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Timing & Success: How Long Does It Take to Get A GED?

May 23rd, 2024
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“The GED exam requires 7.5 hours to complete, and test-takers typically need 3-6 months of consistent study to prepare adequately, with a 60-day wait period after the third failure for retakes.”

For the millions of young adults who have yet to get their high school diploma, taking the General Education Development Test (GED) or HiSET test, a high school equivalency test seems like a quick solution. For some, earning a GED certificate can be a first step to other things. For example, the comedian Chris Rock dropped out of high school when he was 17. He later got his GED and became a successful comedian and actor.

Eric Thomas, the “Hip-Hop Preacher,” dropped out of high school and spent several years homeless. When he became determined to turn his life around, he earned his GED and eventually obtained a PhD in education.

Others who have completed their GED test include Rita Moreno, an award-winning actress and singer; Sara Robles, an American weightlifter and Olympic athlete; Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Peter Jackson, to name a few.

There are thousands of positive stories about getting a GED, but for every success story, there is a story of those who could not overcome the obstacles that come from getting a GED. There are aspects of the GED test that many don’t know about. Many try to start working on their GED only to discover some eligibility requirements and logistics they did not anticipate. 

To begin with, here’s an overview of the GED. The General Educational Development (GED) test is a standardized exam that assesses individuals’ proficiency in core academic subjects typically taught in high school. It’s for individuals who haven’t completed a traditional high school education but wish to earn a high school equivalency diploma.

Infographic for Grad Solutions about the amount of time needed for the GED exam.

GED Exam Format

The GED exam is similar across the country and covers four main subjects: Language Arts (Reading and Writing), Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies: 

  • Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA): This test assesses reading comprehension, writing, and editing skills. It includes multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and an extended response essay.
  • Mathematical Reasoning: This test evaluates mathematical problem-solving abilities. It covers algebra, geometry, data analysis, and number operations. Both multiple-choice and constructed-response questions are included.
  • Science: This test measures understanding of scientific concepts, principles, and methods. It includes questions on life science, physical science, and Earth and space science. Multiple-choice questions and short-answer questions are typically included.
  • Social Studies: This test examines knowledge of civics and government, U.S. history, economics, and geography. It includes multiple-choice questions and short answer questions. 

The GED exam is administered on a computer and can be taken in English or Spanish. Each subject test is scored separately, and a passing score is typically required on each test to earn the GED credential. It takes about 7.5 hours to take the exam, but successful completion leads to the attainment of a GED credential, which is widely recognized as equivalent to a high school diploma across the United States and Canada.

Infographic for Grad Solutions about the GED prep breakdown

Study & Prep Time

The study and preparation time for GED testing can vary widely depending on factors such as prior educational background, familiarity with the subjects, study habits, and personal commitments. Dedicating 3-6 months of consistent study is necessary to prepare adequately for the exam.  

Here’s additional information about the breakdown of the overall process:


GED credential seekers who struggle with certain subjects or concepts will need support from tutors or study groups. Depending on your location and the services provided, finding tutoring specifically for the GED exam can be a challenge.

GED Prep Classes and Study Materials

Gather study materials such as textbooks, online testing resources, practice tests, and study guides for each subject. GED testing service preparation classes and programs are available both online and in person. Students can purchase 90 days of class access for all 4 subjects or purchase one at a time.  

Practice, practice, practice

Take practice tests or GED preparation classes to familiarize yourself with the exam format and assess your progress. Practice test results can also help you identify areas that need further review.

Retaking the GED

You must pass with a minimum score of 145 or higher on all four subjects to earn the GED credential. Retakes are allowed however; testers must wait 60 more days after the third failure before another attempt. 

Ultimately, the way to become successful on the GED exam is through consistent and focused study time. For most, setting aside months of independent study time is needed.

Sad student guy sit at desk in library feel bored, tired, faced with difficult task.

