Are you thinking about getting your GED? The statistics from the US Department of Labor are pretty clear – people without a high school diploma or equivalency certificate such as the GED have higher unemployment rates and earn much less than those who do. The path to a prosperous future, one with a college degree, better jobs or promotions, or military service, all start with your diploma or equivalency certificate. It is practically a requirement in today’s tight job market.
The most widely recognized high school equivalency certificate is the GED (General Equivalency Diploma). You can achieve your GED by taking the GED exam, which is designed to assess academic skills and knowledge that are expected of people who received their high school diploma. In essence, people who achieved their high school diploma and those who passed the GED exam should have a similar level of knowledge (thus making the GED “equivalent” to the high school diploma). The GED exam tests four areas: Language Arts (Reading & Writing), Social Studies, Science, and Math. Scores from each section are added together for the final score. You must demonstrate equivalent knowledge on each portion of the test in order to pass. Doing well in one area and poorly in another will not even out your score (note this is a change from previous years, which is why we mention it here!). You must achieve a passing score in each section.
The GED has seen other significant changes in recent years. The test, which is produced by the GED Testing Service, a joint partnership between the American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson, the world’s largest education company, was completely overhauled in 2014. The subjects were aligned to the Common Core K-12 education standards that have been adopted by 42 states. The new test is reported to be much more challenging, and in 2015 Pearson actually lowered the passing score. There is now a three-tiered scoring system, with 145 being the minimum score you must achieve in order to pass the test and receive your GED. The new test is only administered on computers in a testing center.
Because the test is more challenging and the stakes are so high (your future earning power depends on it!), it is extremely important to prepare for this exam. But where do you start? It is critical to use a prep book that was developed for the latest version of the exam since it is so different than the version given prior to 2014. A good starting point is our look at the best GED prep books on the market to help you ace your GED exam.