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.
These subtests are in the four subject areas of 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.
Since early 2014, there are two alternative testing methods available in the U.S., the TASC, and the HiSET. Whereas the GED test is only offered on a computer are the HiSET and the TASC 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 on reading, and one on writing. Many online publishers offer free prep for these exams. Best GED Classes offers free practice tests and online GED prep classes. Dream Career offers courses and practice tests for HiSET students.
The tests are administered at designated locations that are certified as Official GED, HiSET, TASC 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 or on paper (not the GED which is totally computerized), but the test taker must physically travel to the testing center and take the tests in person.
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 which vary by state or province. States in the U.S. impose substantially variant 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 they are taking the tests in.
A standard cost for administration of the GED test is charged to testing centers, and this cost is $120 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). The price to take the tests can be as low as $45 (Maryland), or the full $120.
There are also states where the cost of the GED test is higher (e.g. $140 in California, $160 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. The HiSET and TASC are not “modular” and are cheaper than the GED test.
Chestang, Nicole M. “Pricing for the New GED Test (2014).” (n.d.): n. pag. GED Testing Service, 11 May 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2016. <http:/www.gedtestingservice.com/uploads/files/8696ab2276b3cfe871a43f59f1ebe568.pdf>.
Mitchell, Robert, and Jeri W. Bayer. McGraw-Hill’s GED. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.
Rockowitz, Murray Et. Al. GED High School Equivalence Exam 2007. New York: Barron’s, 2004.