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College 101

Checklist: Steps for Taking the GED
Article Type: Checklist

Wanting to take the GED? Follow these steps to make sure you do it right.

 First determine that you’re eligible according to the GED standards. The GED is available to folks over the age of 16 who aren’t attending (or haven’t graduated from) high school.

  Next, figure out if your state has any additional requirements or restrictions on eligibility. If you’re 10 and already dreading high school, sorry—you’re going to have to wait. If you need to contact the GED testing representative for your state, you can find their information here.

  Now you need to determine if you have what it takes to pass the exam. Having the highest score in Grand Theft Auto IV amongst your buddies doesn’t qualify. Passing means you score better than 40% of graduating high school seniors (meaning you need a total score of at least 2250 out of 4000; if you’re in that 40 percent you can do the math). Take a practice test to see how you may do here

  If your score doesn’t meet the mark on your practice test, you’re going to want to do some prep work—like studying because even if you aren’t attending high school, chances are you’ll need to study. Check out Tasty Bits: Get Prepared for the GED.

  Once you’re ready to take the exam, you’ll need to find a test center. There are thousands of them in North America, so one should be close by.  Search by zip code to find a testing center here.

  Once you find a testing center, you’ll need to register to test. Keep in mind that, depending on the state and test center, there may be a charge of up to 150 bucks to take the test (although it may be free). Some test centers will use paper and pencil tests, some will use computers, some will provide an abacus, some won’t. So if you have a preference, be sure to register at the right place.

"Maybe there’s some kind of abacus app you can download to your iPhone…"


  Double-check your state’s rules for taking the test so you don’t break one of ‘em here.

  Time to test! First of all, show up on time and prepared. Get out of your jammies, wash your face, and set your alarm. The test will take right around seven hours to finish, but some centers will have you do so over different days, so make sure you know what to expect. Bring a snack.

  You testing center will have a transcript of your scores (some will have them instantaneously, but some will take a few weeks). If you want to see what your scores mean, you can find a breakdown here.

  Now you can use your scores. Many colleges and employers look at a GED as equivalent to a high school diploma. You’re even eligible for the same financial aid as if you graduated from high school. 

Once you complete this checklist, treat yourself to a yay-me-I-took-the-GED frozen yogurt.

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