All About the GED: Virginia

Taking the General Educational Development (GED) exam allows individuals who don't have a high school diploma the opportunity to earn a high school equivalency credential. Test takers who pass the battery of five tests in Virginia will earn the GED certificate.

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Earn Your GED in Virginia

What Does the GED Test Cover?

The General Educational Development (GED) tests are developed by the American Council on Education (www.acenuet.edu). The tests cover five subject areas that are similar to what students would have studied if they obtained a traditional high school diploma. These areas are Writing, Reading, Science, Social Studies and Mathematics. A majority of the GED exam is multiple-choice, but the Writing section contains an essay requirement and the Math section has non-multiple-choice questions.

The American Council on Education (ACE) website has information about each section of the test, the math answer grids used and provides the Casio fx 260 calculator that candidates are allowed to use for part 1 of the Math test.

Am I Eligible To Take the GED Test?

According to the Virginia Department of Education (DOE), test takers should be at least 18 years old and not currently enrolled in secondary school (doe.virginia.gov). They may be eligible for the GED at age 16 or 17 if they can document that they've completed a home-school program, are incarcerated, have been expelled from school, are in an alternative school program, have been released by the local school board from compulsory education or have a court order to take the exam.

Test takers should contact their local testing center or a Virginia helpline counselor if they have questions about their eligibility. Local testing centers can be found by using the locator on the ACE website, on the Virginia DOE website or on the state-sponsored Virginia Race to the GED program website (vaged.vcu.edu). Contact information for a helpline counselor is also available on the Race website.

Test takers do not have to be a Virginia resident to take the Virginia GED. However, they must have a valid photo ID from their state of residence.

How Do I Register for the GED?

Individuals may register at local testing centers. However, an application may be completed online and taken to a testing center to pay the fee and select an available testing time.

Is there Help for People with Disabilities?

Test takers who have learning or physical disabilities may request special accommodations. They must provide documentation from a licensed professional who is qualified to assess their disability. The necessary forms are available from the DOE website.

How Do I Prepare for the GED?

Studying independently and taking a preparation class are two ways to prepare for the GED. Options for independent study include online classes, workbooks and video instruction. Online learning recommended by the Virginia DOE include eLearn VA, a website for online adult education in Virginia (vaged.vcu.edu) and PBS Literacy Link's (litlink.ket.org) GED Connection course.

Also, workbooks and study aids are available on the Kentucky Educational Television website, the largest PBS member network in the U.S. (ketadultlearning.org). A full description of available independent study options may be found at the Virginia Race to GED website. There are also practice questions with explanations on the ACE website.

These two websites also have information on locating a learning center to take GED preparation classes. While taking the Official GED Practice Test is not required in Virginia, the state recommends test candidates take the practice exam to see if they are ready to take the official exam.

What are the Passing Scores for the GED?

To pass the GED, individuals must receive a score average of 450 for each section, with no section score below 410. The total score must be at least 2,250. Individuals who do not pass need only to retake the sections of the GED that they failed. There is no mandatory wait time before retesting, but the DOE recommends individuals contact a GED test counselor to see what additional preparation is needed.

Individuals living in Northern or Southeast Virginia may be able to obtain a specialist to help with retesting, as well as with prospects for career or higher education. Information on this program is available on the Virginia Race to the GED website.

What if I need an Official Transcript?

If you pass the GED your transcripts and duplicate certificates are available for a fee. The appropriate form may be downloaded from the state GED website. Forms can be mailed or dropped off at the GED Services office in Richmond, VA.

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