GED Overview

All About GED Prep - Online Help, Courses, Practice, and the Test


Once you've decided to get your GED, it can be difficult to figure out how to prepare. Our poll shows that most people searching for GED info are either looking for classes and study programs, or are taking practice tests and looking for a testing center. It sounds easy, but it isn't always.

State Requirements

In the U.S., every state has its own GED or high school equivalency requirements that can be difficult to locate on the state's government pages. Adult education is sometimes handled by the Department of Education, sometimes by the Department of Labor, and often by departments with names like Public Instruction or Workforce Education. Find your state's requirements in GED/High School Equivalency Programs in the United States.

Finding a Class or Program

Now that you know what's required by your state, how do you go about finding a class, either online or on campus, or some other kind of study program? Many of the state sites offer learning programs, sometimes called Adult Basic Education, or ABE. If your state’s classes weren't obvious on the GED/High School Equivalency page, search the site for ABE or adult education. State directories of schools offering adult education are often included on these pages.

If your state GED/High School Equivalency or ABE websites don't provide a directory of classes, try finding a school near you on America's Literacy Directory. This directory provides addresses, phone numbers, contacts, hours, maps, and other useful information.

Contact the school that matches your needs and ask about GED/High School Equivalency prep courses. They'll take it from there and help you achieve your goals.

Online Classes

If you can't find a convenient or appropriate school near you, what next? If you do well with self-study, an online course may work for you. Some, such as GED Board and, are free. These sites offer free study guides and practice tests that are very comprehensive. Check out the math and English courses at GED Board:

Others, such as the GED Academy and GED Online, charge tuition. Do your homework and make sure you understand what you're buying.

Remember that you cannot take the GED/High School Equivalency test online. This is very important. The new 2014 tests are computer-based, but not online. There is a difference. Do not let anyone charge you for taking the test online. The diploma they offer you is not valid. You must take your test at a certified testing center. These should be listed on your state's adult education website.

Study Guides

There are many GED/High School Equivalency study guides available at national book stores and in your local libraries, and some of these are probably available at your local independent book store as well. Ask at the counter if you're not sure where to find them. You can also order them online.

Compare prices and how each book is laid out. People learn in different ways. Choose the books that make you feel comfortable using them. This is your education.

Adult Learning Principles

Adults learn differently than children. Your study experience is going to be different from your memory of school as a child. Understanding adult learning principles will help you make the most of this new adventure you’re beginning.

Introduction to Adult Learning and Continuing Education

Practice Tests

When you're ready to take the GED/High School Equivalency test, there are practice tests available to help you find out how ready you really are. Some are available in book form from the same companies that publish the study guides. You may have seen them when you shopped for guides.

Others are available online. Following are just a few. Search for GED/High School Equivalency practice tests and choose a site that is easy for you to navigate. Some are free, and some have a small fee. Again, be sure you know what you're buying.

Test Prep Review
GED from Steck-Vaughn


Registering for the Real Test

If you need to, refer back to your state’s adult education website to locate the testing center closest to you. Tests are usually offered on certain days at specific times, and you'll need to contact the center to register in advance.

Effective January 1, 2014, states have three testing choices:

  1. GED Testing Service (partner in the past)
  2. HiSET Program, developed by ETS (Educational Testing Service)
  3. Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC, developed by McGraw Hill)

Info about the 2014 GED Test from GED Testing Service is below. Watch for info about the other two tests coming soon.

The GED Test from GED Testing Service

The new 2014 computer-based GED test from GED Testing Service has four parts:

  1. Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) (150 minutes)
  2. Mathematical Reasoning (90 minutes)
  3. Science (90 minutes)
  4. Social Studies (90 minutes)

Sample questions are available on the GED Testing Service site.

The test is available in English and Spanish, and you can take each part up to three times in a one-year period.

Calming Test Stress

No matter how hard you've studied, tests can be stressful. There are lots of ways to manage your anxiety, assuming you're prepared, of course, which is the first way to reduce test stress. Resist the urge to cram right up to test time. Your brain will function more clearly if you:

  • Arrive early and relaxed
  • Trust yourself
  • Take your time
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Answer the questions you know easily first, and then
  • Go back and work on the harder ones

Remember to breathe! Breathing deeply will keep you calm and relaxed.

Relieve study stress with 10 Ways to Relax.

Good Luck

Getting your GED/High School Equivalency certificate will be one of the most satisfying accomplishments of your life. Good luck to you. Enjoy the process, and let us know in the Continuing Education forum how you're doing.

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Your Citation
Peterson, Deb. "GED Overview." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Peterson, Deb. (2023, April 5). GED Overview. Retrieved from Peterson, Deb. "GED Overview." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).