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Overview Of General Educational Development Tests

Jun 6, 2008
For those that either drop out of or cannot complete high school, there is another option available. Students can earn their GED, officially defined as "General Educational Development", by passing five tests issued by the American Council on Education. The GED is often informally referred to as the General Equivalency Diploma, because those who pass the GED tests are considered to have educational skills equivalent to that of a high school graduate.

The GED credential was initially designed to help World War II soldiers returning home get civilian jobs. Many soldiers had left to fight in the war before completing high school, so when they came back, they needed some kind of high school equivalencey certification to find work. Subsequently, the United States Armed Forces appealed to the American Council on Education to design such a certification, and the GED was born.

To be eligible for the GED tests, one must not already have a high school diploma. Taking the GED tests after already graduating from high school would serve no purpose, since the GED is legally equivalent to a high school diploma, not above it.

Those who are currently enrolled in high school are unable to take the exam, since it is assumed that they will eventually graduate and it is against the rules for someone to have a GED and regular diploma. The last stipulation is that you must be eighteen years of age or older to participate in testing, although in some cases, seventeen year olds are allowed.

There are currently five parts to the overall GED test: Social Studies, Science, Math, Reading, and Writing. The Writing section has two parts, the first being an assessment of organizational and mechanics skills, and the second requiring the participant to construct an essay. The Social Studies section covers a variety of topics, including government, economics, general history, and geography. Science encompasses many areas as well, such as earth, space, life, and physical (physics) sciences.

Most of the questions in this part are accompanied by a graphic of some sort. The Reading section tests mostly for reading comprehension, and includes both fiction and nonfiction passages. Math, along with writing, has two parts, one which uses a calculator and another which does not. Topics covered in math include basic algebra and number operations, functions, geometry, statistics, and probability.

The GED test is extremely rigid and strict, much like the SAT, as they are both incredibly important assessments. Thousands of testing centers exist to administer the GED. Those wishing to take the GED tests must follow specific rules. Registration requirements for the GED vary by district, but most include some level of fees, identify verification, and pre-exam practice tests.

Despite the fact that the GED is officially equivalent to a high school diploma, many colleges and employers do not see it that way. In fact, some colleges do not even accept applicants who have a GED. This is because the majority of people who attain a GED are high school dropouts, and are seen as lazy or incompetent.

For certain people, however, the GED is their only option, as immigrants and home schooled students are unable to obtain a traditional high school diploma. There are many advocates currently working to revise or improve the image of the GED, in an attempt to make the certification more acceptable among employers and colleges.
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Take your GED test by visiting GED registration information resources.
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