Challenges of the GED

The process of obtaining a GED can pose some challenges. Granted, anything worth having requires extra effort and work. However, we want you to be aware of and prepare for some challenges you may have yet to be aware of. Several challenges can arise when individuals pursue their GED: 

Time Management

Balancing study time with work, family responsibilities, or other commitments can be challenging. Many GED candidates juggle multiple responsibilities, making finding dedicated study time difficult.

Repeated Failure to Pass

A GED diploma requires a test score of 145 in each subject area to pass. A Test taker must pass with a minimum score of 145 or higher on all four subjects to earn the GED credential. Retakes are allowed when taking the exam but at an additional discounted cost. However, testers must wait 60 more days after the third failure before another attempt.

Academic Preparedness

Depending on their prior education and academic skills, some individuals may find certain subjects or concepts on the GED exam particularly challenging. This could be due to gaps in knowledge or skills, leading to the need for additional study and preparation.

Financial Constraints

The true cost of a GED can be a barrier for some individuals seeking to obtain their GED. While the exam price varies by location, additional expenses may be associated with study materials, preparation courses, or transportation to testing centers. 

Access to Resources

Access to quality study materials, practice tests, and preparation courses can vary depending on location. Study materials are available online for purchase, but the costs can be out of reach for some individuals. Limited access to resources can sometimes hinder effective exam preparation.

Lack of Support

Some individuals may need more support from family, friends, or educators to pursue their GED. Encouragement and support from others can be crucial in overcoming challenges and staying motivated.

Maintaining Motivation

Some individuals may struggle to stay motivated throughout the study process, especially if they have experienced academic setbacks or have been out of school for a while. Maintaining focus and determination can be a significant challenge. 

Students line up for graduation ceremony

Benefits of a Diploma Over the GED

While a high school diploma and a GED (General Educational Development) credential signify that an individual has achieved a certain level of education, some distinctions between the two can influence their perceived value in specific contexts. Here are a few reasons why getting a high school diploma may be considered preferable to obtaining a GED:

Perception by Employers and Institutions

Employers and educational institutions may view a high school diploma as more desirable than a GED. This perception is often based on traditional ideas of academic achievement or assumptions regarding the circumstances surrounding the attainment of a GED.

Educational Experience

High school diploma holders have typically completed a structured educational program over several years, which may include a broader range of courses and experiences than GED recipients. This comprehensive educational experience is an advantage in certain situations.

College Admissions

While many colleges and universities accept high school diplomas and GED credentials for admission, some higher education may have specific requirements or preferences regarding applicants’ credentials. High school graduates may have an edge in the admissions process.

Employment Opportunities

Some employers may prefer candidates with a high school diploma over those with a GED, particularly for positions requiring specific education or skills. However, the significance of this distinction can vary depending on the employer and the job.

Social Stigma

Despite efforts to reduce the stigma around GED attainment, there may still be societal perceptions that obtaining a GED is somehow “lesser” than earning a high school diploma. This stigma can affect how individuals view their educational achievements and how others perceive them.

It’s important to note that these distinctions may not always hold true in every situation, and the value of a high school diploma versus a GED can depend on various factors, including individual circumstances, career goals, and the specific requirements of employers or institutions.

Students in audience moments before high school graduation

Invest in Your Future with a Diploma from Grad Solutions

If you are considering a GED, an alternative is available. Grad Solutions offers a unique opportunity for those who dropped out of high school, a chance to get a high school diploma. The high school diploma program from Grad Solutions allows students to take online classes whenever it is convenient for them. In addition, the program offers endless support and services to help them succeed at school.   

 Grad Solutions is accessible, completely digital, and cost-free. Students can immerse themselves in their online courses whenever it is convenient for them. Certified teachers are available to tutor students for specific content areas, either in person or online.   

Grad Solutions students gain a quality education without all the distractions of traditional school. From tutoring with state-certified teachers and dedicated mentors to HUB resource centers, students receive unparalleled guidance and support every step of their journey.

Enroll today and change your life’s direction.



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