The GED test consists of 4 subject tests: Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts. To get a GED diploma, students must get a passing score of at least 145 points on each subject test.
Students that reached the GED passing score on all four subtests demonstrated mastering skills and knowledge at a level that compares to that of graduating high school seniors. Students can prepare for the GED test online using online GED programs such as Onsego or in-person classes.
The GED test is delivered entirely in a computer-based format and test-takers are not required to take the four tests all at once. The exams are modular meaning they are independent exams that can be taken one at a time.
The GED exam is available in both the English and Spanish languages and the Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) sub-exam includes an Extended Response question, the GED Essay.
What’s on the GED Language Arts subtest
The GED Reasoning through Language Arts sub-exam measures to what extent a test-taker is able to
- write clearly, read closely, write clearly, understand, and edit written English or Spanish;
- read, understand, make inferences, interpret, and answer a number of questions based on a given text;
- use evidence from a text that supports an argument;
- understand the basic English or Spanish skills for success in college or in the job market.
The GED Language Arts sub-exam is 150 minutes long and includes a 10-minute break. The questions come in several formats including drop-down, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, and technology-enhanced question types.
This subtest also includes writing an essay, or GED Extended Response. This section is 45 minutes in length. The stimulus passages in this subtest are 75 percent informational and 25 percent literary. The provided passages may range from 400 to 900 words and vary in complexity and include texts at the career-readiness or college-readiness level. The vocabulary used in the passages includes words that often appear in a broad range of academic subjects and disciplines.
To learn more about how to apply for college with a GED, visit this page that’s full of useful advice on the process and what you should be aware of.
What’s on the GED Math subtest
The GED Mathematical Reasoning sub-exam measures to what extent a test-taker is able to
- solve algebraic problems – this covers 55 percent of the GED Math sub-exam;
- solve quantitative problems – this covers 45 percent of the GED Math sub-exam.
The GED Mathematics sub-exam is 115 minutes long and consists of two parts. On the first part, the use of a calculator is not allowed. This first section includes five questions. In the second part, test-takers are allowed to use a calculator but it can only be the Texas Instruments TI-30XS to answer the remaining questions in part two.
The GED Mat sub-exam comes with questions in various formats, including drop-down, multiple-choice, and a number of technology-enhanced question types. Test-takers can use a hand-held calculator but there’s also an on-screen version available that works identical to the hand-held device. Students that take the GED exam online can only use the on-screen calculator.
In the GED testing center, or on-screen for online test-takers, a GED calculator guide and a formula sheet will be provided. For students that know that math poses a real problem for them, Onsego has designed a great GED Calculator Course that will teach how to get a passing score for math by understanding how to use the TI-30XS effectively.
What’s on the GED Science subtest
The GED Science sub-exam measures to what extent test takers can use their scientific reasoning skills to
- understand, write, and read scientific texts – this covers 30 percent of the GED Science test;
- understand Science concepts – this covers 40 percent of the GED Science test;
- understand and apply Mathematical reasoning in Science – this section covers 30 percent of the GED Science test;
- apply Science skills and concepts to real-world situations.
The GED Science sub-exam is 90 minutes long and does not include a break. The exam covers the following field: Life Science (40 percent); Physical Science (40 percent); Earth & Space Science (20 percent).
The exam comes with a variety of question types that include fill-in-the-blank, drop-down, multiple-choice, and various technology-enhanced question formats. Also here, test-takers can use a hand-held TI-30XS calculator or the on-screen provided version that works just like the hand-held device. Online test-takers can only use the on-screen, embedded version.
What’s on the GED Social Studies subtest
The GED Social Studies sub-exam measures to what extent test takers can use their skills and knowledge to
- understand, read, and write Social Studies texts and topics – this part covers 33 percent of the GED Social Studies test;
- understand and apply Social Studies topics and concepts – this part covers 33 percent of the GED Social Studies test;
- understand and apply Mathematical reasoning in Social Studies – this part covers the remaining 33 percent of the Social Studies test;
- apply Social Studies skills and concepts to real-world situations.
The GED Social Studies sub-exam is 70 minutes long and doesn’t include a break. This sub-exam covers the following four content fields: Government and Civics (50 percent); Geography (15 percent); Economics (15 percent); U.S. History (20 percent).
The GED Social Studies exam includes also drop-down, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, and several technology-enhanced questions. On the Social Studies exam as well, testers are allowed to use the Texas Instruments TI-30XS scientific calculator. To learn more about what the GED exam is and how to get your high school equivalency credential, check out this page.