environment may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can earn your GED or high school equivalency after just a few short months of preparation. Knowing how to start the GED process and what steps to follow will help you get this important credential sooner than you think.

Find Out State GED Requirements

Requirements for obtaining a GED vary from state to state. The best way to find out how to qualify to take and pass this state exam is to visit GED.com. Information about fees and retake policies are also available on the site. While some states allow those 16 years of age or older to test, some states require GED applicants to be 18 or even 19 years old, so be sure to check to make sure you are eligible to sit for the exam. Those who have been out of school for a year or less may qualify for specific exceptions.

As well, most states now allow you to take the GED exam entirely online.  You can take GED online classes at GED.com or with a number of other sites.  Prices may vary and some may even be advertised as free. These may not give you the most up to date study guide but still can provide GED practice tests and study guides.  This is great so you have the option to easily study on the go, such as on your commute to work, during lunch breaks or while relaxing on the couch.

Prepare for the Exam

The GED exam tests your knowledge in four areas: math, science, social studies and reasoning through language arts. Several different types of questions appear on the exam including multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer and more. In total, you should expect to complete all four sections of the exam within 7.5 hours. You can take one test at a time or all four on the same day if you’re comfortable doing so.

Taking practice exams, viewing tutorials or taking part in prep classes will familiarize you with the subject matter, helping you to concentrate on answering questions more quickly within the allotted time frame.

Those who study for the exam are more likely to pass. One of the easiest ways to study is to look online for GED study guides or GED sample tests.  As we said earlier, there is an abundance of online material and even apps to help you study on the go from your smartphone.

If you are not very good with self-guided study you can also look for GED night classes or other local GED classes nearby.  This will let you study in a more traditional school environment with a teacher or fellow students to help explain any concepts you may have questions on.  These in-classroom options are, most often times, free and many of the programs are run by local community centers, churches or community colleges. There are even some who will help you pay to take the GED once you pass the practice tests!

Register to Take the GED

You can register to take the GED test online at GED.com. All you need to do is create a free account and add some relevant personal information. Then you can log in at any time and select which subject(s) you want to test in and register for a testing date at a center near you.  If you want general information on where and when to expect the tests to be (so you know how long you have to study before exam day) you can also google “GED test near me” to find out.

The whole GED test costs anywhere between $80.00 and $170.00 depending on which state you will be testing in.  Each state has a different set price per test so, depending on how you wish to take the exam, you may not have to shell out the whole amount at once.  This is great if you are not quite where you want to be on a certain subject or if you need to take the exams one at a time to fit your budget. As well, this fee includes your scoring, diploma and transcript.  The only additional fees you may have to pay is a testing facilities fee depending on where you take the test. These fees are often below $25.00 but be sure to check with your testing center beforehand.

Exam Day

By exam day, you should feel sufficiently knowledgeable about all of the GED subjects and know what is expected of you during the exam. Testing materials will be provided for you at the exam center. However, you will not be allowed to bring any additional materials in with you during testing, and the use of cell phones is strictly prohibited. Calculator use policies vary from center to center, so be sure to inquire before exam day. Personal belongings can be stored in the provided storage space at each center.

Be sure to dress comfortably and bring a jacket (some testing centers can be cold).  Also be sure to bring a form of photo-ID with you as you will need this to sign in to take the test.  Finally, try not to drink too much water before going in for the test. There are no bathroom breaks permitted during the test – you can only use the restroom after each section of the test.  If you leave the testing room any time (for any reason) before the test is finished, your test will not be scored and you will have to reschedule to take the test again.

If you also believe you need certain accommodations for your test due to a disability be sure to designate this on your GED.com account.  You will be provided with a form where you can provide the kind of accommodation you are seeking (individual testing, extended test time, etc.) along with the documentation of why you need this accommodation.  Be sure to fill out this form well in advance of the test because it does take a few weeks to be processed. You want to make sure they have plenty of time to approve and document it so you can receive your accommodations on exam day.

Get Your Score

A passing score is defined as that between 145 and 164. If your GED score is within the 165 to 174 range, you are considered college-ready. Similarly, any GED results over 175 qualify as college-ready and makes you eligible for some college credit. You must pass all subject matter tests to receive your GED. However, you can retest individual subjects if necessary.

You will normally receive your scores the same day you take your test along with your diploma showing you have passed.  If you don’t receive these on the same day they should arrive to you within a week. Once you have your diploma you are ready to go!

Obtaining your GED is a great way to get a head start in your job search and get access higher earnings.  It will also open up doors to continuing education opportunities and the potential for higher earnings (even though you may have a job already, a GED may be the key to unlocking a promotion).  As well, it is something to be proud of because it’s not an easy test to pass. If it were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. Taking the time to study and test for the exam takes dedication and determination so you should be proud of your accomplishment in receiving your GED.

Now that you know how to get your GED, there’s nothing to stop you from achieving your goal and making the most of your potential