All About the GED Test General Education Diploma
What is the GED Test Preparation

GED Instruction

The General Educational Development (GED) Test is a high school equivalency exam. Students may prepare to take the test by participating in general classroom instruction, small group work, individualized instruction, computer-assisted instruction, and/or self-paced independent work.

Participant information:

  • Adults who are 16 years of age or older and who do not have a high school diploma may prepare to take the GED Test at any Peninsula College location.
  • Students who are 16-18 years of age must have a formal release from compulsory high school education.
  • High school students who are 16-20 years of age may also attend classes upon referral from an area high school.
  • Tests are administered by the college at various times throughout the year at several locations in the college district.
  • Students can prepare to take all or some of the five parts of the GED Test: Language Arts & Writing, Social Science, Science, Language Arts & Reading, and Mathematics.
  • A certificate is awarded by the State of Washington upon successful completion of the exam.

General Educational Development Test:

The Test of General Educational Development, more commonly known as the GED Test, is administered by the Adult and Community Education Program of the Alabama State Department of Education. The test, which actually is a battery of tests owned and developed by the American Council on Education’s GED Testing Service in Washington, D.C. was first developed in 1942 to provide returning World War II veterans an opportunity to earn a high school credential. For the past 57 years, the test has measured the learning outcomes and concepts of a four-year program of high school education in the core content areas of the United States.
In Alabama, those who earn satisfactory scores on the GED Test receive a certificate of high school equivalency, which is recognized nationwide by employers, and institutions of higher learning. More than 750,000 people take the test annually, and since the GED Testing Service began tracking statistics in 1971, over 10 million people across the U.S. and its territories, and Canada have earned their equivalency certificates.

In 1998, 8,065 Alabamians met the state scoring requirements to receive a certificate.

Test Description and Purpose
The GED Test is actually a set of five tests that measure the major skills considered to be the outcome of a high school education. In Alabama, those receiving the Certificate of High School Equivalency have demonstrated higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a certain level of reading and writing skills by passing a rigorous seven-and-a-half-hour battery of tests. These tests measure the ability to understand and apply information; evaluate, analyze, and draw conclusions; solve problems; and express ideas and opinions in writing.

Important Information: 2002 Series Test
The GED 2002 series test is currently being administered and replaces the series test that has been administered since 1988. The 2002 series continues to reflect the major and lasting outcomes of a four-year high school program of study. The last day GED candidates could be administered the 1988 series test was December 21, 2001. Scores achieved on any previous test series (1942, 1978, and/or 1988) shall not be combined with scores that may be achieved on the GED 2002 series.

Test Reliability and Validity
The GED Testing Service relies on a national panel of content experts and curriculum specialists to identify the skills and knowledge required of high school seniors for graduation. Experienced high school and adult educators develop test questions based on those needs. These questions are reviewed many times by other educators, content experts, and test development specialists to help ensure that the items measure what they are intended to measure (validity), perform consistently (reliability), and are free from bias. Test items that do not meet all of these criteria are deleted.

Special Accommadations in Testing
Because of physical, psychological, or learning disabilities, some candidates may not have the ability or test-taking skills required to complete the tests under standard conditions. In such instances, the chief examiner will arrange to test the candidate under special conditions and/or with special editions of the test at no additional charge to the examinee. Special editions of the test are available in Braille and large print, or on audiocassette. French and Spanish versions of the test are also available. Special accommodations may include extra time, a private room, frequent breaks, an interpreter, a scribe, a computer, or a calculator.

The Standard
To earn the Certificate of High School Equivalency, an examinee must earn a standard score of at least 400 on each of the five tests AND at least an average standard score of 450 on the entire test. These scores are not based on a 100-point scale. GED test scores are reported in two ways: Standard Scores and Percentile Rankings. The Standard Series on all five tests range from 200 to 800. A standard score of 500, for example, represents the average performance of graduating high school seniors used in the norming process. The percentile ranks may be used to compare an individual’s score to those of a nationally representative sample of graduating high school seniors. An examinee who earned a percentile ranking of 62 in math, for example, has done as well or better than 62 percent of graduating high school seniors in math. Examinees may retake the entire test or portions of the test if they do not achieve a satisfactory score.

