If you didn't complete your high school education the first time around, there's still a chance for you to earn an equivalent diploma known as a GED, or General Educational Development. In order to get a GED, you must pass a series of five standardized tests (Social Studies, Science, Math, Language Arts - Reading, and Language Arts - Writing) containing questions and problems that graduating high school seniors would theoretically be able to answer or solve. To be eligible to take the tests, you must not currently be enrolled in high school, must never have graduated from high school, and must be at least 18 years old (16 in some states).
Here are some more tips about how to get a GED.
- Contact your local testing center and request an information packet. You can find a state-by-state listing of phone numbers and email addresses for administrators on the official GED website at http://www.gedtest.org. The packet you receive will contain more detailed information about the structure of the tests, as well as the way in which scores are determined and the minimum scores you need in order to pass. This will help give you a better idea of what to expect on test day.
- Enroll in a preparation course online or buy a study guide. Unless you dropped out of high school relatively recently, there's a good chance that your academic skills are a bit rusty. A prep course or study guide will help you develop the skills you need in order to pass the test. You'll also learn generaltest-taking tips, which could come in handy if you find yourself stuck on a particular section or question.
- Take a practice test. Practice tests are by far the best way to measure your readiness to sit for the real exam. If you take a preparation course, a practice test is likely included as part of the program. Many study guides also contain sample tests and answer keys for you to use. In the event that you don't have access to a sample test through either of these avenues, you can find a free online version at http://www.gedpractice.com.
- Sign up to take the tests at your local testing center. GED tests are given frequently throughout the year, so you will have a great deal of flexibility in this respect. Since the total time required to complete all five tests is a bit over seven hours, most people opt to take different sections on different days. Once you take a specific section of the test, your score will be valid for three years. That means you have to finish the other sections within that time frame; otherwise you will have to start over again. Unfortunately, you cannot take your test online at home.
- Wait for your test results. It takes approximately two to three weeks to get your scores back, but this could vary depending on how many people took the exam at the same time you did. If you passed with at least a 60 percent overall score, congratulations! You now have the equivalent of a high school diploma and will be able to get better jobs, earn more money, or even go on to college. If you didn't pass, don't give up. You can take the test up to three times in a single calendar year, and the next time you take it, you'll know exactly what to expect.