If you have a felony and have not been able to pass the GED while in prison, its not too late to do it now. Today, even basic, minimum wage jobs require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.
There are many options and courses for people looking to complete their GED. Many prep classes are online and are actually FREE.
This means that it has never been easier and more affordable to get an education, without letting your past hold you back from success!
What Is A GED?
GED stands for General Education Diploma. Its a series of 4 tests on core subjects that are taught in high school:
– Mathematical Reasoning: problem solving skills (quantitative and algebra)
– Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA): close reading and comprehension as well as writing skills
– Social Studies: civics and government, U.S. history, economics, geography and world history
– Science: life, physical, earth and space science
The test consists of questions in the following formats:
– Multiple choice
– Drag and drop
– Hot spot (select an area)
– Fill in the blank
– Short answer
– Extended response
If you pass, its considered the equivalent of having high school level academic skills. Some states, such as New York, have changed the name of the certificate to Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). However, its pretty much the same thing.
How To Study For The Test?
Its important to realize that passing the GED is NOT an easy task, unless of course you are a genius:) Its a very hard, long test that covers a lot of material. Therefore, doing well requires preparation and practice. Education experts indicate that with the current level of difficulty, it takes at least 3 months to prepare and get a passing score.
The single most effective way to do well is to take as MANY PRACTICE TESTS AS POSSIBLE!!! Going through as many questions as you can improves your knowledge base, ability to concentrate and test taking skills.
Depending on how you learn best, there are a couple of options available:
1. GED Exam Prep Books
Some people prefer the good old fashioned way of learning from a book. Essentially, these exam books are designed to teach you strategies to answer test questions correctly. That’s right, there are many tricky questions on the test. So, if you don’t understand the format of the question, you will get it wrong, even if you know the right answer. They also have informational reviews of all subjects on the test, as well as practice questions with answers.
Each book costs $28-30, if you want to buy it new. Another cheaper option is to go to your local library, check out these books and make photocopies that you can take home.
2. Free Adult Education Classes
Many local high schools offer state and federal government sponsored courses that help adults prepare for the GED exam. They review the subjects that will be on the test, provide study guides and sample questions to practice. Some programs offer the same classes online for people who can’t attend a face-to-face class. Your best bet is to call your own high school and see what they can offer you.
3. Community College GED Prep
Many community college offer comprehensive and in-depth classes to help adults get ready for the exam. Depending on the college and the length of the program, fees can range from $150-500. Call your local colleges for specific offerings and pricing.
4. Online GED Classes
Today, there are many resources on line that can help you study for this test. GED Testing Services offers a number of classes, that range in price from $59-129. Kaplan offers a self-paced prep course for $129.
Here is what you need to do to pass the GED, after you have finished preparing for it.
1. Register and pay the fees
Go to ged.com and create a free account to sign up for the test. Note, that you will need to go to a local testing center and take the exam there, on the computer. Once registered, you will have access to centers near you. You can also select which subject/s you want to take. The fee to take each section is around $30 dollars. It can vary a little based on state.
2. Take the test
You can sign up to take just one section or all 4 at the same time. The entire test takes 7.5 hours, and we don’t recommend you do it all at once. After a few hours you will get tired, loose concentration and makes stupid mistakes. Depending on how well you can focus for a certain period of time, its best to take either 1 or 2 sections.
Language arts is the longest, 150 minutes
Math is 115 minutes
Social Studies is 90 minutes
Science is 90 minutes
3. Get your score
After you finish the test (one section or a few), you score will be available online in about 3 hours.
What is the passing score? You need to get at least 145 points out of 200 on EACH section of the test. This is a very recent change in the minimum passing score. In general, you need to correctly answer at least 60-60% of the questions in a particular section, in order to pass. The total passing score for the whole test is at least 580 points out of 800.
Before, you needed to get 150 on each section to pass. Because the test was revised in 2014 and became significantly more difficult, more people started failing. This bump in the minimum score helps more adults to pass and get their GED diploma.
If you score between 165-175, you get a GED College Ready Designation. This means that many colleges will excuse you from placement testing or remediation courses before letting you start the degree program.
In case you score 175 or higher, you will get a GED College Ready + Credit Designation. This indicates that you have mastered the skills taught in some college courses. Consequently, some colleges may allow to count this toward some college credits. This can help you save time and money when earning your degree.
What To Do If You Fail?
If you didn’t pass some of the sections of the test the first time around, don’t beat yourself up! In fact, around 30% of adults fail a section when they take it for the first time. This happens for a couple of reasons:
– the test became much harder after it was revised
– there was not enough preparation and practice
– lack of comfort with the format of the questions
– slow test taking speed
– lack of computer skills
The good news is that you can take sections of the test AS MANY TIMES AS YOU NEED, in order to pass. Each state has its regulations regarding how long you need to wait before taking it for the second time. However, if you need to retake a section a third time, the GED Testing Service itself makes you wait at least 60 days from the second try.
Why Do You Need A GED Certificate?
You may have never enjoyed school, but not having a high school diploma or GED, can really make it hard to earn an honest living. More than that, it can hold you back from achieving any dreams or career aspirations you may have.
Without it, you may not be able to do the following:
– Get into any vocational training program or school (beauty, technical, hospitality, culinary, etc)
– Go to any type of college (community, state or private)
– Enroll into US Military service
– Get a legal job. You can’t even work the cash register at Walmart or McDonalds without a GED.
– Get a promotion at your current job
– Make enough money to support a family, buy a house, etc
In fact, according to the statistics gathered by the US Census Bureau, people without a high school diploma earn an average income of about $18-19K a year. This is considered below poverty line in the US. On the other hand, those who graduated high school or earned a GED, make around $27-28K. People with bachelor degrees have average salaries of $56-58K.
About The Author
Joe is the founder of HireFelons.org. Having had friends and co-workers who have a felony conviction, Joe Hunter decided to use his expert knowledge in starting a successful business to launch HireFelons.org and teach as many former felons as possible how to earn a decent income, when finding a traditional job is simply not an option.