Getting a GED: Overview, Preparation, and Costs


What is the GED?

The GED is a group of five subject tests that are taken by American and Canadian citizens who have not obtained their high school diploma. The GED test is equivalent to a high school diploma. Many refer to the GED as GED education, but it is more correctly called general educational development or GED.

The five subjects include language arts/writing, social studies, science, language arts/reading, and mathematics.

The GED is available in English, Spanish (GED en espanol), and French. It’s also available in many forms: large print, audiocassette, and braille (for the visually impaired). Depending on the testing center, you may have to take all five tests in one day, or they may be spread out over two or more days.

Why would I need a GED?

A GED allows entry into postsecondary education whether it is trade school, college, private school, or university. Unfortunately, many people do not have a high school diploma because they have immigrated to the states, have left high school early, are unable to pass the required courses, need to leave school to work, for personal reasons, or they may want to fast track to college.

How can I prepare for the GED or enroll in GED programs?

There are many free GED practice tests that are available online, or at your local testing center. Since many test-takers write the GED in adult learning centers, this is a prime place to get more information and assistance. GED practice tests are a great way to study for the actual test.

Where can I take the GED?

The GED is available at 3,200 testing centers throughout the United States and Canada, and is often taken in adult education centers, public schools, or community colleges.  Although most tests are taken in person in a controlled testing environment, there are some free GED online tests. Make sure that the postsecondary school you hope to get into permits online GED test scores.

Will it cost me any money?

The cost to take the GED varies depending on the state. To get a better idea of how much it will cost you to write the test, contact your local testing center for more information.  Some states do not charge a fee for the test, others charge depending on the test-taker’s age, while others charge a specified fee.