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All About the GED: Tennessee

The General Educational Development test (GED) is a five-part exam for adults who don't have a high school diploma and want to earn an equivalent credential. The test was developed by the American Council on Education (ACE) and cannot be taken online. Tennessee residents may take the exam at an official GED test center within the state.

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Earn Your GED in Tennessee

Am I Eligible?

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Work Force Development (www.tn.gov/labor-wfd) allows you to take the GED exam if you're at least 18 years old and a resident of the state of Tennessee. You can't have a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.

Individuals who are age 17 may take the exam if they're not in high school, are enrolled in a GED Option Program and have an age-waiver form signed by the superintendent of their local school district. In Tennessee, test takers must complete the Official GED Practice Test before they may take the official GED exam.

How Is the GED Exam Structured?

The five sections of the GED exam include: writing, social studies, science, reading and mathematics. All parts are multiple-choice except for an essay portion of the writing test and 20% of the math questions. The American Council on Education website has detailed information on the content of the GED test, along with information about the Casio calculator used for part of the math test and the math answer grids (www.acenet.edu). General information can be found on the Tennessee Department of Labor's GED Now web page.

How Do I Register for the GED?

You must register and take the exam at your local official testing center. You can locate a center near you through the Tennessee website or on the GED test center locator on the ACE website. The fee is due at registration, and the cost may vary by center. Contact your local center ahead of time if you have any questions about fees, operating hours, location, testing times and the appropriate identification to bring.

How Do I Prepare for the GED?

Preparation classes are free if you're a Tennessee resident. The Tennessee website provides a county-by-county listing of GED preparation classes. If you want to study at home or online, you can obtain test preparation information, including sample questions and answers, on the ACE website. Also, there are study books and practice questions available. The GED Connection course operated by PBS LiteracyLink (www.litlink.ket.org) and Kentucky Educational Television (www.ketadultlearning.org) also offer online GED study aids.

What if I Need Special Accommodations?

Special accommodations are available for test takers who have physical and learning disabilities. However, you must provide documentation from a licensed health professional who is qualified to diagnose your particular condition. Contact your local test center for details. You can also take the GED test in French or Spanish.

How Is the Test Scored?

To pass the GED, you must earn an average score of 450 on each of the five sections, with a total score of at least 2250. You cannot score below 410 on any one exam. If you fail a section, you'll only need to retake that section again. However, if you don't pass the essay portion of the test, you'll need to retake to entire writing section.

You are allowed to retake the GED up to three times in a year. There is a 30-day wait between retakes that may be waived for unusual circumstances. If you're in an adult education program, your instructor may request a waiver for you.

How Do I Get my Transcript?

You may need your Official GED transcript to apply for college or for employment. Contact your local test center to obtain your transcript. A fee may be charged.

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