General Educational Development

The General Education Development test, more commonly known by the acronym GED® test, or colloquially as “the GED,” consists of a set of four standardized tests.

The four subject areas are Math (Mathematical Reasoning), Literacy (Reasoning through Language Arts), Science, and Social studies. Passing the tests certifies that the test taker has demonstrated American or Canadian academic skills at the high school graduation level.

From early 2014, there were two alternative high school equivalency (HSE) tests available in America: the TASC and the HiSET. Whereas the GED test is only offered on a computer, the HiSET and the TASC are offered in both a paper-based and a computer-based format. TASC and HiSET come with five tests, as their Literacy section has one test in reading and one in writing.

From 2021, the TASC test is no longer available. There are only two high school equivalency exams: GED and HiSET. The GED test remains the most popular HSE test.

GED Testing

The tests are administered at designated locations that are certified as Official GED Testing Centers. These testing sites are found in a variety of locations, including community colleges and public schools, as well as other educational centers.

Every center must offer the tests in a controlled environment with supervision to ensure the security of test administration. The tests must be taken on a computer, but the test taker must physically travel to the testing center and take the tests in person.

The GED passing score is 145 points for each of the four subtests.

From August 2020, GED testing online is possible as a proctored test as well. This type of testing is only available to people who pass the official practice test. Traditional testing in person is still possible without taking the practice test first.

Eligibility Standards

The standards for eligibility to take the tests vary based on where the test is being taken. The tests can only be taken if the taker is not enrolled in high school, has not graduated from high school, and is older than 16 years of age. However, there are additional regional requirements that vary by state or province.

States in the U.S. impose substantially different standards regarding eligibility, and many states require the test taker to be 17 years of age or older. Some states allow students to take the tests prior to turning 17 but often require parental approval. It is often required that test-takers be residents of the state or province in which they are taking the tests.


A standard cost for administration of the GED test is charged to testing centers, and this cost is $144 for the complete set of four tests. A standard portion of this is also allotted to pay the testing centers for test administration; this portion does not vary by region.

However, the actual cost to the test taker varies by region, based on what portion of the test the government of that state or province subsidizes (if any). Four states offer high school equivalency testing at no charge to state residents.

The price to take the tests can be as low as $45 (Maryland) or the full $144. There are also states where the cost of the GED test is higher (e.g. around $160 in California and around $180 in Georgia). In addition to public subsidies to reduce the cost of the tests, private scholarships are also readily available to help subsidize the cost of taking the tests.

The four tests are independent modules, meaning test takers can take one test at a time, and test results are valid for two years in most states. The HiSET is also “modular” and slightly cheaper than the GED test.

Works cited:

Chestang, Nicole M. “Pricing for the New GED Test (2014).” (n.d.): n. pag. GED Testing Service, 11 May 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Mitchell, Robert, and Jeri W. Bayer. McGraw-Hill’s GED. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.

Rockowitz, Murray Et. Al. GED High School Equivalency Exam 2007. New York: Barron’s, 2004. Print.