Understanding the GED Test

If you're planning to take the GED Test soon, you'll want to know how the test works and what the test measures since test knowledge is a good way to outline a course of study and improve your score. You'll also need a basic understanding of the GED test score and what score you'll need to earn your GED, the common term for the General Education Development credential. Understanding the GED Test The GED Test is actually a series of five tests, a 7.5-hour timed exam.

The test series includes science, social studies, reading or language arts, writing and math. The individual tests in the series can be taken at different times. Once you pass an individual exam, you don't have to take it again. While most people have more questions or concerns about the math and writing tests, here's a review of all the tests in the five-part GED test series. For the science, social studies and reading tests, questions are designed to determine your ability to understand material, and then apply that understanding or knowledge by selecting the best answer among five multiple choice options.

You'll need to read and understand short passages of information and then make inferences, evaluations and deductions to determine correct answers. The ability to understand information and apply reasoning skills are valuable for these tests. These abilities, along with common sense and judgment, are more important than memory, or the knowledge you remember from a basic skills class or high school.

The math test is also a multiple-choice test. The test is divided into two parts; there are 25 questions on each part, with 45 minutes allowed for each section. Both parts of the math test require more background knowledge and ability in basic math skills. The test covers basic number operations, basic algebra and geometry, along with analysis of charts and data.

Part of the math test requires use of a calculator to perform number operations. The calculator used is the Casio fx-260, and the official testing site will provide it for the test. But since not all calculators are alike, you'll want to become familiar with the fx-260 calculator functions required for the test, and re-learn or sharpen your math skills so you'll be ready. The writing test also has two parts. The first is a multiple-choice test about the mechanics of English usage such as sentence structure, verb tense, punctuation and grammar. The second part requires an original written essay, and requires you to make an explanation or present a point of view.

The two-page essay must address a given prompt. Here's an example of a prompt: 'What is one career goal you hope to achieve in the next two years? In your essay, identify your primary career goal and explain how you plan to achieve it, using your experience, background and knowledge to support your essay.' Your essay scoring is based on essay organization, essay focus to the prompt and how well you develop your ideas. The essay is also measured on appropriate English mechanics such as grammar, punctuation, your choice of words and sentence structure. Timing for these tests is flexible.

A total of 120 minutes is allowed, with 75 minutes slotted for the 50 questions in part one and 45 minutes slotted for the essay test. However, GED candidates who finish the first part in less time can devote the remaining time to the second part. Or, if you need more time for the first section and less for the second, you can use remaining time from the essay and return to the multiple-choice section of the writing test. Understanding the GED Test Score: A Basic Primer The standard scores for the GED tests range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 800 on each test. To pass, 60% is required. This means you'll want to score at least 410 on each GED test to pass it, and achieve an overall score of 450 for the five-test battery.

The score for any single test can't be less than 410. But if some scores are lower, other GED tests need to be well above 410 so that the scores for all five GED tests average out to a minimum of 450. Once you're ready, you'll take the GED test at an official test center.

The centers are located in all major cities across the U.S. and Canada. Even though some companies claim to offer the GED Test or a GED online, it's not possible. The GED is not given online, only at official test centers.

International testing is also available. To find your test site center, and a list of official GED contacts, visit: http://www.passged.com/test_state.php#1/.

Additional Resources -- The American Council on Education, the national administrative agency for the GED, provides free information online about testing, official test sites, GED scores, example test questions and GED transcripts. -- PassGED is an online community with free resources and support for GED students, instructors and programs sponsored by businesses, nonprofits and government. Free information and resources include test advice, study guides, student support, financial aid and an online message board for students and teachers. The website address is http://www.passGED.com/.

-- PBS television station broadcasts GED courses and offers some free courses. Check your local listings for broadcast times. .

By: Leonard Williams

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