Although you don’t have to have been an excellent student in high school to enroll at a distance learning university, for the most part you have to have a diploma. If you are lacking that vital piece of paper, it may be time to obtain your G.E.D. “G.E.D.” actually stands for General Education Development tests, which are designed by the GED Testing Service.
There are 5 G.E.D. tests: Language Arts-Writing, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and Language Arts-Reading. Pass them, and you will receive a Certificate of High School Equivalency, which is what most people mean when they say G.E.D. Some have even construed G.E.D. to stand for “General Equivalency Diploma”. Whatever you call it, you will need one to move on in your degree-seeking career.
According to the GED Testing Service, the 5 sections are composed of:
LANGUAGE ARTS – WRITING
The language arts, writing content area is divided into two parts. The scores are combined and reported as a single score.
The first part contains 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:
- Organization (15%)
- Sentence structure (30%)
- Usage (30%)
- Mechanics (25%)
The second part consists of writing an essay about a familiar subject. You will have 45 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay. The essay topic will require you to present your opinion or explain your views about the assigned topic. Two trained readers will score your essay on the basis of the following features:
- Focused main points
- Clear organization
- Specific development of ideas
- Sentence structure control, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and spelling
Each reader will score your essay on a four-point scale, and the scores will be averaged to find your final score. If you earn a final score of less than two on the essay, you must retake language arts, writing, Part I and Part II.
The social studies content area is made up of 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:
- History (U.S. or Canada, 25%*; World, 15%)
- Geography (15%)
- Civics and government (25%)
- Economics (20%)
The mathematics content area contains 50 questions divided into two parts, and focuses on the following content areas:
- Number operations and number sense (20-30%)
- Measurement and geometry (20-30%)
- Data analysis, statistics, and probability (20-30%)
- Algebra, functions, and patterns (20-30%)
The science content area contains 50 multiple choice questions from the following content areas:
- Physical science (physics and chemistry, 35%)
- Life science (45%)
- Earth and space science (20%)
LANGUAGE ARTS – READING
The language arts, reading content area contains 40 multiple choice questions. Fictional literature constitutes 75 percent of each test and includes at least one selection from each of the following areas:
- Prose fiction before 1920
- Prose fiction between 1920 and 1960
- Prose fiction after 1960
Nonfiction constitutes 25 percent of each test and includes two selections of nonfiction prose from any two of the following areas:
- Nonfiction prose
- Visual and performing arts reviews
- Workplace and community documents
If you don’t feel ready to take the tests without a refresher course, there are free GED preparation sites online, including gedforfree.com. Oregon.gov has also compiled a list of free online GED preparation courses.