Eligibility Criteria
GED examinees must be at least 18 years of age, not have graduated from high school, and must not be enrolled in school. Examinees must be a resident of Alabama for at least 30 consecutive days, and/or Alabama is their home state, prior to completing and application for testing.
Seventeen-year-olds who have been withdrawn from high school for 12 consecutive months must submit a special form to take the test. The GED Form E-2, supplemental information request, must be signed by the local county or city superintendent of education or private school headmaster where the individual last attended. Seventeen-year-olds who have not been withdrawn from high school for 12 consecutive months must submit the GED Form E-2 and letters of approval from their parent(s) or guardian(s) and local county or city superintendent of education or private school headmaster.
Individuals who already have earned a certificate of equivalency may take the GED Test again to raise their scores to enter an institution of higher learning or to qualify for employment or promotion.

Cost Effectiveness
Unlike most other programs, Alabama’s GED Testing Program pays for itself by generating its own revenues. Examinees pay $50 to take the entire battery of tests and $10 to re-take individual tests. Certificate holders may obtain duplicate certificates and additional copies of transcripts for $10.

The Certificate of High School Equivalency is accepted by 95 percent of college and universities throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the GED graduates indicate that they want to go on to higher education, and studies show that they perform as well at that level as traditional high school graduates taking similar courses and maintaining similar grade-point averages and completion rates.

GED graduates earn more than high school dropouts, and nationally, on average, their earnings in the first year increase by more than $2,000 over what they earned as dropouts. Because the average age of GED graduates is 25, they do not immediately close the earnings gap with high school graduates, but a definite economic benefit results from having received a Certificate of High School Equivalency.

GED graduates are motivated, capable, skilled adults who have demonstrated their academic ability and are helping to strengthen the country’s work force.


1. When do you give the GED test? The GED test is usually given once a month.

2. Where do you give the GED test? The test is given in the Learning Center or the Auditorium at the Adult School.

3. How much does it cost? The cost of the test, including the GED certificate, is $110.

4. Are there any requirements for taking the test? A student may take the GED test if he/she meets one of the following requirements:

  • over the age of 18
  • within 60 days of his/her 18th birthday
  • is or would be a member of a high school class due to graduate within 60 days
  • presents a letter from an armed services recruiter

5. Where do I register? You must register for the test in the main office at the Adult School. You cannot register for the GED test over the phone.

6. When should I register? You need to pre-register for the GED test. That means you need to sign up sometime prior to the day of the actual test. You may register anytime Monday through Thursday 8:00am – 9:00pm and Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm, as long as it is by 3:00 p.m. the Thursday before the test and there is still space available.

7. What do I need to do to register? You will need to fill out a registration form, provide a picture I.D. and pay the test fee. (NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN) You will be required to show the same picture I.D. on the day of the test.



1. What types of subjects will I be tested on? The GED test consists of five examinations in the areas of reading, writing skills, social studies, science, and mathematics.

2. How long will the test take? You are allowed approximately 7½ hours to take the test.

3. What if I don’t pass any of the examinations the first time? A student who fails the GED is allowed to take the test again. However, the student will have to register and pay for each subsequent test. It is also expected that some form of remedial study will occur prior to the student’s taking the test again. A student cannot take a GED test more than a total of three times per year.

4. What if I pass some test sections but not all of them? A student only has to retake those test sections, which he/she did not pass. The student pays $25 for each section that he/she retakes.

5. When will I get the results of my test? You will receive your test results approximately 4 weeks after the test date.

6. How will I find out the results of my test? The results will be mailed to the address you provide on your application.