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If you left high school without graduating, the GED Tests provide a way for you to earn your GED high school diploma. Getting your GED Diploma can make a big difference in your life.

The GED Tests ask questions about subjects covered in high school. The GED Tests are given in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, most Canadian provinces, and the Canadian territories. Each year, about one-half million people earn their GED Diplomas.

The GED Test is for everyone no matter if you speak English, Spanish, or French. It is also given in special large-print, audiocassette, and braille and also has adaptive testing for adults with disabilities.

A GED Diploma documents that you have high school-level skills. Approximately 96 percent of employers accept the GED Diploma as equivalent to a traditional high school diploma.

It's a good idea to take the Official GED Practice Tests before taking the actual GED Test. Comparing your Practice Test scores with the minimum scores required in your area will help you decide whether you are ready to take the full length GED Test. If your scores are high, you have a good chance of passing the GED Test. If your Practice Test scores are low, you will probably need further study in one or more subject area. The Official GED Practice Tests are available through your local adult education program. You can also purchase the Practice Tests yourself by ordering Form CC of the Official GED Practice Tests.

If you need help deciding whether you're ready to take the GED Test or if you want help preparing for the tests, contact an adult education program in your community. Many programs that are sponsored by local school districts, colleges, and community organizations provide GED classes.

To get information regarding a program in your area, contact your local high school, adult education program, or community college. Look in the yellow pages of your local telephone directory under the heading "schools." Check the listings for the high schools and community colleges in your area.

You can take the GED Test at one of more than 3,000 Official GED Testing Centers in the United States and Canada. There is probably an Official GED Testing Center not far from your home. Call your nearest adult education program and ask for the location and schedule of the testing center near you. Or contact your state, territorial, or provincial department of education and ask for the location and schedule of the closest Official GED Testing Center.

The GED Tests measure important knowledge and skills expected of high school graduates. The five GED Tests are:

* Writing Skills

* Social Studies

* Science

* Interpreting Literature and the Arts

* Mathematics

These tests contain multiple-choice questions that test your ability to understand and use information or ideas. In many cases, you are asked to use the information provided to solve a problem, find causes and effects, or make a judgment. Very few questions ask about narrow definitions or specific facts. Instead, the focus of questions is on the major and lasting skills and knowledge expected of high school graduates.

In addition to the multiple-choice questions, the Writing Skills Test includes an essay section. In this section, you are given 45 minutes to write an essay on the topic given. The topics are designed to be very general, so everyone can think of something to write.

The multiple-choice questions on the five GED Tests are presented in one of three ways:

* Accompanied by a reading selection that may be as brief as one or two sentences or as long as 400 words

* Accompanied by a table, graph, chart, or illustration

* Stated as a problem to be solved (this type is most often used in the Mathematics Test)

Because most material presented in the GED Test requires the ability to understand written text, the skill of reading comprehension is very important.

Though the score requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, most requirements are stated in terms of a minimum score for each test and/or a minimum average score for all five tests. For example, a common passing standard score required in any state, province, or territory is 35 on any one test and an average of 45 on all five tests. If this were the score requirement in your area, you would need to achieve a standard score of at least 35 on each of the five tests and a total of at least 225 for all five tests to achieve an average of 45.

Your GED Test score is an estimate of your knowledge and skills in the areas tested as compared to the knowledge and skills of recent high school graduates. As with any test, the scores are not intended to be a complete and perfect measure of all you know and can do. Rather, the GED Tests provide an estimate of your educational achievements, as compared to those of high school graduates. In fact, if you take a different form of the test covering the same content areas with slightly different questions, it is likely that your score will be slightly different.

If you take the GED Test and do not achieve the minimum passing score required by your state, province, or territory, contact your local adult education center for assistance in interpreting your scores so that you can improve your performance in the future.