GED Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a GED?
A. The initials GED stand for General Educational Development. The GED was created in 1942 during World War II. Originally, it was meant to allow veterans to quickly get a credential that would be equivalent to a high school diploma so that they could go on to college. Later, it was available to all adults. The GED Test measures how well someone has mastered the skills and general knowledge that are acquired in a four-year high school education. The test does not expect someone to remember numerous details, definitions, or facts. You are expected to demonstrate the ability to think about a variety of issues. You are tested on knowledge and skills you have acquired from life experiences, radio, television, books, newspapers, consumer products, and advertising. Therefore, one should not be at a disadvantage if he/she has been out of school for a period of time. The GED Test has changed periodically to keep up with the knowledge and skills needed in our society. The last change was in January 2002. The changes reflect what a high school graduate in 2002 knows and can do. You must be able to read and understand newspapers, forms, and letters. You must also have the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide by hand. Developing strong reading and thinking skills are the keys to succeeding on these tests. Regular study is also needed to earn your GED. For a listing of classes in your area, see box on reverse for contact information.

Q.What subjects are included on the GED Test?
A.There are 5 subjects.

LANGUAGE ARTS, WRITING: This is a two part test.
Part I - You will read passages of several sentences or real-life documents like resumes, reports, e-mails. In each you will be asked to correct grammar, sentence construction, spelling or other common writing mistakes. The test has 50 multiple-choice questions and is 75 minutes long.
Part II - You will write an essay (approximately 250 words suggested) on a topic familiar to most adults. The topic will be given to you at the start of the test and you will have 45 minutes to write your essay. The score for the Language Arts, Writing test is a combination of the score from Part I and the score from Part II.

SOCIAL STUDIES: In this test you will answer Economics, Geography, Civics and Government, and United States and World History questions. You will also interpret maps, charts, political cartoons, speeches, articles, and photographs. Questions will also come from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and landmark Supreme Court decisions. The test has 50 multiple-choice questions and is 70 minutes long.

SCIENCE: In this test you will answer Life Science, Earth and Space Science and Physical Science questions. You will be asked questions requiring critical thinking and problem solving skills. The test has 50 multiple-choice questions and is 80 minutes long.

LANGUAGE ARTS, READING: In this test you will read stories, essays, plays, poetry, fiction, and possibly a review of a movie or television show. You may be asked to restate, summarize, or explain what you have read. You could also be asked to apply what you have read to another situation. The test has 40 multiple-choice questions and is 65 minutes long.

MATH: This is a two part test.
Part I - This part allows the use of a Casio FX-260 Solar calculator.
Part II - This part does not allow the use of a calculator.
A basic knowledge of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is required. Questions relating to Geometry, Algebra, data analysis, number operations, and problem solving will be included in both parts. In addition to multiple-choice answers, this test includes some "grid" type answer formats. The test has 50 multiple-choice questions and is 90 minutes long.
Q.Who can take the GED Test?
A. Any adult age 18 or over. Under age 18 in special cases with permission from the school system.

Q.How much does the test cost?
A. For first time test-takers the fee is $35 for all five tests. After the first test, the cost is $7 per test if you need to retake them.

Q.Are there any other requirements?
A. You need to wait a minimum of 60 days before you can re-take the test. You can only test 3 times per year.

Q.How long will it take me to earn a GED?
A.Since everyone is different, there is no answer to this question. A lot depends on how long you stayed in school, your reading and math levels, your ability to think critically, and your willingness to study. We do know that people who study regularly, follow directions, and work hard may earn their GED more quickly than those who do not.

Q.What kind of scores do I need to earn my GED?
A.In Virginia, you need a minimum of 410 on each individual test and a total score of 2,250.

Q.How many tests can I take at one time?
A.You must take all five GED Tests at once the first time you test. After that, when you retest, you may choose from 1 to 5 tests, depending upon your scores.

Q.When will I know my scores?
A.You will be notified by mail. It can take several weeks.
Q.How do I know if I am ready to take a test?
A. You are ready to take a test if you have scored above 2,250 on an Official GED Practice Test. However, it is a good idea to score a little bit more than you need on a practice test before you take the official test. If you are not sure if you're ready to take a test, ask your teacher and she will help you decide.


Albemarle County Schools Adult Education program offers free day and evening GED preparation classes (no registration required.) The Official GED Practice Test, individualized instruction, counseling and evaluation. Students may be eligible to take the GED test at no cost to them. Open to students from throughout Central Virginia.

Visit www.k12albemarle.org/adult or call 434.296.3872 ext.6 for class schedules and more information about our program.

Charlottesville City Schools Adult Education offers the following services:

Questions? Phone: (434) 245-2817.

Adult Learning Center
Charlottesville City Schools
1000 Preston Ave, Suite D
Charlottesville, VA 22903

fax: 245-2601
E-mail: Susan.Erno@ccs.k12.va.us

Web sites: Charlottesville-esl.org and avenue.org/adulted/classes.html.

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